Master Plan For The North Fork Of The Shenandoah River


Overview Presentation

Proposal For A Master Plan For The North Fork Of The Shenandoah River

In September of 2020, the Shenandoah County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors commissioned the first Master Plan for the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and its tributaries. This Master Plan is based on a proposal that was developed by a set of students by the names of Anna-Beth Lawler, Maria Tahamtani, Kevin Kask, and Tyler Hinkle from the University of Virginia, and Dr. Frank Dukes with the Institute for Engagement and Negotiation at the University of Virginia.

This Master Plan holds three main areas of study and implementation:


  • The first is water quality, which is to be addressed in the Master Plan through direct engagement with landowners in order to provide educational resources as well as connecting them with the proper agencies and groups to get projects on the ground to address water quality issues. There are three main initiatives with this aspect through the development and implementation of a River Hero program, developing an interactive mapping tool to increase public awareness and understanding, and to increase educational materials on conservation easements, CREP’s, septic system care, BMP’s, rain barrels, water testing, and other aspects to address water quality conditions. There is also the potential for policy recommendations to come from this aspect as well.



  • The second aspect is water access, which encompasses numerous aspects such as picnic tables, trails, outdoor exercise equipment, fishing locations, or anything that brings people to, on, or along the water. With that we are to examine improvements to existing formal access sites, the potential to formalize currently informal access sites, and aiding in locating new formal access sites. Along with identifying potential improvements, this aspect will involve developing more public materials for how the public can safely access the North Fork or one of the 12 public creeks. There will also be a coordination of events, businesses, trails, and attractions along the North Fork and the 12 public creeks in order to increase awareness in the community as to all the resources nearby, as well as a method to inform visitors to the area as to where they may want to travel.



  • The third and final aspect to the Master Plan is infrastructure, which involves the larger infrastructural improvements such as addressing bridges, dams, and connected trails that may come out of this Master Plan development process as well as the network of social infrastructure that will be fleshed out throughout the Master Plan process in order to allow for a continuous deliberative process for citizen-led improvements.


In order to ensure the greatest levels of citizen participation and co-production of the Plan, the process for developing the Plan will involve layers of collaboration, demonstrated in the following diagram:


If you are interested in becoming a River or Creek Champion, email on additional information.

Key Partners And Advisors