More Coal Plant Retirements on the Horizon?

first_imgMore Coal Plant Retirements on the Horizon? FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mark Watson for Platts Megawatt Daily:Even in places with abundant supply and demand, natural gas generation is trading hands at values well below the cost of a new build, attendees of the Gulf Coast Power Association’s Spring Conference in Houston learned Tuesday.In a session about oil and gas market fundamentals, Neel Mitra, Tudor Pickering Holt director for power and utilities, said his organization estimates the cost of building new natural gas combined-cycle generation at about $1,000/kW.The Ironwood combined-cycle gas turbine generator in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, sold recently for about $900/kW, Mitra said, but “that’s a very high marketer for combined-cycle gas generation,” reflecting the fact that it has ready access to fuel from the Marcellus Shale and can feed into a robust transmission system in the PJM Interconnection.In other markets, such assets sell in the range of $400 to $500/kW, he said, and in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the values range from $300 to $350/kW, he said.The reason is that in most merchant markets, natural gas-fired generation is the marginal type of generation and gas prices have been quite low, he said.“If there’s going to be incremental gas capacity added, it’s going to be in the regulated regions,” Mitra said.The nation’s coal-fired generation fleet has decreased by about 50 GW over the past few years because of low-cost gas generation and increased environmental regulation, but that fleet may shrink by another 10 GW in 2016-2017, “mostly in the state of Pennsylvania,” Mitra said.“There have been a lot of new combined-cycle plants built on top of the Marcellus, and those coal plants can’t compete with $1/MMBtu gas, with the regional basis,” he said.For the next few years, Mitra said he expects natural gas prices at the Henry Hub to range from about $2/MMBtu to about $3.25/MMBtu.“We believe $2 is where you start to see switching,” Mitra said.At current gas prices, Mitra said his organization thinks only one Texas coal-fired plant is covering its fixed costs.Some Texas-based coal fired generation has benefited by declining rail freight costs from the range of $25-$30/mt to about $15-$20/mt, he said.Full article: Natural gas generation bringing below-cost values: analyst $last_img read more

An Anticompetitive Trade Case

first_imgAn Anticompetitive Trade Case FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Daily Signal (Heritage Foundation):An expansive trade case has simmered on the back burner since April 2017 and is now finally on its way to President Donald Trump’s desk for a decision by Jan. 26.The case involves two failing manufacturing companies—Suniva and SolarWorld—which have petitioned the government for globally applicable tariffs on inexpensive imports of solar cells and panels.Organzations across the political spectrum, including the Solar Energy Industries Association, have made the case for why the requested tariffs would be harmful for the solar industry writ large.Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can’t be done alone. Find out Here are a few reasons why rejecting the request for sweeping tariffs would be consistent with Trump’s campaign trail ideals and policy vision for energy dominance. Innovation.There is almost no better way to fossilize an industry than by guaranteeing prices and knocking out the competitors of a select few companies. The only innovation that this spurs is creative ways to lobby the government for new ways to interfere in energy markets.Government intervention akin to what Suniva and SolarWorld have requested distorts the incentives that drive companies to find new technological solutions, reduce costs, adapt to changing markets, and develop successful business models.”Such intervention would also punish competitive American solar companies in order to keep two failing ones afloat. Refusing new tariffs on solar imports allows the best parts of the solar industry to rise to the top. Competitiveness.Trump should protect competition, not specific competitors. The solar industry in America can provide customers the best, most affordable service to Americans when it is able to access components from the most competitive companies around the globe.The proposed tariffs block this access. In essence, they are a massive regulatory subsidy for Suniva and SolarWorld—at the expense of the rest of the solar industry.Rather than let the market reward successful companies and technologies, tilting the playing field only breeds competition for more government intervention. Healthy job market.Suniva and SolarWorld argue that global tariffs are essential to their survival and will create thousands of jobs. Using the force of government to eliminate a company’s competitors will almost certainly preserve those company jobs.But Trump needs to take a wider view of solar energy jobs. George Hershman, president of Swinerton Renewable Energy, a utility and commercial solar company, noted in a December press conference that in addition to the people he employs directly, Swinerton “purchased over $88 million in steel racking.”“One of our largest suppliers is Steel of West Virginia, located in Huntington, West Virginia, as well as Panelclaw, located in North Andover, Massachusetts. We spent $71 million on electrical equipment, like transformers made by Virginia Transformer of Roanoke, Virginia, and Construction Innovations in Sacramento, California.”There will be negative implications for the rest of the industry and the indirect jobs it creates if the administration bends over backward to shore up two failing companies. The federal government shouldn’t be the arbiter of whose job is more valuable.More: 3 Reasons Trump Should Pull the Plug on Solar Tariffslast_img read more

