Friends of Smokies Receives $10,000 from REI for Trails Forever Program

The Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have received a grant for $10,000 from the national outdoor retailer REI. The grant will benefit the Trails Forever program, which supports trail improvements throughout the park. Funds will help finance a new equipment trailer to transport tools and supplies needed for trail improvement projects. The Trails Forever program is a campaign effort by the Friends of the Smokies working to create a permanent fund for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park trail improvements.

Va State Parks’ 75th Anniversary Sets Overnight Visitation Record

Contests, special events and near-record attendances highlighted the 75th anniversary of Virginia State Parks in 2011 and resulted in record overnight visitation. A three percent increase in overnight attendance in state park cabins, campgrounds and lodges raised numbers to 1,055,875 visitors in 2011. The overall attendance in 2011 of 7,836, 246 visitors was the second highest in Virginia State Parks’ 75-year history after its record high of 8,065,558 in 2010. Virginia State Parks say that by attracting visitors from in and out-of-state, they provide economic stimulus to the state, through the purchase of local products and supplies.

King’s Grant Causes Controversy Over Jackson River Rights

The developer of the River’s Edge golf community in Covington, Va., filed a civil trespassing lawsuit against three Virginia anglers fishing lawfully on a section of the Jackson River that runs next to his land.

Citing two different outdated land grants, the developer is claiming ownership of the section of the Jackson River. The anglers cite a Virginia statute that is more than 200 years old, that makes clear the beds of all rivers and streams “are the property of the Commonwealth.”

The three anglers accused of trespassing unloaded their kayaks at a public access point and remained along the banks of the river while fishing.

During a failed criminal trespassing lawsuit against the anglers, it was revealed that the developer’s land grants do not explicitly reference the bed of the Jackson River or mention fishing rights when describing the property conveyed.

Concerned residents say the burden of proof has been put on the shoulders of the three anglers and are asking all fishermen, hunters and paddlers to contact Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to support ability of the people of Virginia to fish, boat, and recreate in these rivers.


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