An Unusual Holiday Gift
Even for a land trust, it isn’t every day someone offers you a gift of an island, let alone three. In December 2018, Joan Cowan donated Grape Island, Hyde Island, and Watson Glenn Island in the Appomattox River in southern Chesterfield County to CRLC. In working with both Chesterfield County and Friends of the Lower Appomattox (FOLAR), CRLC was able to plan for the islands’ future. The plan follows the Appomattox River Trail master plan FOLAR drafted in 2017.
The cluster of small, forested isles lies down river from Brasfield Dam and the Lake Chesdin Reservoir, in a section of the Appomattox state scenic river. The islands are also visible from the Lower Appomattox River Trail System and the John J. Radcliffe Conservation Area. The protection of these islands therefore has great scenic value for visitors on the water as well as those who may never step foot on or paddle by the islands.
It is Mrs. Cowan’s wish that the islands be available to the public for their own respite and enjoyment without damage to their natural resources and no hunting of the resident wildlife. Though the islands will not be open to the public during the time they are in CRLC’s ownership, CRLC is working to transfer them to Chesterfield County’s Department of Parks and Recreation so future recreationists will be free to make any of the islands a stop on their excursions through a section of the river notable for its sense of wildness and remoteness.