New air pollution regulations likely to trim coal use in China

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The major coal producing province of Shanxi in northern China will impose special emissions restrictions on big industrial sectors by October as part of its bid to curb smog, a local environmental official said.Shanxi, together with neighboring Shaanxi, is set to be included in China’s new three-year action plan to curb air pollution, with emissions in the two provinces second only to the smog-prone Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei industrial region. The province produces more than 900 million tons of coal a year, a quarter of China’s total, and is also a major gas and petrochemical producer.The new measures will force factories and boilers in the cities of Taiyuan, Yangquan, Changzhi and Jincheng to comply with new restrictions on sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, according to a document circulated by environmental groups.Firms in the thermal power, steel, petrochemical, chemical, non-ferrous metals and cement sectors will be forced to comply with as many as 25 new emissions standards by October. Coking coal producers will be given another year to make the necessary adjustments, the document said.China promised in January to impose “special emissions restrictions” on major industrial sectors in 28 cities in northern China, including the four in Shanxi. The 28 cities were all part of a special winter anti-smog campaign that began in October last year and imposed tough restrictions on traffic, coal consumption and industrial output.In its air quality plan for 2018, Shanxi promised to close down 22.4 million tonnes of annual coal capacity and 1.9 million tonnes of steel capacity this year. It will also create “no-coal zones” and convert thousands of coal-fired boilers to cleaner-burning gas.More: China’s coal province imposes special emission caps on industry New air pollution regulations likely to trim coal use in Chinalast_img read more

Gigawatt-sized Cultana Solar Farm takes shape in South Australia

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Billionaire UK industrialist Sanjeev Gupta has launched a $1bn, one-gigawatt renewable energy plan based in South Australia’s mid-north that he says will lead Australian industry’s transition to more competitive power.In the first of a number of projects slated for the upper Spencer Gulf region, which will also include a lithium-ion battery bigger than Elon Musk’s, Gupta’s energy company Simec Zen has released details of its Cultana Solar Farm.The project will produce 280 megawatts of power and feature 780,000 solar panels, generating enough electricity for 96,000 homes.Other projects in Gupta’s energy blueprint include the lithium-ion battery, expanded solar farms, a co-generation scheme to power his Whyalla steelworks using waste gas, and pumped hydro projects earmarked for the Middleback Ranges.Gupta said while coal and other fossil-fuels would play an important role in Australia’s energy transition, renewables offered the best future for energy‐intensive industries. “All of these projects will not only improve reliability and greatly reduce the cost of electricity in our own operations, they will also provide competitive sources of power for other industrial and commercial users, while at the same time playing a key role in the market’s transition towards renewables,” he said.“We have a strong conviction that traditional carbon‐intensive generation sources do not have a long‐term future as the predominant source of power in Australia and globally. We believe the world is undergoing a momentous transition to renewable power as the cost of renewables drops dramatically and quickly.”More: Sanjeev Gupta: $1bn South Australia renewable energy plan will mean cheaper power Gigawatt-sized Cultana Solar Farm takes shape in South Australialast_img read more

APS plans free solar installations for low-income customers

first_imgAPS plans free solar installations for low-income customers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Solar Builder Magazine:Arizona utility APS has launched a new program, APS Solar Communities, to make renewable energy more accessible. Designed specifically for limited- and moderate-income customers, APS Solar Communities approved participants agree to have a rooftop solar system installed at no cost. Customers then begin receiving a monthly $30 bill credit from APS while contributing to the company’s 50 percent clean-energy portfolio. APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is the Southwest’s foremost producer of clean, safe and reliable electricity.APS is collaborating with Arizona-based solar installers Arizona Solar Concepts, Discover Energy Solutions, Harmon Solar, Sunny Energy and Southface Solar on this program to put rooftop solar systems on qualifying customers’ residences. The systems will be maintained by APS – an approach modeled on the APS Solar Partner program and designed during the company’s 2016 rate review process. Participating single-family residential customers will receive $360 per year in monthly bill credits for 20 years, saving $7,200 per household during the life of the program. “Our customers, community and economy, deserve innovative energy programs, and that’s exactly what Solar Communities delivers,” said Marc Romito, APS Director of Customer Technology. “With an investment of $10 million to $15 million per year for the next three years, we look forward to seeing some of our customers, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to solar, receive the benefits of renewable energy.”The Solar Communities program will install solar systems on single-family houses with west- and southwest-facing roofs, which offer the greatest potential to generate energy during the late-afternoon and early-evening hours between 3 and 8 p.m. when customers use the most electricity.“The solar panels installed under this program will be facing southwest and west to produce energy when customers need it most,” said Kent Walter, APS Manager of Customer Technology. “This program also will help us conduct research on integrating more renewable energy without compromising reliability. Solar Communities creates an option for more customers to go solar, while generating new projects for our local installation partners bringing positives on many levels.”More: Arizona utility launches program to install solar on customer houses at no costlast_img read more

