Tireless James Cleanup Event & Fall Meeting This Saturday!

Message from JRBF Chairman Ralph Smith:
This is the final reminder/pep talk regarding the James River Association Tireless James Cleanup and the JRBF Fall Meeting.
The tireless James Cleanup is this Saturday September 13th,  beginning at Wingina at 8:00AM and will go to Howardsville.  At this point I have no real idea what to expect, but realistically I would hope for 4-5 Batteaux and a group of canoeists.  I’d really like to see us make a significant difference in the James by getting these tires out and as the saying goes – many hands make light work!!!!  So please join in this worthwhile event if there is any way possible.
The JRBF Fall Meeting will be held in Howardsville at 5:00 PM and will include a pot luck dinner.  I encourage everyone to come to the meeting regardless of if you’re participating in the cleanup.  It’s a social event but also important that we discuss the upcoming 30th Annual JRBF in 2015. 
Remember that if you want to camp in Howardsville, we are welcome to do that.  Also some of us are heading from Howardsville to Scottsville on Sunday so consider bringing a boat and enjoying what is the favorite stretch of the river for many of us.
As always Mother Nature has a way of throwing a curve ball to any plans for outside activities.  This may be the case this weekend and it is predicted to be cooler and potentially rain – the up side to this is we won’t have to worry about heat stroke!!!!!
See you Sat. hopefully.
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    JRBF Announcement – Tireless James & Fall Meeting & 2015 Festival Dates – Message from JRBF Chairman Ralph Smith:

    On Aug 12, 2014 10:02 AM, “Ralph Smith” <ralph@hipeak.com> wrote:

    Good Am,
    Want to bring everyone up to speed on a couple of batteau items.
    First, the date of the 2015 James River Batteau Festival (30th Annual!!!!!) is Saturday June 20th to Saturday June 27th.  You’ll want to mark your calendars and note that because father’s day in 2015 is the latest it can be, then the batteau festival is also later in the month than last year for example.  So everyone’s on the same page moving forward, the JRBF will always start the Saturday of Father’s Day Weekend.
    Tireless James – Saturday September 13th - As we’ve been discussing, the JRBF is working with the James River Association on this worthwhile project to get tires out of the James.  Although the cleanup emcompasses the entire James River, the Batteaux will concentrate on the section between Wingina and Howardsville this year.  Because of the length of this stretch (over double the Dixon Landing to Wingina done in 2013) we’ll need to get an early start.  (as we get closer to the event depending on water level etc. it’s possible we’ll suggest starting at the Game Commission Ramp about 2 miles below Wingina)
    I am hopeful that we’ll have a good number of batteaux (5 or more???) participate along with canoeists and kayakers.  It would be great to get 1000 tires out of the river in that stretch and if conditions are right and we get good participation from the batteaux it’s certainly a realistic goal.  If you don’t have a batteaux and still want to participate I encourage you to get your canoe/kayak and join us.  The way it’s worked in the past is that the canoeists get a tire or two into their canoe and then bring them and unload them at the batteau allowing them room to get others.
    If you would rather work another stretch of the James that’s fine also.  Last year we had at least 1 batteau which did a stretch different from where the rest of us concentrated.  You can sign up as a batteau/canoe/kayak for a different stretch by going to the James River Association website.
    Fall Meeting - Saturday, September 13th. This year we’ve combined our annual JRBF fall meeting (normally held first weekend in Nov) with the Tireless James cleanup to hopefully bolster participation in both events.  We’ll be meeting at Howardsville again this  year with the meeting itself being held at 5:00 PM, after the batteaux arrive in Howardsville.  Again this year we’ll be having a pot luck dinner with the JRBF providing the main dish, if you can bring sides/drinks/desserts etc. it would be great.  Bring ideas to the meeting for the celebration of our 30th year of enjoying the James River and the Batteau Era.  Jimmy Crews has welcomed us to camp at Howardsville Friday night and Saturday night if that fits into  your plans.
    Hope to see you all in about a month.
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      2014 James River Batteau Festival Map and Brochure available for download.


      Click the above photo of the map to download a pdf file that you can print out as you wish. (Note: Legal size paper fits this document without reducing the print size.)


      Click the above photo of the brochure to download a pdf file that you can print out as you wish. (Note: when printing on legal size paper, choose the “fit to printable area” option before printing, which will reduce the image size slightly but allow you to print on most printers).

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        Annual Meeting a Success!

        The Annual Meeting turned out real nice. The tours and meetings and meals and fellowship were great.

        And The Tiller is off to the printer. It’s going to be great!

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          Members of the VC&NS were mailed proxy and registration forms last week.
          Anyone can attend the event, while only members may vote via proxy.

          Click here to download Proxy Voting form.

          Click here to download 2014 VC&NS Conference Registration Form.

          Please note that a registration form must be mailed to Philip de Vos at the address on the registration form whether you pay via check or online via PayPal, Credit or Debit card.

          Click here to go to the VC&NS online store for payment options.


          The Paxton House, located in Buena Vista, Virginia.

          The Paxton House, located in, Buena Vista, Virginia.

          The 2014  VC&NS Annual Meeting & Canal Conference
          is scheduled for April 25-27, 2014 at the Glen Maury Park
          In Buena Vista, Virginia at the Paxton House.

          The batteau "Slate River" passes by a beautiful stone lock on the Maury River, Spring 2013.

          The batteau “Slate River” passes beautiful Spiller Guard Lock on the Maury River, Spring 2013.


          Virginia’s canal preservation organization, the Virginia Canals & Navigations society sets Annual Conference, an exciting weekend on the Maury River with a wide variety of activities open to the public

          A very memorable conference is just ahead April 25-27 2014.  Don’t miss this opportunity to visit the most concentrated display of  “canal works of art” in the Old Dominion.

