Be The First To Journey Across High Bridge

Published 3:32 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2011

FARMVILLE – Sometime next spring, someone will be the first park guest to walk across High Bridge.

It could be you.

As work continues at the site to prepare the signature structure of High Bridge Trails State Park for foot traffic, The Friends of High Bridge – a group of volunteers who supports park needs – have a fundraiser that could help some lucky individual to be the first official park visitor to step across the historic bridge.

For a donation of $1 per entry or six entries for $5, the winner could do exactly that.

The Friends group aims to raise monies to provide support for special projects.

According to Friends President David Buckalew, the idea is something his wife dreamed up one morning before they were going out on a trail cleanup.

“And she said, 'You know, you guys have a wonderful…fundraising idea just built in to what you're doing,'” Buckalew recounted her saying.

She suggested, Buckalew noted, that they could sell tickets to see who is the first to walk across the bridge. The concept caught fire among the small, but active, Friends group and now those who would be first can get in line.

The drawing will be held at a Friends meeting with the public invited to attend two to four weeks before the bridge is open to the public. (That is still to be determined, though it has been projected for next spring). The winner will be contacted by phone and/or email and they will have a week to respond. If time elapses, a second entry would be drawn if necessary.

“We're going to have the person who is the winner and, perhaps, maybe other members of his or her family – whomever they so choose – to be the first to actually walk across the bridge…I think, personally, it's a great Kodak moment…to have the whole family there and being just put on record, to go down in history to be the first to walk across…sort of the keystone structure for this new state park,” Buckalew said.

And, again, all proceeds would be used to assist with park projects.

“…The group has been a wonderful asset for the park in providing volunteer work, advocacy for the park and…fundraising on projects like this that help us to provide services or programs that maybe we normally wouldn't be able to do,” commented Park Manager Eric Hougland.

He assessed it's a great idea to provide interest in what's going on with the park and a fundraising effort for the Friends group.

“So we're real excited about it,” Hougland said.

There has been much interest in the bridge that is, effectively, inaccessible other than through the trail. It's tree top high at some 160 feet, and about 2,400 feet long.

The ticket locations include Agee's Bicycle (three locations in Richmond), Amelia County Library, Blackwater Bike Shop in Lynchburg, Burkeville Town Hall, Charley's Waterfront Cafe, Charlotte County SVC, Charlotte's Web in Cumberland, Cumberland Exxon, Cumberland Restaurant, Farmville/Prince Edward Library, Grant's Glass, Heartland Visitor's Center, High Bridge Rail and Trail Bike Rental, Merk's, Midtown Mailboxes, Nottoway Public Libraries, Pairet's, Pamplin Town Office, Southside Virginia YMCA, Vito's in Cumberland, Sheldon's Restaurant in Keysville and Wilck's Lake Sheds. Each location will have a poster and the general information. Tickets will also be available from members of the Friends group.