India’s largest oil refiner to invest $3.5 billion in renewable energy projects

first_imgIndia’s largest oil refiner to invest $3.5 billion in renewable energy projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Technica:Indian largest oil refiner and marketer is planning a large investment for a major push in renewable energy.According to media reports, Indian Oil Corporation plans to invest as much as Rs 25,000 crore (US$3.5 billion) over the next few years to set up wind, solar, and bio-fuel plants. The company is also looking to invest in alternate energy solutions.The company has an installed renewable energy capacity of 216 megawatts. The company did not share the exact details of how it plans to increase this installed capacity but did share some broad initiatives it is looking to implement or expand upon.One of those initiatives is the installation of solar power systems at Indian Oil’s fuel retail stations. The company has around 24,000 retailing stations. In 2015, we covered a story that the company was planning to install solar power systems at 10,000 of these stations. Indian Oil had announced a scheme offering a financial subsidy up to 50% for the fuel station owners to set up solar power systems, with and without battery storage. The company has reported that around 2,000 of these fuel stations have solar power systems installed.In the recent past, the company has also announced plans to set up large-scale solar power parks for self-consumption and to meet its renewable purchase obligation. Indian Oil, along with Oil India Corporation, had signed an agreement with the state government of Madhya Pradesh to develop solar power projects with a cumulative capacity of 2.7 gigawatts.More: India’s largest oil refiner plans $3.5 billion renewable energy investmentlast_img read more

Ørsted signs biggest-ever corporate deal for offshore windpower

first_imgØrsted signs biggest-ever corporate deal for offshore windpower FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:German high-tech materials specialist Covestro has signed a long-term deal to buy production from Ørsted’s planned Borkum Riffgrund 3 offshore wind project in the North Sea, in what is set to be the largest corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) to date in the fast-growing sector. Through the deal, Covestro will offtake 100MW of the wind farm’s total 900MW capacity at indexed fixed price over ten years, starting in 2025.Martin Neubert, CEO of Ørsted Offshore, said: “Our agreement with Covestro is the first tangible step to secure stable revenues for part of the power generated by Borkum Riffgrund 3 which will be built and operated without subsidies. At the same time, this corporate PPA shows that offshore wind can be a reliable source of green power delivering the large volumes required by energy-intensive industrial players. With this agreement, Ørsted and Covestro support the German energy transition and the continued build-out of renewable energy which is urgently needed to reduce carbon emissions in the German industrial sector.”Borkum Riffgrund 3, which is still awaiting a final investment decision, will be located next to the developer’s operational Borkum Riffgrund 1 and Borkum Riffgrund 2 projects.The wind farm, which will be built and operated without subsidies, is made up three offshore wind projects originally awarded in auctions in 2017 and 2018 under the names of Borkum Riffgrund West 1 (420MW), Borkum Riffgrund West 2 (240MW), and OWP West (240MW).Though corporate PPAs are common in onshore wind, the trend is only beginning to take off in the offshore sector, with Ørsted pioneering the concept in February via a ten-year deal with UK utility Northumbrian Water to offtake power from the 573MW Race Bank project off England.Web giant Google bought its first offshore wind power in September, adding 92MW-worth of output from the under-construction 370MW Norther wind farm in the Belgian North Sea under a deal with Engie. [Darius Snieckus]More: Biggest-ever offshore wind corporate power deal inked in Germanylast_img read more

Elkins, W.Va.

