Because of the limited size of our volunteer housing, the Shenandoah River State Park has always been limited to a maximum of 7 kids and two supervisors. This year’s group may be small but park staff have been impressed with the trail work they have accomplished in just under three weeks.
The youth live in the Brown Cabin. It’s not suitable for rental to the public but it sits right on the banks of the south fork of the Shenandoah River. It is on the edge of the park and accessed by a fifteen minute drive down a rough gravel road. So it’s isolated. When I first saw the Brown Cabin, I thought it was named after someone named Brown that had lived on the property that is now the state park. Later I learned it’s called the Brown Cabin because it’s brown.
The youth have done lots of trail work. The park has several construction projects currently underway – a visitor center that is designed to be a Leeds Certified building, rental cabins, and a new full service campground. Some of the park’s best trails, including the equestrian trails, were closed and obliterated. The Youth Corps has been doing trail restoration. They also worked at the land that will someday be Seven Bends State Park.
As I mentioned, the youth have had fun as well. They visited Luray Caverns, the Luray Zoo, climbed Old Rag Mountain and visited Shenandoah National Park. Today Gaston Rouse and I joined the crew for a late lunch at the Soul Mountain Restaurant in Front Royal. Gaston (born in Jamaica) was thrilled by the Carribean menu. We also stopped at another local eatery, Spelunkers, for ice custard desserts.
The first session of the Youth Conservation Corps ends Saturday with graduation at 11 a.m.