All News & Blogs
Culpeper businessman has a family history of support for Shenandoah National Park
Date published: 9/11/2012
By Rob Hedelt
THERE are many reasons it makes sense for
The 62-year-old Culpeper County businessman has been visiting, hiking and enjoying the wild beauty of Shenandoah since his father introduced him to it with a picnic at the Pinnacles when the younger Yates was just 5 years old.
His business background and contacts make him a perfect member of a group that seeks to raise millions for projects at the park, ranging from rescue equipment at Old Rag to a possible re-envisioning of facilities at Loft Mountain.
But when I got a chance to meet the gregarious University of Richmond grad at his home off Sperryville Pike the other day, he produced one more connection that makes him a natural for the Shenandoah Trust.
It's a donor's certificate from Oct. 17, 1925, with his grandfather, Conner F. Yates, pledging $30 to "finance the purchase" of five acres of land for the Shenandoah National Park Association.
"People forget, but they had to raise the money to create the park," Yates said from his back porch, where he can see the ridges of the park in the distance. "I'm proud my grandfather was one who gave to that. And back in 1925, $30 was serious money."
Serious money is what Yates and the 21 other member of the Trust's board of trustees are mostly about.
"People don't realize it, but with the budget cuts parks like Shenandoah have had to face in recent years, there isn't money for many of the projects and needs the park has," said Yates.
That's where the SNPT comes in, seeking funding through foundations, individual gifts and bequests throughout the region and beyond.
The group also holds fundraising events such as a new one coming up Sept. 22, "The Shenandoah Scramble." The idea is to offer folks an array of guided hikes in hopes of bringing people connected with the park back for a day or introducing newcomers to Shenandoah.
WHAT: A fundraising event where participants share a breakfast then go on a guided hike on one of six trails of varying length and difficulty WHEN: 9 a.m. Sept. 22 WHERE: Big Meadows Picnic Area at Shenandoah National Park COST: Registration is $25 per hiker ($10 for children under 13) and hikers agree to raise a minimum of $100 each or $200 per family. The money will support park projects and programs. Registration includes a group breakfast, post-hike refreshments and a Shenandoah Scramble T-shirt for every hiker. SIGNING UP: Preregistration is required. Go online to snptrust.org and click on "Shenandoah Scramble" to find a list of the possible hikes. All funds and pledges raised must be delivered to Shenandoah National Park Trust prior to event day. MORE INFO: snptrust.org or call 434/293-2728