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Sports · July 12, 2018

Rappahannock River public access plan moves forward

The planned access would, for example, allow canoeists and kayakers to “put in” at Remington and “take out” about five miles downstream at Remington.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will build a canoe launch and steps to the river at the end of an extended gravel road.
I feel good about being in the water in the spring.
— Lee District Supervisor Chris Butler
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Fauquier County next spring could get its second Rappahannock River public boat access.

Under a complicated land-purchase process, the county board of supervisors on Thursday agreed to take the first step toward accomplishing that goal.

The planned access near Remington would be just south of Route 29 Business. Fauquier’s only Rappahannock River public access lies just south of Kelly’s Ford bridge, about five miles downstream.

The new public access would the be river’s first north of Kelly’s Ford.

Initially, the county and the American Battlefield Trust will pay Jonathan L. Marshall $455,000 for 0.7 acre, including a single-family home, that adjoins the planned county park on Rappahannock Station Battlefield near the Southern Fauquier town.

For tax purposes, the county values the home at $128,000.

The county and the trust each will contribute $227,500 toward the purchase. Fauquier will use part of $400,000 set aside in its capital improvements plan to fund the purchase.

The trust will buy the Marshall property and then transfer ownership of six parcels to the county.

That land will be placed under a permanent conservation easement, preventing its further development.

The Virginia Department of Transportation owns a right-of-way that provides direct access to the river.

To use it, Fauquier must own the land fronting both sides of the right-of-way. The county already owns the property along the right-of-way’s southern border.

In the fall, Fauquier and the trust hope to obtain from the Heflin family 2.8 acres along the right-of-way’s northern boundary. As with the Marshall transaction, the trust would buy the Heflin property and transfer it to the county. An conservation easement on the property would prevent its development.

The right-of-way will create a link to Willis Avenue and River Road, off Business Route 15 in town.

The Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries then will construct the river access, including a launch for canoes and kayaks, said Supervisor Chris Butler, whose Lee District includes Remington.

The VDOT right-of-way will require minimal improvements, Mr. Butler suggested in an interview.

“I feel good about being in the water in the spring,” he added.

Besides a trail, the planned park will include a parking lot and shed, Mr. Butler said.

“I’m going to reach out to the community to try to get a (gravel) lot and a simple pole building,” he explained. “I may run a little donation campaign to see if the canoeists and kayakers and may others want to help.

“I’m not trying to build a 10-acre parking lot. The Friends of the Rappahannock say 10 or 12 spaces will be enough.”
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