Even though we are all hunkered down in our separate spaces, we wanted to let you know that you are not alone. We at the Alliance continue to work and plan to make sure that our wonderful Valley continues to be a special place. There are things that you can do as well. First and foremost, stay safe and help flatten the curve by following the suggestions of Gov. Northam and our local governments about social distancing, washing hands, and wearing gloves and masks when going out.
Working with these extra precautions in mind, our local governments continue to do the work of the people and this time of year, that means budgets. Use this link to find out what provisions Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro have created so that you can stay in the loop remotely on the local issues and decision making meetings. Each local government has been emailing regular local COVID-19 public service announcements that are filled with handy tips, so be sure and sign up (Augusta, Staunton, Waynesboro).
As you might imagine, Dominion and its unnecessary and destructive proposed pipeline aren’t going away during this national crisis, although, if anything, this has exposed the boondoggle for what it really is. Further, as the cost of the project soars to billions over budget and the world market for natural gas bottoms out, financial investors are increasingly doubtful that this project will ever be completed. There’s also reason to be cautiously optimistic about the new pipeline bill that Gov. Northam just signed into law.
Nonetheless, Dominion continues to push ahead, but rest assured we have our eyes on things! We have been monitoring two potential big pipeline construction yards in Rockbridge county near the Augusta County line watching to make sure they follow all local, state, and federal regulations. One is in Raphine, where work has been underway for a while now and the other is still just a proposal in Goshen. We will keep you up-to-date on potential opportunities for public input as the spring unfolds. As always, we need you to be the eyes and ears of our community all along the ACP. If you see something, say something. Reach out to us and we will be on it!
In the meantime, per the Governor’s orders, get outside and enjoy the spring (while adhering to proper social distancing of course). Here are a few suggestions:
1. The Augusta County Historical Society has put its 34-mile “Twin Villages Ramble” historical driving tour on line for you to download, print, and enjoy by driving through the scenic countryside.
2. Visit the Stuarts Draft Farm Market (Facebook) where the friendly folks combine proper social distancing and good hygiene with good local food and fresh produce. You can safely visit in person, but know that they also have curbside pickup and will even prepare special produce boxes on Wednesdays for Friday pickup if you call them.
3. Take a hike! The paved loop at Staunton’s Gypsy Hill Park is 1.34 miles. In Waynesboro, the South River Greenway Trail is 1.2 miles. Staunton’s Montgomery Hall Park has three wooded trails that total 5 miles when looped together. In Lexington, the Chessie Trail, which follows an old rail bed and canal path, follows the Maury River for 7 miles until it reaches Buena Vista. The one-mile (out and back) Marl Creek interpretive trail and the historic grounds at the Cyrus McCormick Farm on the Augusta-Rockbridge line are open. (The buildings themselves are closed because of the pandemic.) There are plenty of trails out there, all of them special. Find some solitude on one of them.
So, as we work together to flatten the curve and emerge from this national crisis stronger than ever, take these words to heart:
Relax, find a trail less traveled, breath in some spring air, and know that we will get through this TOGETHER.