August is Clean River Month in Grayson County, and to kick off early, Grayson Landcare is pleased to announce Elizabeth Underwood, executive director of New River Conservancy, as their special guest speaker at the Tuesday, July 17, 2023 meeting at the Baldwin Auditorium of the 1908 Courthouse in Independence at 7:00 PM.
Underwood will update the community on the New River Hill Forest, purchased by the New River Conservancy. The New River Hill Forest, near the New River Hill Farm, purchase ensures that 174 acres and 2,530 feet of riverfront are permanently protected. The New River Conservancy raised nearly 1 million dollars to purchase this land with support from Fred and Alice Stanback, Charlotte Hanes, the Jack M Matthews Foundation, and many other donors. The Conservancy then gifted it to the New River Soil and Water Conservation District, which encompasses Grayson and Carroll Counties, and the city of Galax in Virginia, who will maintain it in perpetuity.
Now, old logging roads have been upgraded into hiking trails for locals and visitors, and river boat access is nearing completion. Once this work is completed and sufficient parking and signage are in place, New River Hill Forest will be open to the public.
Grayson LandCare and New River Conservancy have been partners since New River Wildlife & Conservation Club persuaded Grayson County to declare August River Cleanup Month 3 years ago. Grayson Landcare is partnering with New River Wildlife & Conservation Club and the New River Conservancy in a planned river clean up on Saturday August 12th, with more cleanups throughout the month.