Since an EF-2 tornado struck Staunton River State Park on April 16 of this year, the park’s trails have remained closed to the public. Recently, a section of trail that leads from the campground to a popular fishing spot has reopened, thanks to the efforts of a Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps crew.
Tornado Damage at Staunton River State Park from April 2011
It took just minutes for this powerful tornado to cut a swath of destruction through the park, with over 100 acres of forest destroyed. Miraculously, most of the park’s public facilities were spared the tornado’s wrath.
After a herculean clean-up effort by park staff and volunteers, as well as salvage support from H & M Lumber Company, the park’s poolopenedas scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. Theboat launch area, campground, and picnic facilities were also opened.
Unfortunately, sections of the park’strail system were left unrecognizable by downed trees and debris, a lasting reminder of nature’s fury. Trails have remained closed because of the potential danger to users.
Visitors to the park earlier this summer might have seen some of the timber salvage operation in action. Now, although the heavy equipment has moved away from the main road, the operation is continuing in less public areas.
Staunton River State Park YCC crew 2011
This YCC crew, consisting of 10 youth and two supervisors, began work July 25. Their first task was to clear debris and restore fencing around the district office building. Once that area was done, the all female crew moved on to clearing the trail area, which connects the campground to the River Bank Trail in the park.
YCC crew at work on trail July 2011
While other park trailsremain closed, campers can once again enjoy one of the park’s most popular fishing locations on the bank of the Staunton River.Saturday, August 13was YCC graduation day. Crew members have returned home, having made a visible difference during their three-week stay.
View of Staunton River from favorite bank fishing spot
Each summer, Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps provides an opportunity for youth to live and work in a park. Traveling from around Virginia and beyond, crew members learn about conservation and the environment while completing projects in our parks. They also find time for fun activities, such as canoeing, swimming, and visiting other state parks and area attractions. For more information about Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps, click here.
LOCATION: Staunton River State Park is 18 miles east of South Boston. Take U.S. 360 to Route 344. Follow Route 344 for 10 miles to the park, located southeast of Scottsburg, Va.
Drive Time:Northern Virginia, three and a half hours; Richmond, two hours; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, three hours; Roanoke, two hours