By Aila Boyd
The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a memorandum of understanding with Rockbridge Regional Tourism, which supports tourism in Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge County, for the Upper James River Water Trail at its June meeting.
The memorandum serves as a formal agreement, solidifying the county’s co-management of the trail’s promotions and marketing strategies and defines how the county funds the project. The county noted that it has partnered with Rockbridge Regional Tourism for several years now on the project.
The trail, which is a small boat and paddling route, was created by the county in order to encourage residents and visitors to experience the scenery and history of the James River. According to the trail’s website, water trails “combine recreation and environmental awareness while linking communities and land-based attractions such as historic site and parks.”
In order to print maps and brochures and update the trail’s website, the county has budgeted $10,000 annually for the project. The funds are part of the Department of Economic Development’s budget.
The memorandum notes that Rockbridge Regional Tourism is committed to contributing an equal amount of marketing funding.
The memorandum requires that both the county and Rockbridge Regional Tourism meet annually with relevant stakeholders, including river outfitters and regional tourism agencies, to coordinate marketing efforts and funding requests.
If either the county or Rockbridge Regional Tourism decide to terminate the memorandum, they have to provide written notice no later than October 31 of the subsequent fiscal year.
The Upper James River Water Trail website can be accessed at https://upperjamesriverwatertrail.com/