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Lower Chickahominy

Recreation and Ecotourism Infrastructure

Nature and culture-based recreation and learning opportunities abound in the Lower Chickahominy watershed.  These opportunities and their related assets support eco-tourism as an economic growth area for the region's economy.  Ecotourism is travel and related services that are based on experiences with the flora, fauna, and cultural heritage of a place or region.  Responsible ecotourism has a positive impact on the ecology and the economy of a place.

The three counties of the Lower Chickahominy offer many recreational assets for human enjoyment and appreciation of the area's natural resources.  Public parks and other public lands present many opportunities for people.  Trails often exist within parks and public lands.  The Virginia Capital Trail that connects Richmond to Jamestown along Route 5 crosses the Chickahominy River near its confluence with the James River and connects recreational assets near it.  The Captain John Smith Water Trail runs up the James River from the Chesapeake Bay to the mountains of Virginia; a spur of the water trail extends up the Chickahominy River.  For those interested in birding and wildlife viewing, Virginia's Birding and Wildlife Trail Plantation Loop has sites in all three counties of the Lower Chickahominy area.  Access to the Chickahominy River itself as well as other water bodies in the area is provided through both public and private sites.  All these assets as well as other infrastructure elements constitute ecotourism infrastructure.

The following StoryMaps provide a detailed eco-tourism infrastructure inventory for all three counties in the Lower Chickahominy watershed: Charles City County, James City County, and New Kent County.  This eco-tourism infrastructure inventory highlights the existing public access sites that contribute to the eco-tourism industry. The inventory allows PlanRVA staff and other project partners to pinpoint opportunities for growth to increase both the ecological and economic value in the county. 

Conserved land & conservation easements support ecotourism infrastructure.

Each county in the Lower Chickahominy watershed boasts some of the most unique and valuable natural resources in Virginia. The area has healthy streams, forested lands, and open spaces that are home to the native flora and fauna of the tidal fresh zone of coastal Virginia. Given these distinctive attributes and the county's prime location in the region, the rural area is experiencing suburban development pressure in Virginia's coastal plain.  Publicly conserved lands and private conservation easements protect the area's natural resources for present and future generations to enjoy.  The StoryMaps linked to on this page focus on assets that provide public access.  It is important to note that conserved lands not open to public access also support ecotourism in a less direct manner.  These lands provide habitat, support clean water, and air, and contribute to the character of an area.  Without them, the areas that support public access would not be as vibrant.  The map below displays conserved lands and easements with and without public access for a full picture of lands supporting eco-tourism.

Outdoor Recreational Heighlights

The three counties of the Lower Chickahominy offer many recreational assets for human enjoyment and appreciation of the natural resources of the area.  Public parks and other public lands present many opportunities for people.  Trails often exist within parks and public lands.  The Virginia Capital Trail that connects Richmond to Jamestown along Route 5 crosses the Chickahominy River near its confluence with the James River and connects recreational assets in its vicinity.  The Captain John Smith Water Trail runs up the James River from the Chesapeake Bay to the mountains of Virginia; a spur of the water trail extends up the Chickahominy River through the Lower Chickahominy area.  For those interested in birding and wildlife viewing, Virginia's Birding and Wildlife Trail Plantation Loop has sites in all three counties of the Lower Chickahominy area.  Access to the Chickahominy River itself as well as other water bodies in the area is provided through both public and private opportunities.

Some key assets in the Lower Chickahominy area located along the Chickahominy River include:

  • Brickyard Landing - This public boat ramp in James City County offers fishing and boating access to the Chickahominy River.
  • Chickahominy Wildlife Management Area - This 5,217-acre property includes a variety of habitats for hunting and wildlife viewing, a sighting-in range where hunters can practice their skills, a public boat ramp on Morris Creek for boaters, and fishing opportunities along the banks of the Chickahominy, and several tributaries.
  • Chickahominy Riverfront Park - This 140 acre James City County park is located just off Route 5 and the Virginia Capital Trail.  The park includes countless amenities: campsites, boat rentals and a launch ramp, a 300+ foot pier for fishing, a park store, a playground, a swimming pool, sports fields, and a golf driving range.
  • Colonial Harbor Marina - This private marina and restaurant is located in New Kent County and offers boat maintenance services.
  • Crawford State Forest in New Kent County borders the Chickahominy River and has a trail that is open to the public.  Horseback riding is allowed but requires a State Forest Use Permit.
  • Ed Allens Campground & Cottages - This private campground offers a wide variety of family-friendly activities and lodging types.  Amenities include a fishing pier, swimming pool, game room, playground, stocked fishing ponds, kayak rentals, baseball field, and a picnic pavilion with grilling stations.
  • Game Farm Marsh WMA - This 429-acre wetland area is located in New Kent County along Chickahominy Lake and can be accessed only by boat.  Shallow waters and lots of submerged vegetation make human navigation in the area difficult but cypress forests and an abundance of wildlife make this place a true gem.
  • Rockahock Campground - This private campground and marina offer a wide variety of family-friendly activities and lodging types including river houses, cottages, and yurts.  Amenities include an amphitheater for events, playgrounds, a restaurant, and kayak rentals.

Eco-Tourism StoryMaps

Conservation Lands and Easements

Recreational Assets

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This project, Task # 93.01 was funded by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program led by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality through Grant FY18 #NA18NOS4190152 of the US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic, and Atmospheric Administration, under the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended.  The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Department of Commerce, NOAA, or any of its sub-agencies.

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