A new three-mile fishing trail along the pristine water of the South Fork of the Holston River has been constructed above Buller Hatchery near Marion, Va. to provide access into the gorge, well known for its wild rainbows and browns. After three years of planning and design between the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Forest Service, construction began in July of 2012 to bulldoze the trail.
Dr. Eric Sacknoff, president of the Mountain Empire Chapter of Trout Unlimited, collaborated with DGIF and the USFS and recruited members of the chapter (pictured) to work over several weekends in the past year to clear trash, brush, and rocks on the trail. The American Electric Power Foundation donated $5,000 to the chapter to provide educational signage regarding fish species, aquatic entomology, and stream hydrology.
Bill Kittrell, of DGIF, and former DGIF habitat specialist Justin Laughlin worked diligently with Dawn Kirk of the USFS and members of the chapter to make sure that the trail provides ample access to the river while preserving private property rights. A parking lot has been created at the upper end of the trail for easy access, and anglers can park at the hatchery at the trail’s lower end.
Dr. Sacknoff has committed the Mountain Empire Chapter to steward “this wonderful fishing resource of wild trout in Southwest Virginia.”