by Keli Ratcliffe

There’s a reason Giles County is known as Virginia’s Mountain Playground.

Giles abounds with natural beauty and splendor. Located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountain region, it boasts hiking trails, two Appalachian Trail Communities, creeks, springs, waterfalls, and unparalleled vistas. And resting at the foot of those great mountains, 37 miles of the New River snakes its way through the County’s magnificent valleys.

Boat RampThis elegant river, one of the five oldest in the world, lazily and sometimes not so lazily, weaves its way north into West Virginia. And people flock to it. Whether it be to fish, swim, float, paddle, or troll, folks can’t seem to get enough of the New.

And it’s not just the locals. More and more people have been visiting the County and enjoying the river, and those visitors are a major economic driver for Giles. In fact, Giles County has shown the largest increase in tourism spending throughout Southwest Virginia.

In an effort to capitalize on the growing popularity of the river, the New River Water Trail was formed.

The trail attracts outdoor enthusiasts, and uniquely promotes other assets within the County. The trail website and maps make information easily accessible to the increasing number of tourists, and encourage visitors to explore various attractions, outfitters, and dining options.

New RiverAnother important element of the trail is river access. Currently the trail boasts over a dozen access points, and recently Anderson & Associates assisted the County and the Town of Pearisburg with improving an existing boat ramp in Bluff City, and designing a new access point at Whitt Riverbend Park.

Last month, the County celebrated the newest boat ramp with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Along with local government representatives, Secretary of Natural Resources, Molly Joseph Ward attended and announced that the boat landing had been named a “Virginia Treasure” by Governor McAuliffe. The Virginia Treasure program began in 2015, and consists of 1,000 treasures within the Commonwealth. The program prioritizes Virginia’s conservation efforts, and protects important lands like wetlands and properties harboring endangered species, as well as boat landings and swimming beaches.

As a Giles county native who is proud to call this beautiful place home, I can attest that the entire County truly is a treasure. So visit Giles and paddle north on the New. Just don’t be surprised if you fall in love.

Share This