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SVTU Rallying Behind Jackson River Defense Fund

posted Jan 18, 2012, 6:52 PM by James Josefson   [ updated Jan 18, 2012, 7:25 PM ]

At our December Chapter meeting, Dargan Coggeshall told us about his involvement in the current Jackson River lawsuit.  For those of you who don’t know about the pending civil trespass case (see Virginia Rivers Defense Fund), Dargan Coggeshell is being sued by The River’s Edge real estate developer for trout fishing below Smith Bridge on the Jackson River in Alleghany County.  If you go to the Smith’s Bridge state access area, you’ll see a VDGIF sign that says you can fish this area.  Nevertheless, Mr. Coggeshall is being sued by the developer for $10,000.   Rather than just settling and setting the precedent that any landowner can unilaterally claim a right to the river bottom and fish under King’s Grants from the British Monarchy before the Revolution, Mr. Coggeshell decided to fight.  What he’s fighting for is not only our access to the Jackson River, but potentially hundreds of miles of water throughout the Commonwealth.  Unfortunately, Mr. Coggeshell is fighting an opponent with deep pockets.  To help pay the costs of the case, he and his supporters have set up Virginia Rivers Defense Fund.  But donations have not been what they should be, so Mr. Coggeshall came to our meeting in Waynesboro to tell his story and appeal for help.

Since then SVTU has been working to raise funds for the cause.  One SVTU member volunteered to match chapter contributions up to $1000.  Another has volunteered the proceeds from sales of nets at the South River Fly Shop.  And so far, chapter members have donated hundreds of dollars towards that goal of being able to give a check of at least $2000 to Virginia Rivers Defense Fund.  But we need more.  If you can help out, send a check made out to Shenandoah Valley Trout Unlimited to

Tommy Lawhorne

SVTU President

900 Sherwood Ave

Waynesboro, VA 22980

Or you can just drop the check by the South River Fly Shop at 317 W. Main in downtown Waynesboro.

Put "Virginia Rivers Defense Fund" in the memo line on the check.

We’ll be challenging other Trout Unlimited chapters in the state to match our efforts!

Please have your donations in by February 7, 2012.