Shenandoah River State Park has been expanding its facilities over the last few years. The new visitor center, which was awarded the “silver” level of certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, opened in July of 2009.
On Tuesday, November 9th, construction of a new water feature began outside the center. This feature will not only enhance the surrounding landscape, but it will provide an opportunity for guests to observe some of the aquatic life found in the Shenandoah River. A second water feature was built inside the center, which includes a deep pool for fish and a waterfall. In the coming months, the outside area surrounding the feature will be landscaped with native plants and shrubs that will attract butterflies and other wildlife. Sitting benches and hummingbird feeders will also be placed in the area, creating a relaxing place for visitors to enjoy viewing wildlife.
New RV Campground Guests have already been enjoying the brand new RV campground that opened here in July. The campground features 32 spacious sites with water and electric hook-ups. Each site is equipped with a picnic table, fire ring and lantern post. There is also a brand new, centrally located bath house with shower and laundry facilities. In addition, four camping cabins are available for rent as well.
One great advantage for campers is the location of the new campground. It is adjacent to both the river and the beautiful fields of the Cullers tract. Direct access to the Bluebell and River trails offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, walking and biking. An access area for canoes, kayaks and tubes is available as well. The Campground Trail, which leads to both the Visitor Center and the Culler’s Overlook, is located in the RV area as well. This campground is also the first Virginia State Parks’ full service campground to be open year round!
The last addition for the new campground was trees! Finally, at the beginning of November, the park was able to acquire and plant over 200 trees around the campground’s common areas and borders. Many species were planted, including Northern Red Oak, Willow Oak, Red Maple, Serviceberry, American Dogwood and Redbud trees. Many of these trees are relatively fast growing and will eventually provide both shade and additional habitat for wildlife.
Serviceberry trees produce fruit which attracts birds, including mockingbirds, cardinals, cedar waxwings, towhees, bluebirds and Baltimore orioles. Mammals that eat the fruit, twigs or leaves of serviceberry trees include rabbits, chipmunks, foxes, black bears and deer. The fruit has a blueberry flavor and is edible for humans; they can be eaten fresh or used in pastries or puddings. Dogwood fruit is eaten by the bobwhite, cedar waxwing, cardinal, flicker, mockingbird, robin, wild turkey, and woodpecker. The leaves and twigs are choice food for the white-tailed deer.
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