Friends of the Lower Appomattox River
What is Friends of the Lower Appomattox River?
Friends of the Lower Appomattox River (FOLAR) is a non-profit citizen organization formed as a result of the Appomattox River Corridor Plan, sponsored by the Crater Planning District Commission in June 1999. The Board of Directors is composed of 13 representatives, appointed by the six jurisdictions that adjoin the Lower Appomattox River and Virginia State University. FOLAR represents community leaders and citizens interested in promoting and enhancing the Appomattox River. The organization partners with the Crater Planning District Commission on special projects.
Why is the Appomattox River so important?
The Appomattox River is a major tributary of the James River. It flows in an easterly direction across the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of south central Virginia between Appomattox Courthouse and its confluence with the James River in Hopewell. The lower portion of the river meanders through six jurisdictions: the Counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and Prince George, and the Cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg; and is a valuable resource for commerce, industry, farming and recreation.
The Lower Appomattox is part of the Atlantic Flyway and the Coastal Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail. The Appomattox also provides nesting, feeding and stop-over grounds for migrating birds and waterfowl. Wildlife that inhabits the river corridor of the Lower Appomattox include beavers, muskrats and deer as well as song birds, herons, wood ducks and eagles.
What Does Friends of Lower Appomattox River Do?
FOLAR works in partnership with communities to conserve and protect the Appomattox River for all to enjoy.
A pristine river and a world-class Appomattox River Trail that will improve river access and conservation, provide opportunities to increase a culture of healthy and active lifestyle for individuals and families, and advance the economic vitality of the region.
- Develop, maintain, and protect the Appomattox River Regional Greenway-Blueway Corridor, a 20+ mile waterway and trail system that includes 7 boat access points, 10 miles of riverside trails and 11 riverside parks. Our priority focus is the build-out of the Appomattox River Trail (ART) as guided by the Appomattox River Trail Master Plan, developed through a generous grant from The Cameron Foundation.
- Devote resources to protecting water quality and to land conservation; organize regular regional river cleanup campaigns.
- Promote economic growth and healthy lifestyles through tourism and recreation programs. Support programming to expand regional education and environmental stewardship and offer the FOLAR Environmental Stewardship Scholarship in partnership with the John Randolph Foundation.
In 2016 FOLAR hired Land Planning and Design Associates (LPDA) to design a trail system master plan for the Lower Appomattox River corridor between Lake Chesdin and City Point. In conjunction with trail system planning, FOLAR contracted the design services of AB Design to plan and develop a comprehensive trail signage system. The end results can be seen here:
Collective Impact on the Appomattox River
FOLAR is working with its regional partners to apply the elements of equitable collaboration and use the core characteristics of Collective Impact:
- Common Agenda,
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities,
- Shared Measurement, and
- Continuous Communication,
to identify and implement solutions to the regional common agenda of creating and protecting the Appomattox River and Trail to positively impact public health, safety, and community prosperity.
Board of Directors, 2020-2021
The FOLAR Board of Directors includes appointed and interested community members from the six service area jurisdictions as well as representative of Virginia State University, National Park Service, Crater Region Planning District Commission, business/industry, and other relevant sectors.
Wendy Austin, Executive Director
Heather Barrar, Regional Trails Program Director
Crater PDC Contact
Jay Ruffa, Director of Planning & GIS
Monument Professional Building
1964 Wakefield St., P.O. Box 1808
Petersburg, Virginia 23805