This is not an official website of the county and it has been developed only to collect and share information about a proposed program of activity to assist the people and communities of the County
Tourism and Ranging
|Agriculture and Forestry|
|Geology and Mineral Resources|
|Roads and Transportation|
|The Rural System Capsule|
|Contact Bob Giles|
The Grayson Initiative is the name of a program (and a website) for Grayson County, Virginia, that describes Ranging and Rural System and what they may mean to the people of the county.
The Rural System concept has to start somewhere, and it may be Grayson County. The Initiative, also this website name, is dedicated to this end.
The site shows the county as it is currently understood (a brief analysis or description) and then suggests the potentials of a new program of diverse work that can do wonders for the county, its people, its environment, and, eventually the good it may do in demonstrating how a good concept can affect people throughout Virginia, the US, and the world. It can be an important website. I hope that you will share a link to it with others.
You may see the County's Comprehensive Plan
Downloading Environmental data
Grayson County was formed from Wythe County in 1792 only 213 years ago. The date 1492 is remembered from poetry. The county was named for one of the first two senators from Virginia, William Grayson.
Home to the highest mountains in Virginia, Mt. Rogers at 5,729 feet and Whitetop Mountain at 5,520 feet, the elevation ranges from 2,180 - 5,729 feet
The width of the county is 46.3 miles.
Area - 451 sq. miles, or 288,000 acres
There are two small towns in Grayson County - Independence (pop. 971), which is the seat of government, and Troutdale (pop. 1,230). Galax is at its eastern border. Three outdoor recreation centers are within 20 miles of the county seat - Grayson Highlands State Park, New River Trail State Park, and the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. These parks have facilities for camping, picnicking, hiking, biking, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding. Mount Rogers is the highest peak in Virginia. 5,000 acres are managed by Grayson Highlands State Park.
Headwaters of the New River and containing
Stream gaging stations at New River near Galax (since 1929) and Chestnut Creek near Galax (since 1944).
Agriculture and Land Management
Produce: Grade A beef and dairy farms; truck farms producing apples, peaches, cabbage and other fruits and vegetables.Many Christmas tree farms. Average temperature - January: 35 F
Average temperature - July: 71 F (65 summer, 42 winter))
Average annual rainfall - 42 inches (47?)
Average annual snowfall - 21 inches Annual frost free growing season - 149 days.
There are about 1200 farms
Forestry - General
From Comprehensive Plan: Improved management practices have dramatically improved the condition of recreation area forestlands; however, the present condition of the forest is directly related to early land-use practices. Much of the forestland was cleared for farming or heavily cut for the timber market and then abandoned in the early 1900s. Later, fire and the chestnut blight epidemic completed the chain of events which left thousands of acres of timber in a devastated condition, leaving undergrowth as growing stock. This has developed into fair stands of mixed oak and white pine.
Timberland has been important to the area since settlement. Today over fifty percent of the land remains timberland. While the timberland has changed due to insect, disease, fire and timber harvesting, it continues to be important to the local economy. Timberland is one of Grayson County’s natural resources. Setting guidelines to maintain viable timberlands is essential to insuring a quality environment for Grayson County. Ecologically, timberlands help maintain good water quality. Timberland filters, trap sediments and absorbs pollutants from overload, runoff and subsurface flow. Timberlands act as natural buffers along the New River, smaller perennial intermittent streams by preventing excess nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorous, from entering and polluting our waterways. Tree roots help maintain clean ground water. Timberland provides essential ecosystems for a variety of plants and animals. It provides food, shelter, cover, nesting and bedding areas for a wide variety of wildlife. Several rare or threatened species of plants can be found within the timberlands throughout the County.
Timberland plays an economic role in the community based on timber severance taxes paid from 1996 to 2001, which averaged 2.5 million per year to Grayson County landowners for timber sold. The 1995 publication Virginia’s Forest: Our Commonwealth describes how $48.64 of economic value is generated from each dollar paid to a landowner for timber stumpage through such services as primary and secondary processing transportation, harvesting, construction and marketing. Using this multiplier, the value of the timber harvested averaged $121,600,000 in economical activity. These figures do not include values such as hunting, recreation, tourism, air quality, and aesthetic benefits, which are important to our economy. Socially, timberland provides a pleasant environment for Grayson County residents to live and work. It promotes public health and safety through the reduction of noise, air, water and visual pollution. Timberland promotes and preserves the appearance, life styles and traditions, which have existed in Grayson County for decades.
