Press Statement
James River Association and Partners Celebrate Adoption of Scenic River Bill

The James River Association and its partners commend the Virginia General Assembly for passing Senate Bill 1196 and House Bill 1454, patroned by Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegate Terry Austin respectively. The bills extend the Scenic River designation on the Upper James River from 14 miles to 59 miles and will now head to the Governor’s desk for signature.

The 59 miles of the James River being designated flows through Botetourt and Rockbridge Counties, and includes the Towns of Buchanan and Glasgow. The Scenic River designation complements the recently extended Upper James River Water Trail, a 63 mile recreational blueway beginning at the confluence of the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers and terminating at Snowden.

Rob Campbell, Upper James Community Conservationist for the James River Association stated, “The Upper James River Water Trail is a significant community asset and the new Scenic River designation celebrates exceptional scenic resources along the trail.”

“This is an exciting time for Botetourt County as we recognize and take pride in the James River,” said Jack Leffel, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and neighbor to the James River. “The river is special, and the Virginia Scenic River designation will help protect the beauty of the James for generations to come.”

“Residents and visitors alike treasure the recreation and scenery along the James River. With a focus on water activities and increased access to the James, Rockbridge Regional Tourism will market our tourism products to attract outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels,” said Jean Clark, Director of Tourism for Lexington & the Rockbridge Area Tourism. “Connecting those visitors seeking unspoiled natural beauty to cultural and historic amenities creates a substantial economic impact for our communities. Partnerships between residents, local governments and the state resulting in the Scenic River designation will ensure the James River will be protected for the enjoyment of future generations.”

The Virginia Scenic Rivers Program, which began in 1970 when the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia State Scenic River Act, identifies, recognizes and provides a level of protection to rivers with significant scenic, historic, recreational, and natural values. Scenic River designations do not impact existing land uses.

Justin Doyle
Community Conservation Manager
James River Association
(804) 572-4667