Join the Friends – and those hovering around – at a Halloween campfire at Shenandoah River Statecampfire2 Park. Friends Jinny Fox and Brian Bennett will share some seasonal tales and invite you to share any of yours. We will have smores and more. Meet at the campfire circle at the tube takeout near the RV camping area at 7 PM on Friday, October 28. Easy walking distance from the RV campground and cabin area. Bring a folding chair or blanket, no seating is provided at the site. If you are driving, turn into the gravel road just past the RV campground marked “authorized vehicles only” and bear right. Parking is very limited.  {In case of rain, we’ll be in Shelter 3 in the day use area.} Bring a flashlight for the walk home – if you dare walk in the dark. Fun and maybe even scary!


Again this year we had a great turnout for the annual South Fork, Shenandoah River cleanup.

2016 Cleanup Crew

2016 Cleanup Crew

It was a beautiful day! The water was low but that made it easier to spot and collect the trash on the bottom. Thanks to all who participated and thanks to Downriver and Front Royal canoe companies for the use of their equipment. Watch for this event again next September. Sponsored by the Friends of Shenandoah River State Park.


2016 Tubing 1 copy

July 2016 Rangers

The Park has 27 new Junior Rangers after camps held  the last week in July and the first week in August. 2016 campers learned about reptiles – including a personal visit with a 40 pound snapping turtle and a 3 foot American alligator – spent time buzzing with bees, studied fish found in the Shenandoah – and got to catch a few of them – and topped off the week with a tube float on the South Fork. Activities are designed to enhance a child’s awareness of, and appreciation for, the natural environment. Children age 7 to 12 can be a part of this exciting week. Check here in the Spring for information about next year’s camp.

2016JRW2 copy

August 2016 Rangers

The camp is run jointly by the Park and the Friends. The Friends also sponsor a self-guided Junior Ranger program available year round. Check at the Park visitor’s center for more information.

Charles PriceBring your binoculars and join Virginia Master Naturalist Charles Price for this exciting Park program. The program will begin with a talk about the classification of birds, the various ecosystems in the Park and the types of birds that can be found in each system. In the second half of the program, participants will take a wagon ride to the River Trail where they will observe and identify the birds discussed. If you wish to participate in the wagon ride, please call the visitor’s center (540-622-6840) to register as wagon space is limited to 10 people. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a pro! Meet at the Shenandoah River State Park visitor’s center at 9:30 AM on Saturday, May 28.

Rafting on the River

Gundalow, circa 1880. (The Shenandoah River Atlas)

Gundalow. (The Shenandoah River Atlas)

At a special February meeting of the Friends Patrick Farris, Director of the Warren Heritage Society, spoke 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’s presentation was informative and filled with his special humor. Visit the Heritage Society, 101 Chester St., Front Royal, to learn more about our great Valley.


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


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.