Annual scale of business; estimated harvest value (43rd in the State): $1,701,448
Mount Rodgers National Recreation Area
National Forest Location Map (See Mount Rodgers)
Mount Rogers National Recreation Area
3714 Highway 16
Marion, VA 24354
( 800) 628-7202
State Forester, Virginia Department of Forestry
Abingdon Region Office: U.S. Highway 11, PO Box 978, Abingdon, VA 24212 Phone: (276) 676-5488 ; FAX: (276) 676-5581 Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe counties
Donnie Garman, Forester
Chad Austin, Technician
P. O. Box 812
450 Timberline Dr.
Galax, Virginia 24333
Key County Personnel
Board of Supervisors - Ralph E. Tuggle, Douglas Carrico, Larry Bartlett, Joe Vaughan, and George Russell
County Administrator - Mr. William D. Ring, acting County Administrator
Mount Rogers Planning District Commission (#3) - Ronald R. Catron, Chairman
There are about 16,300 people ( 2003 - 16,881) (2004 - FBI 17,917)
4.8% of population is employed in agriculture/forestry, etc.
4.3% in tourism, recreation etc.
39% are under 18 and over 65
51% graduated from highschool
36% over 25 without a high school diploma
4.2% are college graduates
15% are below poverty level
102 cases of theft, burglary, robbery out of 124 major crimes
The median household income (1990) is about $19,300
per capita income for Grayson County citizens is only 70% of the per capita income for Virginians.
Links to 2 highschools and 9 elementary schools of the County
Wytheville Community College is nearby.
|Major corridors of Grayson and Carroll County|
Opportunities for the future will be assisted by the Virginia’s aCorridor. Libraries provide mobile services. For Grayson County, US 58 and US 16 provides travelers the most favorable East-West route, while US 221/21 and 94 provide the preferred means to move from north to south. See: Big Walker Mountain Scenic Byway. Major highways serving the Galax, Carroll Grayson area include Interstate 77, US Highways 21, 52 and 221. VA 89 also runs from Galax to Mt. Airy, North Carolina. A large number of trucking firms serve the area. Greyhound Bus Lines provide service through Hillsville and Carroll County. Twin County Airport serves the light to medium aircraft and air freight is also available. The nearest commercial airports are located at Roanoke, Virginia, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.Regional Map
Players: Grayson County Tourism Office, Blue Ridge Travel Association, United States Park Service, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Chamber of Commerce, Town Councils, City of Galax and Civic Clubs
From comprehensive Plan: "One of the more viable strategies appeared to be increasing the emphasis on tourism development, bed and breakfast facilities and recreational facilities. Emphasis would be on development of new facilities, such as artisan, civic, equestrian centers, rafting facilities, hiking facilities, and other facilities where feasible." In 2004 Attendance and economic impacts were as follows (from Larry Chambers, The Declaration, July 6, 2005):
These were out of a total attendance of 6,977,888 in all state parks ,
with economic impact to the counties in which they were located of $153,342,334.
Suggestion: Use the FIND command under EDIT (above) to search for key words.
The following was supplied by the Virginia Division of Mineral Resources, in the December, 1973 "Data Summary:Grayson County and Galax City," Division of State Planning and Community Affairs, Richmond, Virginia
Grayson County is in the Blue Ridge province and is underlain principally by igneous and metamorphic rocks. During 1972, the Cardinal Stone Company quarried gneiss near Independence and the Grayson Stone Corporation quarried altered ultramafic rock south of Galax, primarily for use as roadstone and concrete aggregate. Paul E. Delp quarried basalt and related rocks near Comers Rock that were crushed chiefly for use as roadstone. Riverside Sand and Hassell and Irving Patton dredged sand from the New River at sites near Fries and Riverside for use in ready-mix concrete, building, filter-bed and other purposes.
