Honoring the section of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River straddling the Seven Bends State Park with a Scenic River designation seems an obvious step for increasing awareness of Woodstock’s new state park. With no section of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River currently in the Virginia Scenic Rivers System, designation of this segment of the North Fork would be a first.
Over the course of the last year, the Seven Bends Park ranger, staff from the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, and the county’s Director of Tourism and Economic Development worked through the designation process with program coordinator Lynn Crump. There were meetings, presentations to the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors, a postcard mailed to adjacent property owners, and a river float as part of the designation assessment, all before the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution requesting the designation of the 8.8-mile river segment that flows from Chapman Landing boat ramp in Edinburg to the downstream boundary of the park.
“Tourism is the second largest industry in Shenandoah County. Having a Scenic River designation would serve as another validation of the scenic beauty of Shenandoah County, which is one of the primary drivers of visitation to the area, helping to support over $231 million in annual visitor spending and over $6.6 million in local tax revenues,” said Jenna French, Shenandoah County Director of Tourism and Economic Development.
Next up is gaining support for the North Fork designation from Virginia’s General Assembly when legislators reconvene in early 2022. We will be sure to let you know when we need your help to make that happen!
Scenic River Designations: What you should know
In 2020, the Virginia Scenic Rivers Program celebrated 50 years, making it one of the nation’s oldest programs. The Scenic Rivers Program recognizes rivers in Virginia for their pristine beauty and important historic, recreational, and cultural value.
To receive a designation, a river segment must be at least five miles in length and be publicly accessible. The designation request must be initiated by the local government and evaluated by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) on 14 criteria that include aesthetic appeal, recreational access, water quality, and habitat.