Updated: Oct 17, 2021
Hiking, Biking, Camping, Picnicking, Canoeing, Kayaking, Fishing, & Floating/Tubing
Virginia has a new state park Ya'll!
CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!
Okay, so the park isn't completely open yet. A big portion of it is still under development. The part that is ready to provide you and your family with adventures is located in St. Paul, Virginia.
The Sugar Hill section of St. Paul has about nine miles of hiking trails and over two miles of river frontage. Also on this property is an 18th century French settlement. There is public boat access and a picnic shelter. Oxbow lake is also located here, though I'm not sure it's technically a part of the state park.
Something to look forward to
According to the official Clinch River State Park website, it will consist of 640 acres, though several other articles suggest it will be 696. These 696 acres give or take, will span across various units joined together by Tazewell, Russell, Wise, and Scott counties. As it has been said what makes this state park unique is that it is the first state park to be based around a river and not landmass. There will be several canoe, and kayak access points along a 100 mile stretch of the river. There will also be additional camping points and trails.
The Clinch River and it's 337 miles is among the most productive and bio-diverse waterways in the Northern Hemisphere, sustaining more than 48 vulnerable animal species, including 29 varieties of rare freshwater mussels and 19 species of fish. Rare plants, mammals and birds also thrive along the river’s edge. Which translates to, these are exactly the kind of things that make SWVA unique and they absolutely should be protected. I have seen no official time line for when they expect to have everything fully developed but I'm hopeful it move along quickly. It goes without saying a new State Park will bring in more tourism and economic growth to the communities in the vicinity. It's a chance for people to really experience what makes southwest Virginia so beautiful and magical.
This next part of the post is not relevant to any information about the park but a side portion of a story. I was very excited about a new state park on the clinch. I'm like the Leslie Knope of parks, without the job title and no perks, but with the wounds and random adventures.
I gathered my squad and we headed out to watch this ceremony. The governor came, it was a whole big deal. I was more excited about being able to share that with my niece and goddaughter to educate them on conservation and the importance of respecting the grounds and diverse landscapes that God has created. I wanted them to be able say I was there the day it became a state park.
I was determined to get to this event and was literally just a couple hundred yards away, when we realize it was a private event, invitation only which was policed. I was this close to crashing the shindig (ooops).
So now I guess the kiddos have a story to tell, that time my Mary tried to break us into a private party with the governor. One very small take away would be, that we were standing on the grounds of the state park, the moment it became officially a state park.
So whether you're a local or are traveling from afar, I hope you come out and support the park. I hope you come make beautiful memories on the Clinch. I think the Nature Conservancy said it best
The Clinch “One of the Last, Great Places.”
A statement and a sentiment which I love. So be sure Virginia to check out your newest State Park. Come on out and enjoy the Clinch and the mountains that it has carved its way through.
Want more information ?
Click the link https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/clinch-river
The Sugar Hill Unit - 16348 Industrial Park Road Saint Paul, VA 24283