Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some Good News at Kelly's Ford

Today at Kelly's Ford: August 25, 2010

From today's edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent:

A cleaner riverbank, thanks to Fauquier County

By Nate Delesline Published: August 25, 2010

One week after community service workers removed 12 bags of trash from the Fauquier County side of the Kelly’s Ford riverbank, officials said that some elements of a plan to clean up and stop abuses along the Rappahannock River may be in place within a month. Tom Pavelko, director of Fauquier County’s Office of Adult Court Services, oversaw the two most recent cleanup efforts at what historians describe as one of the most important river crossings of the Civil War.
“We did the cleanup last Wednesday, and we also followed up (Monday),” he said.

But when about a half-dozen community service workers returned for the second cleaning, “We could tell that there was some evidence of illegal alcohol use,” Pavelko said.

He explained that the issue has gained the attention of a larger audience after stories about the problem appeared last week in the Free Lance Star and the Star-Exponent.

If the weather is nice, state officials, volunteer groups and local residents say people looking for a free recreation spot close to home trash the area with food containers, beer cans and even used diapers. The visitors are also suspected of chopping up trees, setting campfires and spending the night.

None of those things are allowed.

The Brandy Station Foundation, a local historic preservation group, owns the Culpeper riverbank. A substantial portion of the area is also under the control of the Department of Game and inland fisheries.

Ron Hughes , a land and facilities manager with DGIF, said Tuesday that Culpeper County officials, area volunteer groups and organizations like Friends of the Rappahannock and the Brandy Station Foundation are taking extra steps to minimize illegal activity.

Hughes said they all agree with a plan to institute closer monitoring and more strict enforcement through better signage and usage of existing regulations.

“We feel it’s a good approach, and the county agreed,” he said. “What we want to do is promote appropriate use on our management areas.”

According to DGIF appropriate use means fishing, hunting or observing wildlife, not camping or swimming. Hughes said the surge of activity has even caused some erosion on the Fauquier riverbank — yet another reason to stop the problem now.

“Our intent is to protect the resources and to protect the safety of the people,” he said. “We’re all working as partners to keep this river clean and pristine.”

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