Thu09182014

Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

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McAuliffe to dedicate new campsite

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in King George at 9 a.m. Aug. 22 to dedicate a new ‘canoe-in’ campground at Caledon State Park.

Caledon is a National Natural Landmark known for its old-growth forests and a high concentration of bald eagles.

The campground is the newest public access point along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, a 3,000-mile water trail tracing the historic voyage of the famous English explorer.

The Smith Trail officially was launched May 12, 2007, as part of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. It’s the first national water trail and is being developed to follow the historic routes of Smith’s travels based on his map and journals.

Local officials and the public are invited to the hour-long dedication ceremony. Attendees are advised to arrive between 7:30-8:15 a.m. with shuttle vans available for those not wishing to walk or bike the picturesque 3-mile trail to the campground site on the Potomac River near Metomkin Point. The parking area for Caledon State Park is at 11617 Caledon Road (Route 218). Parking and program fees are waived for the day.   

Following the ceremony, visitors are invited to explore the campground site, the park with its other trails, the visitor center, and participate in any of several interpretive programs or take a shuttle van back to the parking area. In conjunction with the dedication, the park will offer family-friendly activities, including boating safety demonstrations, a program on fossils and a plant-identification hike.

The new primitive campground is the first public overnight facility at Caledon. It contains six, 20- by 30-foot campsites, each equipped with a fire ring, picnic table and lantern post. The campground site is served by two vault toilets. The campsites must be reserved by permit online, by phone or in-person at the park, depending on availability, for $11/night including vehicle parking.

The opening of the campground is part of an ongoing state effort to increase public access to rivers and the Chesapeake Bay through the Smith Trail. Partners in this effort include the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the Chesapeake Conservancy and the National Park Service. Each of the agencies feature down-loadable brochures on their websites along with a wealth of information about Caledon and the Smith Trail from which much of the information in this article is drawn.

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