Missing link: State Farm gift connects Albemarle trail

news-mahon-trailCounty greenbelt supervisor Dan Mahon contemplates a lock that connects to what's left of the Woolen Mills dam on the Albemarle side.

The little-known Old Mills Trail soon will become a viable path from Darden Towe Park to Shadwell with the Earth Day dedication of a half-mile section of land along the Rivanna River donated by State Farm Insurance.

"This is an important piece because it connects the hospital," says Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd April 22 at the Pantops site neighboring the under-construction Martha Jefferson Hospital. "Ultimately we'd like to connect it with Monticello," he says.

With the 10-acre gift from State Farm, Old Mills Trail meanders six miles along the Rivanna and takes in historical sites such as the Woolen Mills dam, Port Pireus, a canal towpath, and ancient Three Chopt Road.

Albemarle's Dan Mahon was in negotiation with State Farm for four years, and isn't quite ready to declare the trail open for business, but says it could be by this summer.

"Even with concerns about budgets, we can embrace this and its value to the community," says Mahon. "This works on so many levels.

news-oldmillstrail-map"There's a lot of heritage here," points out Mahon. "It's important for understanding where we are– our natural heritage and our cultural heritage.

"If you look around," he adds, "you'd hardly believe it's Pantops."

Volunteer and inmate labor will keep costs down.


Amen history buff. Now the shad just swim to the South Fork dam to die and rot. The dam was there so long it created a habitat which has now been destroyed.

Too bad a misguided Rivanna Conservation Society took it upon themselves to destroy the Woolen Mills dam. There would have been a lot more heritage there.

man, you really can't have any malicious feelings towards State Farm these days what with them being fiscally responsible and as active as they are in the community. Wish I could say the same AIG! great day....

That's is just great - more trail to encourage more and more people to look for alternative transportation in this town - especially around that miserable intersection at Pantops - Thanks State Farm

That will make a helluva a nice bike ride, right in town.

What a waste. This would have made an excellent landfill. A spur could be added to the CSX tracks so we could receive garbage from New York and help our struggling economy.