The Eco Ambassador Council (EAC) announces the groundbreaking of a new trail system and accompanying parking area at the future site of Mayo River State Park in Henry County, Va. on October 27, 2021. This project will be located near Horsepasture and is anticipated to be completed in the Spring of 2022.
The EAC’s investment will open up the site to day-use recreation through the development of nearly 5 miles of hiking/biking trials and will add a 6-8 car parking area for access to the site. Plans also include interpretive signage that will tell the story of the site’s natural, cultural, and historic resources.
“The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) first proposed the Mayo River State Park in Virginia in 2006,” said Tiffany Haworth, Executive Director. “DRBA has invested a tremendous amount of time and energy into this project including hosting field investigations, identifying property owners in the study area, leading river evaluations, and sharing valuable information about the area’s historic and natural resources. DRBA was key in planning the Mayo River State Park in North Carolina and the anticipated opening of Virginia’s Mayo River State Park will seamlessly connect to the two with future plans to include river access for paddling and fishing, camping areas, and facilities for nature study. We are truly grateful for the investment from the EAC to support this long-time goal.”
“The goal of the EAC is to harness the collective power of regional businesses to protect, preserve and promote the natural resources of the Dan River Basin,” said Tyler Carter, Chairman of the EAC and Commercial Banker at Carter Bank & Trust. “The EAC provides an opportunity for regional businesses to pool resources and shared actions for the benefit of local communities, stakeholders, and the regional economy.”
Current EAC members include Blair Construction, Carter Bank & Trust, Clark Gas & Oil, Frith Construction, The Lester Group, Hooker Furniture and Jones & DeShon Orthodontics. Each business has pledged an annual donation of $5,000 and a commitment to encourage their employees to participate in EAC projects. The EAC started in 2020 and is open to all businesses in the Dan River Basin that want to make a visible impact in the region.
The North and South Mayo rivers meander through a predominantly forested corridor accented by steep forested bluffs, massive rock formations or outcrops, and occasional open pastures and fields. Stands of mountain laurel dominate the understory of many of the north facing slopes and provide spectacular displays when in bloom. Wildflowers are abundant and varied. Smooth azalea, ranked as rare in Virginia, grows along the North Mayo River. Slopes and soil types are suitable for trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and playgrounds.
Deer, wild turkey, and a variety of small game and non-game animals and upland birds inhabit the region. Fisheries include redbreast sunfish, red horsesuckers, smallmouth bass, and rainbow trout. The Mayo River has been designated a Threatened and Endangered Species Water due to the presence of the federally and state endangered James spiny mussel. Additionally, the state threatened orangefin madtom, and several federal species of concern (rustyside sucker, riverweed darter and Roanoke hogsucker) have been documented.
Historic resources in the area include late Woodland Period Indian village sites and fish weirs, dating from 1000 – 1450. On the state line is Byrd’s Ledge, where William Byrd’s commissioners camped in 1728 during their survey of the Virginia-North Carolina boundary. Byrd named the rivers for William Mayo, a surveyor in his party. The Great Wagon Road, one of the most important backcountry migration routes in the southern colonies, which brought tens of thousands of settlers into the backcountry from Pennsylvania to present-day Southern Virginia and the Carolinas, passes through the area.
Regional businesses are welcome to join the EAC year-round and become an active member of this innovative and influential partnership of business leaders. Please contact Tyler Carter of Carter Bank & Trust at Tyler.Carter@CBTcares.com or (540) 493-0582 for more information.