first_imgIllustration by Scott DuBarCompared to its wild surroundings, Elkins feels like a metropolis. The town of 8,000 is the gateway to Monongahela National Forest, an incomparable bounty of outdoor action.“It’s a small town, but it feels huge for this area,” says Joey Riddle, owner of Joey’s Bike Shop in downtown, who’s lived in Elkins for a decade.While Elkins is still relatively small, it’s quite culturally rich for its size. The town has one of the most well-known mountain music scenes in the country, anchored by the annual Augusta Heritage Festival, which brings in talented acts from around the world. Every fall the Mountain State Forest Festival also draws 100,000 people to the dense green Appalachian escape.“If you’re into the outdoors or music, this is the perfect place to live,” adds Riddle. “I know many people that have come for one or the other and ended up moving here. It makes for a diverse group of folks.”Outdoor PicksRide the Spruce Knob EpicTry the IMBA designated Epic Ride in the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. From the Spruce Knob Lake Campground, you’ll connect the Huckleberry, Judy Springs, Bear Hunter, and Allegheny Mountain Trails, as well as Forest Service Road 112 for an amazing spin down into dense spruce groves and up to huge scenic views. For an additional stash of technical singletrack, Riddle recommends Cheat Mountain’s 30-mile network of trails, 30 minutes south of town.Road RideFor a great road ride, Riddle sends cyclists off on a 50-mile mountain rollercoaster that includes the Allegheny Highlands Rail Trail and a handful of scenic one-lane country roads that tackles 4,000 feet of climbing with three ascents over Pheasant Mountain.Explore Otter CreekDay hikers and backpackers should explore the dense woods of the 21,000-acre Otter Creek Wilderness. The pristine valley cut by Otter Creek sits in a heavily vegetated bowl between McGowan Mountain and Shavers Mountain with 40 miles of trails.Climb SenecaLocal climbers take advantage of nearly 400 routes on the open faces and sharp ridges of nearby geological wonder Seneca Rocks, a collective rock formation that rises almost 900 feet straight above the North Fork River.Ski White GrassIn the winter, you can ski 50 kilometers of groomed trails at White Grass cross-country ski lodge in the nearby Canaan Valley. whitegrass.comPaddle Shavers ForkPaddlers should check out a 14-mile stretch of the Shavers Fork of the Cheat River from Bemis to Bowden, which is mostly flatwater through stunning scenic woods with a little class III-IV stretch thrown in for excitement.last_img read more

