A new public camping area serving the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail and James River is now open at Charles City County’s Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park. The Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park Primitive Camping Area features bicycle facilities and consists of three campsites with picnic tables and a group camping area. Campsites can be reserved through Charles City County’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
Charles City County’s Board of Supervisors approved a proposal for the creation of a small primitive camping area to serve the Virginia Capital Trail and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail at Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park in 2017. The proposal was presented to the County by the James River Association and endorsed by Charles City County’s Recreation Advisory Committee and Virginia Capital Trail Foundation. Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) awarded the James River Association a grant to support the project. The James River Association organized volunteers to install the primitive camping area in coordination with Charles City County staff members. The primitive camping area is located adjacent to existing restroom facilities near the park’s entrance.
“For many, safe recreation has been a challenge this year. Charles City County is honored to work with the James River Association to ensure everyone still has the opportunity to enjoy safe recreation options here in our community,” said Michelle Johnson, County Administrator for Charles City County. “The great outdoors is where everyone can find enjoyment, and make new memories. We welcome visitors to Charles City to create those memories here.”
Justin Doyle, Community Conservation Manager with the James River Association, stated, “It was a pleasure to work with Charles City County and the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation to bring the Lawrence Lewis, Jr Primitive Camping Area project to life. The primitive camping area fills a gap in camping access along the Virginia Capital Trail and James River, and gives cyclists and paddlers planning multi-day expeditions a new camping option.”
“It has been a privilege to work alongside Charles City County and the James River Association on this project,” shares Cat Anthony, Executive Director of the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation, “We frequently get asked about camping or lodging opportunities along the Capital Trail. We are thrilled for the opportunities this new camping resource offers. We believe it will encourage healthy recreation and help people foster an appreciation and connection to nature and the outdoors.”
A reservation is required to use the campground. To reserve a campsite or the group camping area, individuals should call (804) 652-1601 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations can be made Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. Reservations are contingent upon campsite availability, submission of a registration form, and payment. A registration form can be found at https://www.co.charles-city.va.us/336/Recreation-EventsRental-Information. Charles City County Parks and Recreation staff will issue a confirmation permit once the registration form and payment are submitted. Reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance.
Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Park is a 26-acre public riverfront park established in 1993 to provide recreational activities to the citizens of Charles City County and surrounding areas. The park features a fishing pier, boat ramp, and picnic pavilion.