Hampton property being looked at to become river access, possible park

Published 8:16 pm Monday, February 13, 2017

Star Photo/Curtis Carden                           Property across the road from Hampton High School is being scouted as a possible canoe/tube launch to help benefit tourism.

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
Property across the road from Hampton High School is being scouted as a possible canoe/tube launch to help benefit tourism.

If plans go accordingly, Hampton could see a piece of property developed as a river access and a possible park.

Across from Hampton High School on U.S. Highway 19E is a small piece of land owned by the Carter County Schools System that is being looked at for possible development, including beautification and a way to utilize the Doe River. With support from some county officials and volunteers part of the IDEAS Group, native Wesley Bradley hopes the steps continue in the right direction.

“The IDEAS Group came to me about two weeks ago and proposed the project,” Bradley said. “It would be the Doe River/Hampton river access. Instead of it just being a boat launch, it would have multiple uses. Fishermen could go there to fish. Kayaks and canoes could get in and out at that point and tubers can use it. The group even added they’d like to have a park there.”

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Providing a popular destination in Hampton will only help in all aspects of the community, he said.

“I don’t see a negative in it at all,” Bradley said. “It will draw tourism near and far and a benefit for the locals. The project is basically taking a piece of property being used as a river access anyways by the local boating community and turning it into a more useable property. Because it’s such a brushed up and trashed up place, the IDEAS group saw this and wanted to make it better to provide something more for the community.”

While hearing a majority of support about the project, there have been some concerns that could be easily addressed, according to Bradley.

“One concern I heard is that it could be trashed up,” he said. “If you go by there now, you can see it’s already being used as a dump site. With the cleanup process, it will help deter any dumping and I’d like to think that once development is completed, it will be something people will take pride in.

“Another issue is the for the safety of children at the high school to use the park and trying to get across the highway” he continued. “There’s actually a trail that goes under the bridge to access from the school that can be developed for safety.”

Plans for the river access have been passed around, including a possible grand opening tubing race that could coordinate with the Covered Bridge Celebration.

“The stretch of the river from Hampton into Valley Forge is beautiful,” Bradley said. “I call it the horseshoe underneath the bridge. There’s so much natural beauty; it’s a little piece of heaven.”

Going back to maintenance, Bradley is a member of the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts as an avid kayaker and stated the group has already pledged their support for the project and added maintenance could be an initiative taken by the group.