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Rafting on the River

Gundalow, circa 1880. (The Shenandoah River Atlas)

Gundalow. (The Shenandoah River Atlas)

The Friends are sponsoring a special program presentation by Patrick Farris, Director of the Warren Heritage Society, about commercial boating on the Shenandoahs in the 1800s. Remarkable rafts, called gundalows, were used to transport goods on the river for many years before the railroad was built. Patrick has a wonderful knowledge of the subject and is a truly gifted speaker. You will enjoy this one! The presentation will be at Samuels Public Library, 330 E Criser Road, Front Royal, on Thursday, February 25 at 6 PM.

VERNAL POOLS

At the Friends 2016 February meeting Hannah Bement spoke about vernal pools and their value to our ecosystem. A vernal pool is a form of temporary, freshwater wetland that contains water for a portion of the year and supports a fantastic array of wildlife and plants, some specially adapted for these habitats and many being rare

Typical Vernal Pool

Typical Vernal Pool

species in Virginia. The Park has a number of such pools along the Cottonwood Trail. We had a large turnout and Hannah’s presentation was most informative.

Hannah Bement is a science teacher at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal. She has degrees from the University of Akron and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science. Hannah loves being a teacher, working with children, and working to make our environment a better place. She is presently volunteering with the Virginia Vernal Pool Monitoring Program which will attempt to identify all vernal pools in Virginia. If you know of a possible vernal pool on public or especially private property Hannah would love to know about it – hannahebement@gmail.com

JAKE and JINNY

Savannah, Jake, and Jinny take a break. (Photo: Warren Sentinel)

Savannah, Jake, and Jinny take a break. (Photo: Warren Sentinel)

Jinny Fox, Secretary of our Friend’s group, and family dog, Jake, have another life. Jake is a 6-year-old Golden Retriever adopted by Jinny and Dick in 2012. With his gentle temperament and love of people, it became obvious that Jake was suited to becoming a “therapy dog.” After completing training, Jake now visits local elementary schools where children practice their reading skills by reading to him. Once a month he also participates in a youth reading program, Books and Barks, at Samuels Public Library in Front Royal. Children find it easy and fun to read to dogs, and Jake knows how to put them at ease with his goofy smile and relaxed persona. Jake also loves senior citizens who always enjoy his visits. Thanks Jake and Jinny for sharing and caring.

2016 FIRST DAY HIKE

What a great beginning to the New Year! Over 90 folks started 2016 off right by hiking in the Park and enjoying refreshments provided by the Friends. It was a beautiful day.

2016 First Day Hikers

2016 First Day Hikers

2015 ANNUAL RIVER CLEANUP

2015 River Crew

2015 River Crew

Our September 2015 cleanup was a great success with over 50 participants. We split the crew and were able to cover a stretch upstream of the Indian Hollow bridge as well as the Park. Lots of trash – we filled 2 dump trucks. There was a large cache of tires near Hazard’s Mill and those canoes were really loaded.

Front Royal Canoe and Downriver Canoe generously gave us free use of the canoes.

This was a wonderful opportunity to meet our neighbors, help our community and enjoy a great day on the river. Check in July for our 2016 plans. This event is hosted by the Friends.

July Campers

July Campers

We just finished two weeks of Junior Ranger Day Camp for children 7 to 12. It was a great camping year!  Mondays we looked at what happens in the Park, had presentations from some of our Rangers (including a visit with our own entertaining poop lady, Dawn, at the waste water treatment facility), and a visit from the South Warren water rescue squad. Tuesdays we discovered birds, especially bluebirds, and built a bluebird nesting box for each camper to keep. Also enjoyed great presentations from our friends at the Smithsonian in Front Royal. Wednesdays we spent time tubing the South Fork after learning about snakes from Fred Frenzel and fish from Brad Fink, both biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Fridays we overcame hunger, learning about edible wild plants that grow in the Park. All our activities are designed to enhance a child’s awareness of, and appreciation for, the natural environment.

Check here next May for news about the 2016 camp.

August Campers

August Campers

The Friends also sponsor a self-guided Junior Ranger program for children and their parents. For more information on either program contact us or call the Park at 540-622-6840.

WELCOME GOVERNOR

Secretary Harvey, Secretary Layne, Governor McAuliffe, Friends members Brian & Tom

Secretary Harvey, Secretary Layne, Governor McAuliffe, Friends members Brian & Tom

Governor McAuliffe and the members of his Cabinet were guests of our Park in early April. They got to stay in our (almost) new cabins and to enjoy some beautiful weather – high 70s, lots of sun, and no bugs. Park staff, DCR staff, and the Friends worked to make the visit memorable, providing meals, entertainment (well, we didn’t actually provide the March Madness final, but what a game!), and even a campfire and s’mores. There were many comments on the beauty of the Park and we know everyone enjoyed the chance to spend some time relaxing in our Treasure.

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