By CALVIN PYNN
Friends of Peak Creek, Inc. (FOPC) is completing their first year of work raising public awareness of the Creek and its importance to the Town of Pulaski, Pulaski County, Claytor Lake, and surrounding environs.
FOPC has planned an open house on Thursday, May 15 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Historic Train Depot in downtown Pulaski. The event will include a poster display featuring a photo array of the cleanup events held during the past year, as well as possible future visions of the Creek and nearby areas.
According to a release from FOPC President Vicky Houk, George Santucci, Executive Director for the National Committee for the New River (NCNR), will be the featured speaker for the event. The NCNR is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
NCNR’s vision is for a completely protected New River as a treasured national resource. The organization protects land critical for preserving important wildlife habitat, rare and endangered species, cornerstones of biodiversity, and working farmland along the New River and its tributaries.
According to Houk, the New River was designated an American Heritage River, one of only fourteen in the United States, in 1998. There are two state parks along the New River as it flows through Virginia – the New River Trail State Park and Claytor Lake State Park.
NCNR works with many groups throughout the watershed to protect the New River including Friends of Clayton Lake (FOCL), which has partnered with FOPC as they continue efforts to cleanup Peak Creek and the areas bordering the creek. Peak Creek feeds into Claytor Lake, which, according to Houk, is one of the area’s outstanding recreational assets.
Because one feeds into the other, the creek’s health directly impacts the lake’s health.
FOPC is a 501c3 charitable citizen-lead organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the environment, historical nature, and recreational and commercial value of Peak Creek for the benefit and enjoyment of all.
When downtown Pulaski was laid out in the 1880s, the development company cut a new course for meandering Peak Creek and channeled the creek with impressive walls of dry-stacked native stone. According to Houk, this allowed the filling of the swampy flood prone lowland and created the Main Street area of today.
According to Houk, the creek bed was periodically dredged and brush was removed from the walls for many decades
“Now, all Pulaski residents and visitors can see what years of neglect have done to that once attractive Creek and its historic walls,” said Houk. “The walls have protected our property and livelihood for over 130 years. Don’t you think its time we protect them?”
All members of the community are invited to come and learn about the New River and the efforts of FOPC to reclaim and restore the asset that is Peak Creek.