Tag Archives: Kanawha Canal

Maintaining where George Washington ate lunch is important

The Lower Arch," is the grand (western) entrance to the main section of the James River CanalThere are several walking trails at Pump House Park and they connect many interesting historical features, the most famous of which is the Lower Arch, which is still intact and very much worth preservation and restoration. Here is the story behind George Washington’s Lower Arch as printed on a sign at the park:

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Access Week: Open Richmond’s canals to paddlers

Build a dock behind the "Cross" monument and the Haxall Canal is in businessPhil Riggan – James River News Hub

Access Week! One of the first complaints most people have when discussing the James River in Richmond is that there aren’t enough access points. This is Day 4 as James River News Hub tackles the topic of access points.

The canals in Richmond should be opened up for paddlers to connect parks and existing  access points. Paddlers could form circuits where one could park at a given parking lot, either paddle down river or up the canal, make a run and paddle back to their vehicle.

The term “greenway” in urban planning is the concept of connecting the city and its citizens through urban corridors of green. Connecting via waterway is considered a “blueway” and the would be the perfect way to creat two-way traffic.

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“George Washington’s Vision” not to be missed on Canal Walk

George Washington's VisionHave you ever taken a stroll down at the Canal Walk downtown? The 1.25 paved and landscaped path runs from Tredegar Iron Works to Shockoe Bottom and is full of historic locations and displays. One of the best is “George Washington’s Vision” at the Canal Walk Turning Basin in downtown Richmond.

The granite and bronze display is arranged in a circle and centered with a surveyor’s compass. The text and map within the display highlight the key points of the Kanawha Canal and Washington’s vision of connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River.

For more, see Richmond on the James and the Venture Richmond websites.

RIVER RANT: Why can’t we paddle in the canals in Richmond?

Paddlers in the Manchester Canal during the 2010 Earth Day FestivalThey can’t we paddle in the Kanawha Canal? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to paddle from certain points down river back up to make another run? This idea has been addressed on the Richmond on the James blog. The problem: CSX railroad has a 100-foot easement off the center of their tracks, which extends, in most places, all the way across the canal. This is not the case in Petersburg on the Appomattox River, and it is possible to park, paddle up the canal and make a run down the river, ending up at the same take out and parking lot in which your paddle trip began.

Would you be interested in paddling in the canal? Would you paddle from Tredegar to the Pump House, a nearly 2-mile paddle up-stream? How useful would an amenity like that be for Richmond as an outdoor sports destination?

RIVER RAVE: Richmond Folk Festival from the James River

Photo by Rich Young: Richmond skyline from area down river from Reedy Creek takeoutDuring the 2009 Richmond Folk Festival, I took a kayak trip down the James River from Pony Pasture to Reedy Creek. The best part of the trip was as we reached the area near the takeout and the Richmond skyline came into view, we could clearly hear the sound from the festival downriver. It was a great feeling as we stopped our kayaks against some rocks and just listened to the music.

The Richmond Folk Festival is happening again this weekend and the settings among Tredegar Iron Works and Brown’s Island highlights the James River. Paddlers could stop in the flat area between Belle Isle and Brown’s Island to listen and one of these years paddlers might be able to run down the James to the festival and takeout at Tredegar Beach, paddle in the Haxall Canal around Brown’s Island and then take a canal boat or paddle back up the Kanawha Canal from Oregon Hill to The Pumphouse…

Would you paddle to the Richmond Folk Festival? Would you paddle in the canal at Brown’s Island during concerts and events? It’s possible, just keep telling the City of Richmond that’s what you want!

-by Phil Riggan [Photo courtesy Rich Young on Flickr.com]