Race Ahead: Road Cycling

first_imgPhoto by Joe FoleyROAD CYCLINGAthens Twilight Criteriumathens, georgiaAPRIL 26-27, 2013Founded in 1980, the Athens Twilight was the first nighttime cycling race in the U.S. in more than 60 years. The race saw 40 riders that first year. It’s now the premier crit in the country, with eight separate race classes and 150 fast sprint cyclists. The course is a simple 1K rectangle through downtown Athens, lined with 30,000 fans cheering, drinking, and even heckling. Spectators are really close to the action. Cyclists are going 35 mph, right in front of you, and you get a sense for just how fast that is. It’s the fastest race they’ll ride all year. It’s also a rough and tumble sport. You’ve got 100 bike riders, inches apart, pushing each other. It’s like a NASCAR event. athenstwilight.comWintergreen Ascentroseland, virginiaAPRIL, 2013This classic hill climb begins at Devils Backbone Brewing Company and follows Hwy 664 as it ascends Wintergreen Mountain. There is no down. Only up. Here’s a number’s breakdown of this short, but tough race.6.75 miles—Distance up the mountain30 seconds—Intervals that riders are sent up the mountain in classic time-trial fashion. Pedal your heart out to catch the rider in front of you and stay ahead of the rider behind you.7.4 percent—Average grade incline from start to finish15 percent—Max grade during the course2,626 feet—Total elevation you’ll gainvacycling.orgAssault On Mount Mitchellspartanburg, south carolinaMAY 20, 2013The Assault may not be the toughest road race in the South, but it’s easily the most iconic. Is there any challenge more primal than trying to ride up the biggest mountain around? From 100 miles away? 750 riders accept this challenge every year, pedaling 102 miles from Spartanburg, S.C. to the top of Mount Mitchell, a route that takes in 10,350 feet of elevation gain. The first 75 miles are rolling, but the last 25 miles are packed with the most brutal climbs. freewheelers.infoJeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondoharrisonburg, virginiaSEPTEMBER 29, 2013It’s billed as the toughest gran fondo in America, 104 miles of Virginia and West Virginia back roads with 11,000 feet of climbing and two gravel roads. “I’ve been training on the route for almost a decade. It’s a ball buster, for sure. It’s one of the hardest training rides I’ll do,” says founder Jeremiah Bishop. “It’ll find the limit of most people, but still allow them to enjoy a beer afterwards. Start in the city of Harrisonburg, then ride through the agricultural bread basket of Virginia and into the national forest in West Virginia. Sheep cling to the sides of the mountains, there are open meadows on peaks…it’s like riding in Switzerland. “It harkens back to an era when people who rode road bikes weren’t soft men who shaved their legs and rode $10,000 bikes,” continues Bishop. “Road cycling used to be hard core. This gets back to the soul of the ride.” alpineloopgranfondo.comSix Gap Centuryhelen, georgiaSEPTEMBER 29, 2013Some say it’s the toughest century in the South. Show up and you’ll pedal the steepest mountain gaps in Georgia, following the same route that pros battled on during the Tour de Georgia. In the middle of the ride, there’s a time-trial race up Hogpen Gap, the toughest climb on the route. The winner is proclaimed King of the Mountain. “Everyone’s mellow at the beginning, but then you have this independent race up the gap where everyone has a chip and digs deep because your time is compared to everyone else’s,”says Brian Toone, last year’s king. “You’re spent at the end of the KOM challenge, but you’ve got half the century left to ride.” cyclenorthgeorgia.comBest of the RestRoanoke Twilight CriteriumRoanoke, VirginaApril, 2013 • roanoketwilight.com3 State 3 Mountain ChallengeChattanooga, TennesseeMay 4, 2013 • chattbike.comBlack and Blue Double CenturyBoone, North CarolinaJune 8, 2013 • blackandbluerelay.comBlood, Sweat, and GearsBoone, North CarolinaJune, 2013 • bloodsweatandgears.orgTour of Page CountyLuray, VirginaApril 26-28, 2013 • pagevalleycycling.comBike Virginia TourBuena Vista, VirginiaJune 21-26, 2013 • bikevirginia.orgHot Dogget 100Mars Hill, North CarolinaJuly 13, 2013 • hotdoggett100.org24 Hours of BootyCharlotte, North CarolinaJuly 26-27, 2013 • 24hoursofbooty.orgTour de Burg (road days)Harrisonburg, VirginiaJuly, 2013 • svbcoalition.orgBlue Ridge BreakawayWaynesville, North CarolinaAugust 17, 2013 • blueridgebreakaway.comShenandoah Valley CenturyHarrisonburg, VirginiaSeptember, 2013 • svbcoalition.orgTown Mountain Hill ClimbAsheville, North CarolinaSeptember, 2013 • ashevillewomenscycling.comGeorge Hincapie Gran FondoGreenville, South CarolinaOctober, 2013 • granfondohincapie.comFinal Fifty RideGreenville, South CarolinaDecember 29, 2013 • greenvillespinners.orgFor more great Race Ahead information check out these sections:SnowsportsTrail RunningRoad RunningMountain BikingRoad CyclingClimbingPaddlingHikingMultisportSuperlativeslast_img read more

