Watauga River Boat Ramp named after Bill Beazell

Published 2:18 pm Friday, March 31, 2023

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Star Correspondent
Area officials dedicated the Bill Beazell Watauga River Public Access Boat Ramp on Friday in honor of a longtime fisherman and conservationist.
Beazell, who died at the age of 91 in 2015, was a member of the Over Mountain chapter of Trout Unlimited, one of the organizations behind the new boat ramp along Lovers Lane.
“Great man,” said Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains. “I’ve heard so many great things about him.”
The recognition comes after a “great effort” between local citizens and several state and location agencies to build the much-needed river access point.
Leading the way, Mains said Go Betsy and Chris Little initially brought the idea to local and state agencies.
“If it wasn’t for them [Trout Unlimited] this wouldn’t be possible,” Little said.
Little added that the project is a win for the community, local fishermen and first responders.
Financial contributions came from the Tennessee Valley Authority, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Carter County, Modern Woodmen, Go Betsy, Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce and Tour Carter County.
In addition, the local Trout Unlimited chapter supported and contributed to the project and at the organization’s request, the boat ramp has been named for Beazell.
Beazell served on the Board of Directors for the local Trout Unlimited chapter, as well as president, secretary and conservation chair.
He grew up in New York, but lived in Tennessee for many years, and worked at local glass factories.
“He was a lifelong fisherman,” said Gary Barrigar, a member of the local Trout Unlimited chapter.
Beazell also strongly supported conservation of the region’s waters, and tested water quality on many streams and rivers from Kingsport to Roan Mountain, Barrigar said.
“Bill believed in conservation,” said Barrigar, who added that Beazell suggested the local chapter participate in several conservation efforts over the years.
Local river cleanup events have also been named in honor of Beazell.
The local chapter used $4,000 of money contributed by Beazell’s estate for the new boat ramp, which provides fishermen a spot to launch and retrieve boats.
The new boat ramp, which is open to the public and features a new sign dedicated to Beazell, is located along Lovers Lane under the Highway 400 bridge.

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