Virginia State Parks staff met with representatives of the Halifax Saddle Club on Monday, September 5th. State Parks Director Joe Elton, Assistant Director Warren Wahl, Operations Director Nancy Heltman, and Staunton River State Park Manager Josh Ellington met with Donald Throckmorton and Bernard Irby from the Saddle Club.
Staunton River State Park received funding in the 2002 State Parks and Natural Area General Obligation Bond for an equestrian campground. Park management has committed to meeting with local equestrians to solicit feedback for the plans. The Halifax Saddle Club has been a great supporter of the park and assists with trail maintenance and other projects. Mr. Throckmorton and Mr. Irby were pleased with the plans and the proposed site.
The Saddle Club representatives are convinced the new campground will be very popular. They told us that in the summer months horse owners drive from North Carolina to ride at the park. Buggs Island Lake offers cool breezes and fewer flies than is common in southside Virginia and North Carolina. Donald Throckmorton commented that the Park had fewer flies than his ownproperty in the local area.
The planned equestrian campground will feature ten spacious pull through campsites with water and electric hookups and twenty covered horse stalls. The design maximizes green space between the sites and the plan is to save as many of the tall pine trees as possible. A bathhouse with showers is included as well as nearby access to a dump station. The park also plans to add a group gathering area since our experience is that many riding clubs like to travel and camp together. The sites can be rented individually or a group could rent all of the sites and stalls.
The plans call for clearing additional area now for future expansion as funds are available. The expansion would add another ten pull through sites and twenty stalls.
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