Fish and Pick Festival Draws Anglers and Music Lovers to the Maury River

first_img John Woody, iEDIT•HD John Woody, iEDIT•HD John Woody, iEDIT•HD John Woody, iEDIT•HD “Come on, Gunner. Come on, boy, let’s go over here!” insisted Emma Jo Williams, age five. Gunner, a gunmetal gray Weimaraner that easily outweighed Emma Jo by at least 50 pounds, happily obeyed and loped over to the new location before plopping down on the grass. Now at the new location, Emma Jo, in a pink shirt, purple shorts and tall rubber boots, urged Gunner to a new location just a few yards away. Emma Jo began tugging on the leash, but Gunner, content to just lie on the grass, shot a patient but long-suffering look in her direction. “Honey,” Josh Williams called out to his daughter from a fly-tying bench located beneath a small tent, “you might want to give Gunner a little break. You keep moving him from spot to spot. Besides, you need to come over here and finish eating lunch.” Emma Jo gingerly pulled on Gunner’s leash, and her faithful friend obediently trotted back toward the tent, perhaps hoping to finish off Emma Jo’s hotdog himself.Once there Emma Jo sidled up beside her father, a well-known fly angler and fly designer from Roanoke, Virginia. Josh Williams, owner of local fly fishing guide service Dead Drift Outfitters, was seated at his fly-tying bench surrounded by curious onlookers. They marveled at his ability to take hooks, thread, and a few feathers to create the remarkably lifelike patterns that fly anglers use to tempt trout and other species into biting. Williams, Emma Jo, and the rest of their family were flanked by about 50 campers, all within easy walking distance of their tent. Some of the surrounding tents had humble setups with pickup trucks and makeshift campfires, while other sported elaborate recreational vehicles with retractable awnings, full kitchens, and bathrooms. The entire area was abuzz with activity, especially from anglers who seemed to be everywhere.BRO Goes to Fish and Pick from John Woody on Vimeo.The First Annual “Fish & Pick,” held on May 20-22, 2016, at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista, Virginia, had something for everyone. Nestled in the bucolic Shenandoah Mountains and adjacent to the famed Maury River, the newly created event was a chance for visiting families to enjoy the outdoors and spend time together in a location unknown to many. Spearheaded by Brian Brown, Director of Economic Development for Buena Vista, the event introduced outdoor enthusiasts to new outdoor opportunities that the region offers but are sometimes overlooked. “We believe there are many reasons why people would be drawn to an event like this,” said Brown. “We’re providing children and those who are young at heart a chance to get in touch with nature and enjoy the outdoors in a family-friendly environment.” At this year’s inaugural event, dozens of anglers in hip boots or waders, carrying spinning gear or fly rods were lined up along the banks of the Maury River, which had been stocked with a thousand feisty rainbow trout. Successful anglers of every age were proud to show off their day’s catch. Those too young or not equipped to enter the Maury River visited a stocked pool near the river bank. There was no additional fee to fish, and all gear was supplied for those children willing to give it a try. For those who weren’t interested in fishing, there were other ways to relax. Nearby food trucks sold barbeque, french fries, homemade lemonade, and kettle corn. By early evening the sounds of bluegrass music from Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice, the Deer Creek Boys, and Plank Road Express filled the air. John Woody, iEDIT•HD John Woody, iEDIT•HD Small Virginia cities like Buena Vista and Lexington are primarily known for their history, and with good reason: The area was a hotspot during the Civil War. Venerable institutions of higher learning, Washington & Lee and Virginia Military Institute (VMI), are both local. Attractions include Natural Bridge, which was surveyed in the 1700s by a young George Washington. History lovers can also visit monuments to Virginia native Sam Houston, who went on to great fame in Texas, and the less well known favorite son Matthew Fontaine Maury. The polymath Maury taught at VMI and was so struck by the local waterway’s beauty that he asked that his ashes be spread in Goshen Pass along what is now the Maury River. Nicknamed “Pathfinder of the Seas,” Maury is today acknowledged as the father of modern oceanography. The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has a hall named after this amazing man.           The region has never suffered a dearth of history buffs; events like Fish & Pick hope to impress upon tourists that the Old Dominion offers tremendous recreational opportunities as well. “Rockbridge County is the southern gateway to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley,” says Patty Williams, Director of Marketing for Lexington and Rockbridge Area Tourism. “With easy access to 64,000 acres of National Forest lands and the Maury and James Rivers, outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels can hike, bike, fish, paddle, climb and camp right here.” Don’t care much for fishing? Then why not consider kayaking or canoeing the local rivers, or taking advantage of the myriad hiking options like Woods Creek Trail, Chessie Trail, Laurel Run Trail, or the Buena Vista River Walk?Planning an event as large as Fish & Pick was a daunting task, and Brown is the first to insist that he didn’t do it alone: “We had a lot help from committed folks and sponsors alike,” he said. “Thanks to fine folks like Valley Auto Group, Rockbridge Regional Tourism, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Devil’s Backbone, and our wonderful volunteers, we had a successful event. We thought Glen Maury Park would be a perfect venue for this because it’s so close to the river, and because of the camping facilities. It turns out our predictions were correct.” Weekend rain dampened attendance, but Brown was still pleased. “There were kids here that caught their first fish this weekend,” he said. “That made it all worthwhile for me.”Emma Jo Williams and Gunner certainly had a blast and are eager to return. Good news for them: plans for the Second Annual Fish & Pick are already underway. For more information on fishing in the area, contact Josh Williams at Dead Drift Outfitters ( Check out Rockbridge Outdoors   ( for a listing of area trails and activities.Beau Beasley ( is the author of Fly Fishing Virginia and Fly Fishing the Mid-Atlantic. He’s a regular contributor to Blue Ridge Outdoors.last_img read more