The Friends of Claytor Lake had its annual Christmas Party for Board Members and Partners at MK’s Gourmet Pizzaria. Some special guest include AEP’s Liz Parcell and Frank Simms, as well as Lee and Judy Smith from Pulaski County’s Toys for Tots program. Bill Cunningham recognized former Board Member Mike Spraker who helped create the organization over 20 years ago.
WDBJ7’s Orlando Salinas reports about FOCL’s efforts to help educate their supporters about upcoming weather events and the changes in water flow and levels of the New River to prevent homeowners from losing their boats, docks, sea doos, and other property as they did in January and July of this year.
Saturday, October 21: The National Committee for the New River held its 6th annual New River Trail 50K run. The event takes place in Fries, VA and runs along a 31 mile stretch of the majestic New River Trail. This year our own Executive Director Jeff Caldwell ran the race raising money for NCNR, FOCL, and his own personal charity The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Jeff placed 94th out of 128 with a finishing time of 6:00:11.
Jeff would like to thank everyone for their support and donations for this event as he raised over $670 for the 3 organizations.
Chris Meade – Bob & Polly Caldwell
Dana & Mike Spraker – John Copeland – Stacey Duncan
Bob & Cheri Strenz – Jeff Arnold & Laura Walters
Mike & Mary Johnston – James Clay
Lisa & George Harvey – Michael Burke
Bill & Roxanne Greever
The New River Valley Fairgrounds played host to Pulaski County elementary students for its annual 4H Agriculture Day. Scores of elementary students navigated through 14 stations educating them on everything from farming to pollution. FOCL board member Cheri Strenz talked to the kids about safety on the water, proper life jacket size, and keeping Claytor Lake clean. The day was a great way FOCL could teach young kids how to be safe and aware on the waters of Claytor Lake.
As the morning fog lifted off the water at the Claytor Lake State Park, around 230 people got ready to compete in the 3rd Annual Claytor Lake Triathlon (www.claytorlaketriathlon.com) organized by The Bike Barn, Pulaski Bikes, and Tri-Adventure Sports. This year The Friends of Claytor Lake’s Executive Director, Jeff Caldwell, made a change and recruited his daughter Tori and FOCL Board of Director Jeff Arnold to form their relay team for this year’s triathlon. While proceeds from this event are donated to FOCL, FOCL supporters also chipped in to help sponsor the team raising additional money to support the programs and events surrounding Claytor Lake.
The team had a respectable first race finish of 6th overall among relay teams and 4th in the mixed relay category posting a finishing time of 1:16:32. Tori Ramsey completed the 500m swim leg and tagging Jeff Arnold who, on the only recumbent bike in the race, took off on a 12.5 mile trek out to Newbern, VA and back and tagging Jeff Caldwell who finished the race with a 5k run using trails throughout the state park.
It was a great morning and great event and FOCL’s relay team who vows to return next year and improve their rankings while raising money for the wonderful programs The Friends of Claytor Lake have to keep our lake beautiful.
As summer unfortunately starts to wind down and we are turning the corner on things like school, football season, and other activities. The Friends of Claytor Lake put on their famous Pancake Breakfast at FATZ in Dublin to benefit our lake clean up and other programs. Over 200 people showed up to talk about Claytor Lake and get information from FOCL’s board members who were their servers for the morning. It was a great time and always a great event. Special thanks to FATZ and their manager Brooke Thompson for putting up with this crew for the morning!
Mother nature wasn’t in the best of her moods, none the less, the 2013 Rock House Poker Run got kicked off in its usual fashion. With plenty of fishermen, plenty of friends, and plenty of good times all to support The Rock House, the Bud Foster Lunch Pail Defense Foundation, and The Friends of Claytor Lake, Conrad Brother’s Marina, and Cole Chevrolet.
Tonight the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors agreed to a proposal put together by Pulaski County Administration, The Friends of Claytor Lake, and AEP to upgrade FOCL’s currently outdated and damaged clean up equipment. The proposal includes 2 new barge sections that will be connected and used as one, along with an excavator equipped to reach into the water and remove debris. This new program is expected to make considerable changes in clean up efficiency as well as significantly reduce potential hazards and injury to our crew.
On Saturday, June 22nd, FOCL received a copy of a letter from VDGIF stating they were not in favor of the navigational aids throughout Claytor Lake. The letter read “Considering the narrow channel in which the water markers will be placed, we believe this creates a greater potential for a hazard than the sand bars. We also believe that it is not in the best interest of Boating Safety to approve your request for navigational water makers.”
FOCL would like to thank everyone who weighed in on this subject and took the time to discuss options, concerns, and ideas regarding this plan.
Saturday June 22, FOCL’s 2013 Annual Meeting got underway with a beautiful morning at the Claytor Lake State Park. Jackson Beamer, Cheri Strenz, Mike Burchett, Bill Cunningham, and Mike Hoffman were re-elected to the Board of Directors as well as Buddy Johnston, Ted Bostic, and Darryl Sarver were elected as new Board of Director members to FOCL.
Our Keynote Speaker Executive Director George Santucci from the National Committee for the New River www.ncnr.org talked about the ongoing efforts to preserve the New River and praised FOCL for their efforts and programs to protect the 21 mile stretch of the New River that is Claytor Lake. George reiterated Cheri Strenz’ comments that in today’s day and age, finding funding for support of programs has become much harder and that every organization should stay in constant contact with its supporters and community.
