Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DRBA Annual Celebration March 5th

Dan River Basin Association's Annual Celebration Saturday, March 5, will feature Philpott Lake as well as major elements of group's mission-preserving and promoting the region's rivers and culture through education, recreation and stewardship.
The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Henry Community Center in Henry.
After refreshments and time to view displays, the short business session will include recognition of exceptional volunteer service, election of board members, and staff reports on the association's extensive activities in Virginia and North Carolina during the past year, as well as a glimpse of the year ahead.

Featured as the celebration's speaker will be Craig "Rocky" Rockwell of Bassett. As operations project manager at nearby Philpott Lake, Rockwell is uniquely qualified to present a program on his topic-"Philpott Lake: Past, Present, and Future."

Nestled in the rugged foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the juncture of Franklin, Henry, and Patrick counties, Philpott Lake is described as "a scenic wonderland."

The 3000-acre lake, created when Philpott Dam was completed on the Smith River in 1952, was built to control flooding, generate hydroelectric power, and provide recreational opportunities on the water and along its 110 miles of shoreline. Boating accesses, camping and picnic areas, and hiking trails are among the amenities provided alongside the lake.
Among the most popular is the Jamison Mill Park, named for a three-story gristmill built in the late 1880s and operated until about 1950.

Hazel Via Hale, granddaughter of Robert Carter, the miller at Jamison Mill for over 50 years, is author of "Memories: Jamison Mill Era."

According to Hale, until the mill was demolished for the lake, it was a gathering place for the whole community where people came for miles to have corn ground into meal.

Nowadays, another community group comes from miles around to the Jamison Mill area: the Friends of Philpott, who have put in many volunteer hours building and maintaining trails at Jamison Mill Park.

Organized in 2007, Friends of Philpott has the mission to provide environmentally responsible use, development and protection of the natural and recreational resources at Philpott Lake through community involvement and education.

Friends of Philpott will join Dan River Basin Association volunteers in providing hospitality and refreshments for the celebration.

Members and guests will hear reports from the association's staff, including Brian Williams from Dan River Basin's Virginia office in Collinsville; acting executive director Jenny Edwards from the Eden, N.C. headquarters office; Dale Swanson from the Stokes Field Office in Danbury, N.C.; and Chad Hall, North Carolina program manager, whose office is in Yanceyville, N.C.

Following the meeting and a picnic lunch provided by each participant, members and guests will carpool to the newly extended Jamison Mill Trail, about six miles away.

Coordinators for the 2.5-mile hike will be Linda Drage of Friends of Philpott and Mary Lawson of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers staff, who can tell about the history of the mill, development of the trail, and interesting natural features of the site.

Participants are asked to bring a picnic lunch to be eaten at the community center. Those joining in the after-lunch hike should wear hiking boots or walking shoes and dress in layers.

To reach Henry Community Center, 5241 Henry Road, Henry, VA_(36.842172,-80.024966), drive on US 220 north of Martinsville for about seven miles past the traffic light at Bassett Forks. Turn left on Henry Road (Route 605). Drive about eight miles to the Henry Community Center, also housing the volunteer fire department, on the right.

Meetings and outings of the Dan River Basin Association are free and open to the public.

For information about the celebration or the hike, contact Wayne Kirkpatrick at 276-694-4449 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              276-694-4449      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or wynbtyk@embarqmail.com.

Membership information is available at www.danriver.org.