          We’ll begin with an archaeological dig on VMI Island conducted by W&L.  This was a busy port beginning with the batteau era, known as Jordan’s Point.  Students will be uncovering artifacts from the nineteenth century industry foundations there.  Later eat hearty at a nearby restaurant, then attend our informative discussion on Virginia’s Scenic Rivers and Water Trails Friday evening.

          Saturday We’ll raft the Maury below Lexington on our way to Buena Vista, stopping to study the impressive locks of the “North River Navigation” along the way.   That night the exquisite Paxton House hosts our banquet and related activities.  Built by farmer, businessman and batteau captain Elisha Paxton;  and boyhood home of General Elisha F. “Bull” Paxton it has great historic significance.   We’re also fortunate to have the convenient camping facilities of Glen Maury Park.

          The Batteau "Slate River" running a rapid on the Maury River, Spring 2013.

          The Batteau “Slate River” passes Goose Neck Dam on the Maury River, Spring 2013.

          On Sunday, river permitting, we hope to follow the progress of batteau “Slate River” on the white waters below Buena Vista; enjoying the splendid locks along River road.  Otherwise we’ll have a more leisurely tour of canal treasures with a stop in Glasgow for the Frank Padget monument, Glasgow’s new park and the overlook of Balcony Falls.

          Planning continues, with updates to be posted here.   Don’t miss the Maury in 2014!

          And yes, your assistance will be appreciated,  Contact Philip de Vos at <phipfox@mail.com>.

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            VC&NS Annual Meeting a big success.

            The Annual Meeting of the VC&NS was held April 27th, 2013. The photos above are from Sat. Night.

            More information to come on this event.

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              Marshall Expedition DVD available on the VC&NS online store

              The Marshall Expedition DVD

              The Marshall Expedition DVD

              The Marshall Expedition DVD is now available on our online store. The price is $20 plus tax and shipping. This is a must have. We have a limited quantity of 10 copies to start and will order more if we run out.

              Members don’t forget to ask for your 20% off discount code. If you just got your Tiller in the mail it is printed on the green paper for the Member bring in a Member special.

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                Canal Walk Trail video from Richmond Downtown to Maymont

                I found a nice video online of someone jogging from downtown Richmond up to Maymont  Park. The video is a little choppy but it’s worth taking a look at. Enjoy.


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                  VC&NS “Home Fund” Established

                  After 35 successful years as a nonprofit organization researching, educating, and advocating for Virginia canals, batteaux and other historic watercraft, the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society is ready to settle down and display Virginia’s rich cultural waterway heritage. As the only nonprofit organization in Virginia specializing specifically in the historic river highways that helped found our great nation,  (a once forgotten segment of history), VC&NS is uniquely positioned to create a museum of cultural waterway heritage of commonwealth and national interest. Throughout our 35 years, members have been collecting archives, artifacts and memorabilia of canal and river heritage and building navigable reproductions. It’s time to gather and share them with the public while also creating a much overdue VC&NS work place.

                  The VC&NS Board of Governors at their December 1, 2012 meeting launched a fund drive for the purpose of establishing a VC&NS home with space for meetings, workshops, archives, library and museum.  We have begun the work of creating a funding plan, and needs assessment and exploring location possibilities.  Already we are receiving offers from communities that are interested in working with us! If you would like to assist our “Home” committee, please contact Ellen Neal, (434) 263-4745 or Philip deVos, (434) 299-5249.

                  All donations to this temporarily restricted fund will be set aside for the express purpose of establishing a VC&NS home and if no home is established by December 1, 2017 (5 years from establishment date) then the VC&NS board of governors reserves the right to reevaluate and possibly reallocate the money towards the VC&NS general fund.

                  Donate now to help VC&NS establish our “Home”. VC&NS is a 501 (c) (3) organization. Your donation to this fund is 100% tax deductible.

                  Please send donations via usps to: VC&NS, c/o “Home Fund”, PO Box 62, Covesville, VA 22931-0062. Please write “Home Fund” on the for line of your check. You will be mailed a receipt for your tax deductible donation.

                  We appreciate your donation via check as that saves us transactions fees that are charged by PayPal. However, if you would like to donate and use your credit card, we accept donations via PayPal. You can use your credit card or PayPal account. Select the “Donate Now” button below. Thank you.

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                    Marshall Expedition – Film Showing in Lynchburg a huge success!

                    Photos by Doug Berry

                    The first public showing of the documentary film about the Marshall expedition was held at “Mason’s Field”, overlooking the James River in sight of Rusen’s Dam on November 10th, 2012.

                    Upon arriving around 7:00 for the 7:30 showing, my friend Doug Berry and I walked over towards a huge bonfire that lit up the night sky. I saw batteau friends everwhere. The chili was very good and visiting with many people before the showing was lots of fun. Doug Berry, a photographer from Chester, VA took photos for the night which gave me a break from that for a change.

                    The film was shown on a large sheet with a nice projector and sound system. Chairs were lined up before we got there and when the time came the large crowd sat down to watch the film with much anticipation.

                    Andrew Shaw introduced the film and you could hear many cheers and whoa’s and laughter from the crowd. Andrew said it was his first time seeing the film. I really enjoyed every minute of the showing.

                    Afterwards the crew of the Marshall Expedition stood up in front of the crowd and spoke one by one telling tales and blaming everything that happened on the trip on Isaac. Tales of funny things that happened, favorite foods and all sorts of things were discussed. All of the crew said this was a trip they would remember the rest of their lives.

                    People remained and gathered around the fire to keep warm as it was starting to get kind of cold out there after a while. What a fantastic evening spent with good friends.

                    Holt Messerly
                    VC&NS Trustee/Webmaster/Tiller Editor

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