The 2013 Claytor Lake Festival looked gloomy early this morning as vendors were setting up their tents but then the skies opened up and the sun gave us a great day to be on Claytor Lake and at the Festival. Members of the Friends of Claytor Lake were there to greet thousands who attended the festival and educate them on our wonderful lake, events and programs, and even entertain the kids.
The 2nd annual Virginia Wounded Warrior Fishing Day in Pulaski County was held at Claytor Lake on Sunday.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), Virginia Wounded Warrior Program(VWWP), Virginia Bass Masters, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) partnered together to offer this event to 30 veterans.
The veterans represented every branch of service and served in conflicts from the WWII to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Friends of Claytor Lake helped provide food and setup along with support to the project and our veterans.
Today, the Friends of Claytor Lake hosted 8th graders from Dublin Middle School around Claytor Lake as well as educate them on boating safety tips. VDGIF Officers Troy Phillips & Gene Wirtz were on hand to teach kids about boating safety. Special thanks to Leigh Ann Brewster for organizing the event and to Conrad Brothers Marina, Dave Reynolds, Cheri Strenz, Laura Walters, and Jeff Arnold for providing the boats, drivers, and entertainment.
The FOCL Board of Directors voted tonight to write a letter to VDGIF supporting the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors’ decision to oppose the Aids to Navigation Plan proposed in the Claytor Hydro relicensing project. Currently the plan, along with the Supervisors’ letter, is being forwarded to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for their review and decision. FOCL Board of Directors letter will be send to DGIF’s Tom Guess, Boating Safety Coordinator, on Wednesday.
Camp Powhatan played host to over 300 kids as the 4th Annual VDGIF Kid’s Fish Day got underway. Weather conditions were not the best for human activity but left the fish in a great mood to get caught by excited kids and their parents. Camp Powhatan is operated by the Blue Ridge Mountains Council of the Boy Scouts of America and located in Pulaski County close to the upper end of Claytor Lake.
Last night the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, citing mountains of emails and phone calls, voted to not approve the permit application by AEP to install 8 navigational aids in the Allisonia area of Claytor Lake. The 8 buoy option was created when strong opposition was raised against the original 14 buoys in the Little Wytheville area of the lake that also contained strobe lights. The Board of Supervisors commented that they have not heard from one person since January who was in favor of this plan. The County now forwards the plan, along with their disapproval, to VDGIF. VDGIF can still approve the buoys and also have the option of holding a public hearing to give citizens opportunity to express their opinion of this plan.
Today the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries on recommendations from the Claytor Lake Technical Advisory Committee released 1,500 grass carp into the lake to maintain a population level adequate for keeping the lake’s hyrdilla under control. Hydrilla, originally imported from Asia as aquarium vegitation, was believed to be introduced to the waterways in the United States in Florida in the 1960s. The invasive plant now spreads all the way into Canada and in recent years has become a major problem for residents and recreational users of Claytor Lake.
600 of these grass carp were tagged with anchor tags so that biologist from DGIF and Virginia Tech can study their patterns and use that data to determine how effective these carp are against the hydrilla. Approximately 1,000 grass carp were released at the Claytor Lake State Park with 400 of them being tagged and 500 were released off of Old Hurst Road at Lowman’s Ferry Bridge in the upper portion of the lake with around 100 of them tagged.
The Friends of Claytor Lake held its second Pancake Breakfast this morning at FATZ in Dublin to kick off the 2013 season on Claytor Lake. We had tons of wonderful guests who came out for a delicious breakfast and to show support for FOCL and our lake programs. Special thanks go out to Tracey Febro and Brooke Thompson, our wonderful FATZ managers and to FOCL members who came to help serve our guests.
Today the Navigational Aid Committee met to discuss additional locations for AEP initial installation of Navigational Markers on Claytor Lake. The committee consists of members of AEP, VDGIF, FOCL, Pulaski County, and other organizations. In January the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors met and requested AEP come back with an alternative plan to their initial 14 buoy “test” site along the area know as Little Wytheville. AEP devised two options for consideration for the Board of Supervisors. This meeting was requested by FOCL in order to fully understand the regulations and impact of these buoys and starting sites. During this time VDGIF reported that there exists no provision for “test” buoys and onced any buoy is installed, it will remain until AEP requests removal. Today the committee agreed to recommend option 3 to the Board of Supervisors. Option 3 consists of 8 buoys located in the Allisonia area of Claytor Lake just below the rapids of the New River.
This recommendation will be presented to the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors at their April 22 meeting. Meetings start at 7:00pm in the Pulaski County Administration building.
For more info, please got to:
Aids to Navigation.
“It’s the thought that counts” holds true for the 2013 Christmas for the Fishes project by VDGIF, VDCR, FOCL, and other agencies. Two weather related delays pushed the normally January held event to a Valentine’s Day send off for over 160 recycled Christmas trees that were fastened and sunk off the shores of Claytor Lake to help build reef habitats for the lakes fish in 3 designated reef sites around Claytor Lake State Park.
Claytor Lake State Park manager Chris Doss, along with Matt Wright, brought a formidable team including Brody Havens, Eddie LaRue, John Jackson, Keith Rutledge, Coy Smith, Regenia Walls, Jessie Whittaker, and Chris Woodyard.
Special thanks to Patrick Lloyd from Chandler Concrete Products in Christiansburg provided cull block for this project.