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Paddling Convoy to Celebrate Preservation of James River Island

Calling all paddlers and conservationists! The Central Virginia Land Conservancy (CVALC) is organizing a convoy of canoeists and kayakers on May 23, 2024 at 9:00 am  to celebrate the preservation of Bald Eagle Island in Amherst County. A Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance ribbon-cutting will be held on the island to mark the transfer of the land from the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation (GLCF) to CVALC who will preserve it in its natural and undisturbed state.

Nestled underneath a rugged cliff-face, scenic Bald Eagle Island is home to a rich variety of plants and wildlife. Wildflowers bloom under the forested canopy and otters are occasionally spotted at the water’s edge.

The island was donated to the Blackwater Creek Association in 2002 by Mr. Tucker Carrington, formerly of Lynchburg, to be used as an outdoor classroom by members of the Boy Scouts of America (specifically Venturing Crew #1776, which was chartered by the Blackwater Creek Association). After Venturing Crew #1776 and the Blackwater Creek Association disbanded, the island was conveyed to the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation.

“Mr.  Carrington wanted Bald Eagle Island to be a place where people experience and appreciate our area’s natural resources,” said Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation President & CEO Kathryn Yarzebinski. “The GLCF honored Mr. Carrington’s wishes, and I am pleased that we were able to transfer the property to an organization that is dedicated to conservation and education.”

Taking ownership of Bald Eagle Island marks a new chapter for the Central Virginia Land Conservancy, which was founded in 2003. The organization works primarily through conservation easements on private lands across five counties and the City of Lynchburg. Presently, CVALC protects roughly 5,900 acres of farms, forests, and wildlife habitat across Central Virginia.

Wendy Kendrick, one of CVALC’s founders and Amherst County resident remarked, “This is an exciting milestone for our group and a wonderful opportunity to protect important wildlife habitat and scenic views along the James River in perpetuity. We want to make sure that 100 years from now, anyone traveling down the river will be able to enjoy it just as we are today.”

Founded in 1972, the Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation works to solve our community’s greatest challenges by providing grants and scholarships, and by helping individuals, families, and organizations create their charitable legacy.

“The GLCF specializes in legacy,” said Ms. Yarzebinski. “We make sure our donors’ wishes are followed in perpetuity. This partnership with CVALC exemplifies how we honor donor intent across many years, and also how we strive to connect donors with local nonprofits that are improving our community.”

The conservation convoy will depart Monacan Park at 9:00 am on May 23, traveling 1.5 miles upstream to Bald Eagle Island for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, before returning downstream (3 mile round trip). Parking will be at Monacan Park with additional overflow parking at Elon Presbyterian Church and a shuttle service to the park. Participants are encouraged to arrive 20 to 30 minutes early to have time to drop off boats and gear.

This flatwater section of the James River is impounded by dams and has very little current. The convoy is appropriate for beginner and experienced paddlers with their own boats and gear – no rentals or loaner equipment will be available.

Anyone wishing to participate should register at For questions or additional details about the event, contact Kyle Simpson with the Central Virginia Land Conservancy at [email protected] or 434-942-4320.

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