The New River Trail Conservancy




The New River Trail

Virginia's New River Trail stretches 57 scenic miles along a prehistoric, mountain-sided channel, traveled through the ages by a north-flowing river, countless wild species, Native Americans, early settlers, and the railroad whose bed composes this path

But Virginia's longest state park is also the narrowest, with a mere 80-foot-wide right-of-way in most locations.

While park staff work devotedly to maintain this corridor, its surrounding beauty is due to generations of adjacent landowners whose stewardship has retained the songbird habitat, soaring palisades, woodlands, pastures, riparian buffer, fresh breezes, and quiet, sweet solitudes that make the trail experience a rejuvenating step back in time

Such rural landscapes have vanished from much of the Eastern U.S. - a fate you can help our park avoid with a spirit of conservation.

*Please respect private property along the trail

*Please consider helping to protect this quiet, scenic legacy by donating to the New River Trail Conservancy Project. This nonprofit project exists solely to protect the scenic landscape surrounding the Trail, through the establishment of conservation easements. Every donated dollar protects another bit of habitat and beauty for generations to come - a vital step on the path between a living history and a sustainable future.

To help VAFP conserve and protect the pristine beauty of the New River Trail, click on the donate button below:


Wanted By Tomorrows Generation:

  • Wildflowers, Trees, Woods
  • Songbirds, Fireflies, Butterflies, Owls, Toads, Turtles, Salamanders, Trout
  • Clean Air, Water
  • Quiet places for reflection
  • Nocturnal darkness, visibility of stars
  • Scenic New River Trail Corridors
  • And You!

You can still find these rare treasures along the New River Trail State Park, but they are vanishing from America's landscapes, and potentially from this one as well.

The scenic New River Trail, winding along the prehistoric, pastoral channels of Chestnut Creek and New River, is Virginia's longest State Park. But it's also the narrowest, with only an 80-foot-wide right-of-way for most of the length, and few protected scenic buffers.

What will the ancient corridors of the acclaimed trail look, sound and feel like in a few years? Will the trail become a noisy sidewalk through lit-up developments?

Or will children and adults still find the mystical beauty and songbird habitat that make this 57-mile long Virginia State Park a welcome refuge for people and wildlife?

It's Our Decision

The rural character of the New River Trail has depended on the generations of adjacent landowners who have retained the soaring palisades, woodlands, pastures, and quiet, sweet solitudes that make the trail experience a rejuvenating step back in time.

Today, as family farms are sold and development springs up, land-use experts predict that without incentive for protection, little greenspace will remain undeveloped. In fact, natural landscapes have already vanished from much of the Eastern U.S.

The New River Trail Conservancy Fund evolved to address that ongoing change.

This nonprofit fund exists solely to protect the scenic landscape surrounding the Trail, through the establishment of conservation easements. Every donated dollar protects a bit of shade, beauty and habitat for generations to come.

A Gift to Grandchildren

Protecting the New River Trail corridors is a time-limited offer. Within a decade, many land tracts will have become developed or unavailable for protection. This means the next generations will not have the choices we have today. Their landscapes, wildlife habitat, water quality and scenic beauty depend largely on our actions or inaction today.

Your donation works to save a bit of the natural world for your grandchildren. While other material gifts have a short lifespan, protected rural landscapes will continue giving and living for decades and generations, a needed sanctuary for body, mind and soul.




Taking Nature Back Home

A Silent Spring?

The songbirds, owls and spring peepers you may hear along the New River Trail are vanishing from landscapes in the U.S. and around the world.

One-third of our nation's 800 bird species are in steep decline, threatened or endangered, due to development, suburban sprawl and pesticides.

Fireflies, butterflies, newts and salamanders are likewise in decline.

You can help invite these creatures back home to America by restoring habitat on your property, or in a churchyard, schoolyard, hospital or office grounds. What habitat?

Songbirds, owls and overwintering birds need tree canopy and thickets, not merely a flat lawn. Planting hedgerows and islands of trees, shrubs and blooming plants offers nesting songbirds shelter from cats, raccoons and bluejays, while feeding pollinators and providing firefly perches.

Provide this kind of living shelter and watch your land come back to life a musical sound and light show!

Keep Those Autumn Leaves!

Trees, shrubs, wildflowers and future crops need topsoil restored by organic matter. Sending grass clippings and leaves off to a landfill means throwing away the valuable food of nature.

Songbirds and fireflies also need this humus. Fireflies begin life as glowworms, in damp, humus-like terrain, not lawn. (

Songbirds, meanwhile, scratch through mulch, humus and decaying organic matter and logs for grubs and worms.

For tips on National Wildlife Federation's "Backyard Habitat" program and certification, visit


Your River Begins At Home

The care of rivers is not a matter of rivers, but of the human heart.
-Tenaka Shozo

Do you know your watershed address? Your home town, driveway, lawn and kitchen sink drain into a creek, a river, and eventually the ocean. The New River flows north to join the Ohio, then the south-flowing Mississippi, then the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, more easterly rivers in Virginia drain into the Chesapeake Bay.

All of these inland waters carry construction silt, lawn fertilizer, herbacides, motor oils from parking lots and roads, cigarette butts, trash, and household or carwash detergents into both Gulf and Bay. This toxic soup is great for harmful algae-growth but bad for fish, crabs and oysters, as algae depletes water oxygen and kills the aquatic life below, creating expanding "dead zones."

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is tackling this enormous problem in mid-Atlantic communities, but restoring the Gulf and the Bay requires a change in everyone's inland habits.

  • Reduce the lawn. Less fossil-fuel waste, healthier local water table. Trees, shrubs, wildflowers and rain gardens absorb vast amounts of stormwater, keeping this priceless rain in your local, underground water table, instead of sending flash floods into street gutters, rivers and an ocean that doesn't need this stormwater. Meanwhile, lawn fertilizer runoff is the biggest, cumulative cause of algae-growth in both Gulf and Bay.
  • Go non-toxic. Remember that car-washes, laundry detergents and household chemicals usually end up in our creeks, rivers and oceans. If you wouldn't want to swim in it, don't send that chemical down the drain or into the street. Downstream, someone will swim in it.
  • For ways to protect the New River, in its ancient path from North Carolina north to West Virginia, visit National Committee for New River,
  • To help with the vital protection of the Chesapeake Bay, visit Chesapeake Bay Foundation at