On January 1, Virginia’s Great Valley Lewis & Clark Eastern Legacy Trail (VGV-LCELT) began its seventh year.
In late 2014, the VGV-LCELT Committee suspected that the National Park Service (NPS) would not recommend Congressional approval of the Virginia Trail as part of an extension of the existing National Lewis & Clark Trail. The committee turned to Del. Terry Austin for help and the committee got it.
Over three months, House Joint Resolution 566 was crafted and approved with 50 signatures from Virginia legislators and The Virginia Lewis & Clark Eastern Legacy Trail became official in February 2015.
With that legislated act, the project quickly grew to include numerous counties and related independent cities. It now extends about 260 miles through southwest Virginia, from Washington County to Albemarle County.
Volunteers have been organizing throughout these communities and are currently working to document Lewis & Clark connections, and the committee has announced what it considers exciting results to date. They include:
- Recent revelations that the explorers traveled and visited well beyond previously known locations in Virginia.
- New information about an expedition member, last name Werner, who later returned to Montgomery County, where he lived, worked and died.
- The possible discovery in Pulaski of “Weldon,” home of William Preston Jr. (Billy) and his wife Caroline Hancock Preston, where Clark visited during Virginia travels.
This project is a grassroots volunteer effort. A new Trail Implementation Committee (TIC) has been formed with representatives from Albemarle, Botetourt, Montgomery, Pulaski and Washington Counties and the City of Salem. This Committee is working on a number of tasks to help insure a highly successful trail completion.
“The Eastern Legacy Trail should be a tremendous asset to Botetourt County and the State of Virginia in preserving our Lewis and Clark legacy and promoting tourism,” the announcement from the committee says.
The trail initiative has enjoyed and appreciates the support and assistance of 10 counties and approximately 10 cities along the trail route, as well as the interest and guidance of the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, according to the committee announcement.
For more information regarding Botetourt County’s involvement with this project, contact Kip Burton, Chair, Botetourt Lewis & Clark Eastern Legacy Trail Committee at540-239-3184.
For questions about the statewide effort, contact Peggy W. Crosson, Chair, Virginia’s Great Valley Lewis & Clark Eastern Legacy Trail at 540-354-9698.