Q: When will Todd Island Park re-open?
A: The Todd Community and the general public are invited to a special event/guided tour of the park on Thursday afternoon, April 27, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. (The event on Friday, April 28, has been cancelled due to rain.) Natural resources professionals and educational material will be available to help explain the exciting changes at the park and to celebrate all that this amazing park has to offer.
The TCPO has partnered with local elementary schools to offer selected classes a morning at the park. On Thursday morning, April 27, these students will be attending outdoor classroom environmental educational sessions to learn about the ecosystem of the park and the New River. These sessions are not open to the public.
On Saturday, April 29, Todd Island will re-open fully to the public. The island will be open from dawn to dusk. Please observe some new signage that shows areas of the island designated for anglers only. Also, new Stay on the Path signs (for humans and dogs) underscore the need to keep plantings from being trampled. Specific paths for foot/paw traffic will be mowed and should be obvious. All other areas are off limits. Thank you for your understanding and for playing your part in helping keep the island healthy.
Q: Who owns Todd Island Park?
A: Todd Island Park is a privately owned property owned by the Todd Community Preservation Organization. This includes the parking lot and the island itself. The TCPO has operated the park as a public recreational space for the community and visitors since 2000.
Q: There has been lots of work at the park over the past several years. What’s going on?
A: For the health of the river, wildlife and the island, a multi-agency Riverbank Restoration Project has been in progress. The purpose of this conservation project is to stop the severe erosion happening to the riverbanks all along the island by re-sloping and stabilizing the banks where needed. This in turn will help assure healthy water quality by reducing sediment in the river. Rock vanes have been placed in strategic locations to move the water to the center of the river. These also create riffles and pools that restore instream wildlife habitats. Many invasive tree and plant species have been removed from the island and will be replaced by native species and grasses through the end of 2022.
Q: What agencies have been involved in the project?
A: The following agencies have supported the Todd Island Park Riverbank Restoration Project as planning/consulting agencies, funding agencies, permitting agencies, habitat evaluation agencies, and/or implementation agencies.
- Blue Ridge Resource Conservation and Development Council
- NC Division of Water Resources
- New River Soil and Water Conservation District
- New River Conservancy
- Army Core of Engineers
- NC Wildlife Resources Commission
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
- NCSU Extension Office – Ashe county
- NC Department of Environmental Quality
- NC State Parks
- Ashe County Commissioners
- Watauga County Commissioners
- Foggy Mountain Nursery
Q: Why was Todd Island closed? There are No Trespassing signs around the island.
A: Due to the large-scale work on the island repairing the banks, adding rock vanes and removing invasive trees and plants, much of the island will need to be replanted with grasses and native trees and plants. The replanting will take place over many months and then will require time to grow and stabilize undisturbed for several months. It is estimated that the island will reopen in spring 2023. We appreciate the support and understanding of the community to help make the island a healthy, safe place for all to enjoy in the long run.
Q: It looks like the parking lot is still open. Is it okay to access the river from the parking lot?
A: As long as people do not access the island itself, the parking lot will remain open. People are welcome to access the river for fishing, tubing, and kayaking, etc., from the parking lot only; however, the public may not walk onto the island from the river.
Q: Will there still be walking path around the island when it reopens?
A: Yes, the walking path will be restored before the island reopens in spring 2023. Please note that there will be Stay on the Path signs installed around the park. This is so that the thousands of smaller native plantings that have been planted will not be trampled. This is particularly important on the riverbanks where the plants help hold the dirt in place. We are also asking that dogs stay on leashes for the same reason.
Q: How will I know when the park reopens?
A: The TCPO will post updates to its website, www.toddnc.org, and its Facebook page, Todd Community Preservation Organization.