ST. PAUL — The Clinch River State Park will be dedicated in a formal ceremony on June 16 in St. Paul.
Gov. Ralph Northam will join state Department of Conservation and Recreation staff and area legislators and officials at the park’s Sugar Hill Unit for the 1 p.m. event.
Virginia State Parks officials have described the park as a “string of pearls” since it is considered the first state ‘blueway’ park of several sites along the river’s 135-mile length in the state. Many of the sites are state-owned and operated, while some are operated by cooperating agencies and organizations.
In addition to recreational use, the park also serves as habitat to more fish species than any other river in Virginia. The Clinch River supports smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, sunfish, crappie, walleye, musky, freshwater drum, longnose gar, channel catfish and more. The river is also home to nearly 50 species of mussels and hundreds of non-game fish.
The 640-acre Sugar Hill Unit is already open for public use and runs along two miles of the Clinch around St. Paul. The area includes almost nine miles of hiking trails, kayak access points, a picnic shelter and remnants of a 1700s French settlement in the area.
Hiking and biking are allowed on the Sugar Hill Loop trail. The AmeriCorps, Riverside, Hillside, Cliff and Rock Bluff Trails are hiking only. The trail system is rated moderate to difficult.
A public boat launch is also available across the Wise County line at Artrip, four miles east of Cleveland in Russell County.