James River Named At-Risk Landscape on 2017 Landslide List

Scenic Virginia is grateful to our friends at The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) for naming the James River at Jamestown an endangered landscape on their Landslide 2017 list of endangered sites. Landslide 2017: Open Season on Open Space draws attention to nationally significant cultural landscapes of all sizes that face a variety of threats: confiscation, development, energy and resource extraction, or other inappropriate or incompatible uses.

Evening Twilight on Jamestown Island by Paul Diming
Evening Twilight on Jamestown Island by Paul Diming

“Open space is too often treated as a void, absent any cultural significance and waiting to be filled,” said TCLF’s President & CEO Charles A. Birnbaum. “This can lead to incompatible uses, ranging from resource extraction to development, to outright confiscation of parkland held in public trust, which threatens park equity and equal access for all.”

The James River is threatened by a project proposed by Dominion Energy. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a conditional permit for Dominion to build seventeen transmission towers across the James River near historic Jamestown, some as tall as 295 feet. The towers would impact viewsheds from Jamestown Island, Colonial National Historical Park, Colonial Parkway, Carter’s Grove National Historic Landmark and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. The transmission line would cross directly across a landscape that has been determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. For more information and updates on the James River transmission line, click here.

There are five themes that TCLF identified as threats to Landslide sites: Monetization of Open Space; the Detrimental Effects of Shadow; Resource Extraction; Devaluation of Cultural Lifeways; and Park Equity.  If you are interested in learning more about these threats and how they pose a problem to scenic, historic, and aesthetic landscapes, click here.

Click the link below to access TCLF’s report on the James River.


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