Fones Cliffs Land Returned to Rappahannock Tribe

Today the Rappahannock Tribe celebrated the return to the tribe of 465 acres of land along Fones Cliffs on the Rappahannock River. This area has deep cultural and historic significance to the Tribe. Fones Cliffs also represents a rare, natural area rich in forests, wetlands, and waterways critical to bald eagles and other migratory wildlife.

The action announced today recognizes the preservation of an important additional part of Fones Cliffs, following the 2018 transfer of a nearby 252-acre tract to the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. 

A separate large parcel along Fones Cliffs is still held by a corporation that previously announced plans for a large resort-type development. These plans have faced numerous setbacks, including fines from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for environmental violations, and continued vigilance is needed.  

Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner issued the following statement:

“Fones Cliffs is a unique Virginia treasure. The return of this sacred land is a deeply meaningful milestone for the Rappahannock Tribe, and an important step forward in preserving this ecological wonder. 

“The return of Rappahannock land has only been possible thanks to years of perseverance by the Tribe and others in the local community, working together with many partners including Chesapeake Conservancy and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. We are grateful for the dedication and work that made the return of this land to the Tribe possible.”


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A.J. Metcalf

Former Maryland Media & Communications Coordinator, CBF

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