Tag Archives: Friends of the Rappahannock

No Fooling Around for an April 1st Paddle on Cat Point Creek

by ALICE FRENCH:
MENOKIN EDUCATION COORDINATOR

 

Menokin Bay
photo by Patrick Wamsley

How thrilled were we when Richard Moncure, Education Director for the Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR), called to see if he could bring some members of Falls of the James, – Sierra Paddlers Club from Richmond – for the first spring paddle on Cat Point Creek on April 1st? Really thrilled. No fooling!

Moncure was joined by FOR’s Adam Lynch in leading the paddle tour on Cat Point Creek.  Mother Nature obviously approved of the idea as she provided perfect weather for us to introduce our little slice of paradise to this eager group of enthusiastic nature lovers.

Since it was still a little chilly early on this first morning in April, we collectively decided to meet at the Visitor’s Center for an orientation of Menokin and the preservation and education projects we are undertaking. Next was a Hard Hat Tour of the Menokin ruin. Who would have thought our fallen house with barely any walls would have felt warm?!  This group was adventurous and open to learning something new, and so they did. After an inspired house tour, we ventured down to Cat Point Creek.  The wind made the water a little choppy. After safety instructions from Richard and Adam, this hardy crowd paddled out into Menokin Bay, the widest part of Cat Point Creek.

The good news was we were beginning the paddle against the tide and wind, when we still had a lot of energy!  Along the way, Adam, Richard, and I pointed out plant species, wildlife and talked about historical references to this place. Emphasis was placed on the fact that due to conservation of our waters through acts such as The Chesapeake Bay Act, fathered by our own dear Tayloe Murphy in 1970, the Northern Neck and the Chesapeake Bay provide wonderfully preserved authentic experiences not found in many places on this planet.  Evidence of the effects of conservation measures such as this are seen in the resurgence of eagle habitats, symbol of American Freedom, throughout the Northern Neck.  Additionally, oyster reproduction, crucial to keeping our waterways clean, has finally begun to increase again as well.

Remember, we all drink the same water on this planet. We all need to protect it.

Moncure, a native of the Northern Neck with a long family history associated with the water, spoke to us on the importance of supporting special environments like those still found in the Northern Neck. Ecological conservation efforts from advocacy groups like the Friends of the Rappahannock and conservation-minded tourism properties like Menokin have helped to maintain and sustain the pristine beauty and ecosystems of this region.

Our next community paddle is on June 9th and features a full moon! This enchanted landscape will surely be made more magical by a Moonlight Paddle.  We have other community paddles schedule throughout 2017, so watch for those announcements. Many will be associated with the Smithsonian Water|Ways exhibit that is coming to Menokin for six weeks starting in July. Take advantage of having a world-class museum experience in your own back yard for you and your family to learn more about how the precious resource of water affects our culture and our planet.

Come for a paddle and see for yourself. Our trails are open from 7am – 7pm Sunday through Saturday. Find out more on our website. menokin.org/water-access

Dominion Volunteers Energize Menokin

Recently we told you about the generous grant from Dominion Energizing Communities that was shared with Menokin through the Friends of the Rappahannock.

img_4168At 7:30 on Tuesday morning of this week, their trucks rolled in and the volunteers went to work. To say that Menokin was buzzing is not an exaggeration. Table saws, power tools and happy, hard working people made quick work of the prearranged list of projects to benefit Menokin and our visitors.

I was thrilled to find that – upon my arrival at 8:30 – the transformation of a dog kennel into a covered pavilion was already completed. Later in the day one of the newly constructed benches made its way into the space and is ready for use.

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Over by the house, a team was busy at work re-roofing our storage shed. Others were steadily cutting lumber (generously donated by Wood Preservers of Warsaw) into patterns for tables and benches, while the next group assembled the pieces into furniture.
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After all of their hard work was completed the team leaders brought in pizza and homemade desserts and invited the Menokin staff and trustees to share. Most of the volunteers joined me for a tour of the house and learned more about the history and rehabilitation of Menokin.

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So next time you’re walking the trail to Cat Point Creek and pause to rest on a bench; or have a picnic lunch by the house or the water; or sit to reflect on the on the lives of theimg_8069-jpg enslaved people who worked the land; thank the volunteers of the Dominion Foundation for making your visit to Menokin a little more comfortable.


We would also like to thank our Menokin volunteers Kirwan King and Ben Rennolds for picking up and hauling all of the lumber and building supplies for the project. Thanks, guys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trim and Tidy

What do you do when a staff member’s father-in-law is coming to Menokin to haul kayaks down to the waterfront? Ask him to bring his weed eater and trim around the picnic table and launch area, of course!

Last Thursday, Richmond County resident Luke French came to the rescue of the Intrepid Ladies of Menokin when he agreed to stack one volunteer opportunity on top of another. It is friends like these that help us keep our grounds trim and tidy.

Luke French trims the waterfront.
Luke French comes to the rescue.

 

 

You can now see the picnic table. Thanks, Luke!
You can now see the picnic table. Thanks, Luke!

And they do it for free! Which is a good thing when you are a non-profit raising every dollar that is spent.

Speaking of good deeds and generosity, the Menokin grounds will get another face lift soon through a partnership and volunteer project with the Friends of the Rappahannock and Dominion Energizing Communities, which will result in the addition of benches along the river trail, picnic tables and benches at the education shelter, with a generous donation from Wood Preservers.

The volunteers will also provide assistance with grounds maintenance and restoration of some of the facilities used by Menokin for our programs.

 

Menokin is Included in the 2015 Essential Paddling Guide

Menokin was visited last May by Kurt Repanshek of the National Parks Traveler, Suzanne Copping of the National Park Service and Richard Moncure of Friends of the Rappahannock.

Their mission – paddle along Cat Point Creek and Menokin Bay from Menokin Landing and hopefully find the experience worthy of including in the 2015 Essential Guide to Paddling The Parks.

Click the image for a link to the Paddling Through History article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accompanied by Alice French, Menokin’s Intrepid Education and Outreach Coordinator and Bri Basile, summer intern, they determined that it is worthy and they have included a beautiful article about our site and our project in this year’s publication.

Improvements on Menokin’s road, thanks to a generous grant from the National Parks Service Chesapeake Gateways Program, to Cat Point Creek will begin in March and hopefully will be ready in time for prime paddling.