These unprecedented times have impacted us all in different ways and it is no different for the staff at Shenandoah River State Park. So, when the river recently flooded the canal located near the brown cabin trapping some river carp, the park staff jumped into action and planned the “COVID-19 Park Employees Carp Challenge”, which took place on Wednesday, May 13th, 2020.
As a morale booster for the team: the catch and release challenge was simple – no rules – just catch the biggest carp. When it was all said and done – the staff caught 1 carp, 7 crappie, 4 bullhead catfish, 8 bluegills and several trees and rocks. Afterwards employees had a socially-distant lunch and completed some cabin cleaning training.
The Friends of Shenandoah River State Park donated 1,000 dollars to the Virginia State Parks Employee Benevolence Association in support of the event. The Benevolence Association is a non-profit group that donates money to Virginia State Parks Employees who are in severe financial need, usually due to disease or injury that makes them unable to work. The donation will start to replenish funds depleted by requests during the COVID-19 partial shutdown.
Brought to you by our friends at Samuel’s Public Library.
Join Sharon Fisher for this 4-week class as she goes over how to take stunning pictures of wildflowers with any kind of smartphone of camera! She will be giving advice on settings and how to find flowers in your own yard. There will also be follow up discussion groups where you can share your work and get more advice.
Please contact the Library Reference Desk at 540-635-3153 for assistance with downloading Zoom to your device.
Thanks to a grant from the Garden Club of Virginia, the Park embarked on a rehab of the native plant garden that welcomes visitors. We got a whole lot done this year and the garden will be fantastic this spring.
Work began in early 2019 with pruning and weeding. In May path lighting was upgraded from often-not-working solar to low-voltage LED.
In June the stepping stones (a nice natural pathway but more-often-than-not ignored resulting in muddy dirt paths) to the garden’s two Koi viewing benches were replaced with stone dust paths.
Signage was installed recognizing the generosity of the Garden Club of Virginia and the work of the many groups and individuals who have made it happen.
Periodic weeding continued (several individuals doing community service hours were a considerable help) and in late June an energetic group of young ladies from the Langley School (McLean, VA) kicked off replanting of native perennials and shrubs.
The Garden Club of Warren County, Park Friends, and Park staff continued planting in July. Several of the Club members contributed plants from their home gardens. A new garden shed to house tools was purchased and installed. A new trellis was built and installed to host a Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens). Very dry conditions gave us a challenge in keeping new plants alive – after a lot of work we think most will survive.
In late September a crew began replanting at the day-use rest room area. Several new trees and shrubs will make a big difference to Park users.
Work is presently underway to create new pathways to the several picnic areas that adjoin the Visitor Center. These will have wood borders and stone dust fill like the paths to the Koi pond. This work should be completed before spring.
In the spring we will evaluate plantings and replace and add where needed. We will install educational signage to identify plants and give a little information about them and the animals they attract.
Thanks to all who have helped – The Garden Club of Virginia, the Garden Club of Warren County, the Friends of Shenandoah River State Park, Burner Electrical Service, Fort Valley Nursery, Hill House Nursery, our fantastic Park Staff, and many individuals. We will be looking for your continued help this spring.
With perfect weather, about 150 hikers, and numerous four-legged friends, started 2020 right with a healthy walk followed by refreshments at Shenandoah River’s visitors center. We find it hard to keep a good count because more and more hikers are coming both before and after the set time – they miss the picture but it’s a good way to avoid the starting jam while still enjoying the outdoors. We’ll be back next year but stay healthy and plan to hike often. We have over 24 miles of trails through some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable.
A great turnout for our annual South Fork river cleanup on Sunday, September 22 – 37 folks on the river and another half dozen on the land crew. As usual, we pulled an amazing amount and assortment of trash from the stretch between Indian Hollow bridge and the Park.
A beautiful day to be on the river. This is always a fun event and a chance to really help our environment. Thanks to Front Royal Outdoors and Downriver Canoe Company for use of canoes, thanks to Park staff for hauling everything to the transfer station, and special thanks to all who participated. We’ll be back next September – those canoes are waiting.
It was a GREAT two weeks and Shenandoah River State Park has two new teams of Junior Rangers. We kicked off learning about pollination and pollinators, especially bees. A visit to the Parks new 1 acre pollinator meadow and bee habitat allowed some close up study.
A big treat was a visit to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center where we got to see what a fantastic job they do with rehabilitation of injured animals. It was the first time most of our campers had been to the new facility.
A highlight every year is our float down the South Fork learning and having fun. Due to slightly high water, the first week we went in rafts. The second week we returned to tubing.
Graduation day was filled with Ranger Megan’s great presentation on snakes and sessions on Leave No Trace, both of which the campers really got into.
The Junior Ranger Day Camp is sponsored jointly by the Park and it’s Friends group. The Park also has a self-guided program where pre-teens can become Junior Rangers. Just ask at the Visitor’s Center. We are looking forward to next years camp and hope you will join us. Check back here in the spring for more information.