Virginia’s Rapidan Chapter
Virginia’s Rapidan Chapter #307 of Trout Unlimited first chartered in 1976, now has over 300 members who are dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring Virginia’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. (More History coming…) The Chapter members volunteer their time and labor in supporting hands-on (boots on the ground – rock rolling) preservation and restoration projects, serve as advocates for, and fostering education efforts regarding conservation i.e.TU National’s Trout-in-the-Classroom efforts, as well as sharing facts about the impacts of drought, pollution, acid rain, etc. on water-based ecosystems to their local and State community representatives.
Rapidan Chapter is one of seventeen other statewide TU Chapters under the leadership of the Virginia Council Trout Unlimited organization whose combined membership is approximately 4,000 volunteers statewide. Rapidan, and the other Chapters, along with the Virginia Council Trout Unlimited, support the Trout Unlimited National organization’s creed, interest and efforts. For more information about Rapidan Chapter Trout Unlimited and to get involved, visit www.rapidantu.org
Rapidan TU’s Kid’s Day – The Rapidan Chapter of Trout Unlimited was the first chapter in Virginia to host a kid’s fishing day. It is nearly as old as the chapter itself dating back into the 1980s. Since its inception this special day which allows for children 12 and under to catch their limit of fish without competing with any adults. This very special arrangement has been between Rapidan Chapter TU, Virgina Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) who stocks the fish, and Jimmy Graves, owner of Graves Mt Lodge who donates the use of his section of the Rose River. Most years it has been held on the Rose River but for a couple of years it was moved to the neighboring section of the Robinson River.
In recent years, after VDGIF began a new program called Heritage Day, we partners met and decided to incorporate the Kid’s Day into a Heritage Day program at Graves Mt Lodge. So now Rapidan Chapter of TU handles the fishing and fresh water aspects of the day by providing fishing for 12 and under, but also staffs volunteers at the catch and release pond fishing for older kids and a few adults. The whole event has been converted to a family day with activities for all. Rapidan Chapter also teaches fly casting, entomology (bugs that trout eat), fly tying, conservation, and we have members who assist the youngsters both at the stream and on the pond. It has proven to draw bigger crowds, and it has become much more educational, as Heritage Day exposes families to archery, hunting, turkey calling, shooting (using a deer hunting simulator), and also has a wagon ride through a country farm. The Graves Family offers a variety of hot foods for sale so that folks can come and make a day of it. This event is always conducted on the first Saturday of April.
Staffing for our kid’s day event totals about 20 Rapidan Chapter TU volunteers. The event also provides us the opportunity to have an information table where we engage people in learning about TU, and our goals and activities – all in the comfort of an indoor facility provided by the Graves Family. Changing the Kid’s Day to make it a function of Heritage Day has been a win-win situation for all involved in the partnership.
Tri-State Kids Camp…
Special Love Camp…
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