Regional Trails and Natural Resources Education Center

Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) is working with Prince George County Parks and Recreation Department (PGPR) to develop a Regional Trails and Natural Resources Education Center inside the Appomattox River Park in Prince George County. The proposed project is located on 25 acres of undisturbed land on the Appomattox River. It is situated between Interstate 295 to the east and Regional Riverside Jail to the west.

The project will be developed in phases. For the first phase, the project calls for the development of 3,000 linear feet trails and construction of a restroom, the education facilities and the parking areas. The latter phases include the construction of a boardwalk, observation decks and education exhibits, and additional trails. The estimated cost for the Phase I portion of the project is $175,000. To fund the project, PGPR is seeking grants from both public and private sources such as the Virginia Trails Fund Program and Dominion Virginia Power.

This project will allow and encourage all of the citizens of the region, an urbanized area population of 160,000, as well as tourists and new comers to utilize the trail system and education facilities. The proposed project will serve as the eastern anchor of the Lower Appomattox River Corridor greenway and trials system. It will connect the proposed Cabin Creek trail network in Hopewell to the east and other trail network in Petersburg via a planned Blueway system to the west. This is an unique concept where the land trails could be accessible by the boaters in the future, when the regional Greenway/Blueway Plan is implemented. The trails within the project could also be recommended as part of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail System. The facilities will be maintained by Prince George County's Parks and Recreation Department.

There are very few opportunities in the region where young and old can partake in an outdoor activity such as proposed for the project. The elderly and handicapped will have easily accessible and secure trails on which they can enjoy an outdoor experience. An educational experience will be available to the many school children and clubs (4-H clubs, and boys and girls clubs) in the region. The project will provide an outdoor classroom experience that does not currently exist in the region. For various state agencies, i.e., Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of Forestry, Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Extension Services, etc., the trails and education center will provide opportunities for instruction and hands-on experience for their various educational programs.

The project has the support of Crater Planning District Commission, a regional planning organization, and numerous non-profit organizations, i.e. the Friends of Chesterfield's Riverfront, South Central Corridor Resources Conservation and Development Council; conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited, the Wild Turkey.

Federation and the area Soil and Water Conservation Districts, a promotional program will be developed that will inform the local citizenry about the project. The Birding Association, Boating and Canoe Clubs and various local tourism offices will also be utilized in order to advertise and inform the public of associations of the benefits and availability of the trails, education facilities and other features of the project.