News Release

Colonial National Historical Park receives funding from Great American Outdoors Act for York River shoreline stabilization

Shoreline erosion
Shoreline erosion encroaching upon Colonial Parkway


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News Release Date: February 28, 2023

Contact: Christopher Derman

Contact: Matt Henderson

Colonial National Historical Park announces a $11.2 million York River shoreline stabilization project in the park funded through the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA). The work will repair and stabilize approximately three miles of York River shoreline that have severe erosion. The erosion and shoreline loss threaten significant archeological sites in the park and the stability and alignment of the Colonial Parkway.

The Colonial Parkway is a twenty-three-mile scenic roadway stretching from the York River at Yorktown to the James River at Jamestown. It links Virginia's historic triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown and is used by millions of travelers annually to access and enjoy the area’s natural and cultural beauty.

A portion of the parkway follows the western shore of the York River for approximately five miles. Due to increased hurricane frequency and intensity, storm surges and tidal events, parts of the shoreline have eroded substantially. The project will protect shoreline slopes from stormwater runoff above and undercutting from the river below.

The project will add rock to increase the revetment height, install new rock sills and breakwaters, and enhance or add wetland and marsh habitat from Felgate’s Creek to northwest of the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown pier. Upon project completion, this section of shoreline will be protected from further sloughing and loss, thus ensuring the continued stability and usability of the Colonial Parkway.

“The project eliminates a hazard that threatens the safety of park visitors and resources,” said Colonial National Historical Park Superintendent Jerri Marr. “It will allow us to reduce bank erosion, improve storm resiliency, and reinforce safe recreational access along portions of the York River.”

In 2021, the park had 3.1 million visitors who spent an estimated $337 million in local communities. These expenditures supported a total of 5,040 jobs, $143 million in labor income, $245 million in value added, and $453 million in economic output in local gateway economies.

Local contractor Coastal Design & Construction Inc. from Gloucester, Virginia, will perform the work. The project, which will reduce the park’s deferred maintenance and repair needs associated with these facilities by $8.2 million, will support more than 140 jobs and contribute $31.4 million to the nation's economy.

Visitors will see work on the shoreline from the river and parkway, and may be impacted by rotating, periodic closures of the Ringfield (Felgate’s Creek), Cheatham Annex, Powhatan Village, and York River pullouts during construction, which is anticipated to take about 16 months. Closure alerts will be available on the park website.

Funding for the project is from GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund. GAOA is part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks. Supported by revenue from energy development, the fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to the National Park Service to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.  

Last updated: May 26, 2023

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