A mineralized area, known as the Gossan Lead district, extends southwestward across northern Carroll County and into Grayson County north of Galax, continuing toward the North Carolina state line south of Independence. Elongate lenses of massive sulfide minerals occur along this trend and in adjacent Carroll County have been mined at various times since the 1850's for gossan iron ore, copper ore and pyrrhotite. In the Grayson County portion of the district, gossan iron ore was mined at a few sites and prospect work has been done for copper, but available data do not indicate that production of copper ore was established. In western Grayson County, copper mineralization has been prospected west of White Top and also occurs near Trout dale. Magnetite iron Ore has been mined and prospected at sites near Fries and Independence and at other localities. Manganese minerals have been prospected near Galax and Independence and a small amount of ore was recovered.
Granitic and gneissic rocks have been quarried near Fries, Carsonville, Volney, Independence, Galax and at other localities for crushed stone and various other construction purposes. Carbonate rocks occur at scattered localities and have been quarried for building and agricultural stone and for making lime. Soapstone also occurs at several sites and has been quarried for local use near the Grayson-Carroll County line south of Galax. Clay materials have been used in the manufacture of brick near Galax, Elk Creek and Bridle Creek, and clay materials at other localities are potentially suitable for use in ceramic products. Sand has been produced along the New River south of Independence and some gravel has been obtained for road work.
Prospect work has been done on occurrences of barite near Elk Creek, south west of Riverside, and southwest of Independence, and on kyanite-bearing pegmatites that occur between Galax and Baywood, but commercial deposits have not been established. Other materials present in the county include unakite, south of Troutdale, and vein quartz that occurs at a number of scattered localities.
Source: State Water Control Board, supplied by the Bureau of Water Control Management, in the Dec 1973 "Data Summary:Grayson County and Galax City," Division of State Planning and Community Affairs, Richmond, Virginia
Grayson County is underlain mostly by igneous and metamorphic rocks. Folded and faulted sedimentary rocks underlie an area one to 3 miles wide along the northwestern border of the county.
The area underlain by igneous and metamorphic rocks is divided into western and eastern portions by a faulted zone, approximately two miles wide, that extends from Fries to Bethany Courthouse. Wells in this zone, which contain two major faults, crossed several times by the New River, average 63 feet in depth and 17 gallons per minute in yield. The largest reported yield from a single well is 50 gallons per minute, but accurate pump tests have not always been conducted and no well is deeper than 148 feet or larger than six inches in diameter. Deeper wells of a larger diameter located at selected sites would probably obtain greater yields.
In the portion of the county west of the faulted zone and east of the sedimentary rocks, wells average 86 feet in depth and 17 gallons per minute in yield. Well depths range from 43 to 407 feet and are generally related to the topographic location; the higher the well site, the deeper the well. Yields range from 1 to 60 gallons per minute and are not proportionate to depth but to the size and number of water-filled rock openings penetrated. In general, the favorable factors of rock openings, a thick weathered zone and good recharge conditions are most often encountered in areas of lower elevation. Fracture openings are seldom penetrated deeper than 300 feet. The largest reported yield from a single well in this portion is 60 gallons per minute and was obtained from a well less than 200 feet deep. No records are available for wells located in the narrow belt of sedimentary rocks along the northwestern border of the county.
In the portion of the county east of the faulted zone, wells average slightly over 100 feet in depth and 13 gallons per minute in yield. Conditions for the most favorable location and depth of wells are similar to those in the portion west of the faulted zone. The highest yield reported in the county is 75 gallons per minute from a 250-foot well located near Galax. In most places adequate data on well capacities are not available because few attempts have been made to properly test wells for maximum yield.
The water is soft to moderately hard and is generally of better chemical
and bacterial quality when obtained from depths greater than 100 feet. Water obtained from the weathered zone that averages 60 feet in thickness is often muddy and may be polluted. This shallow-water zone is usually cased off in preference to the better quality water obtained from bedrock openings, although acid conditions and water with a high-iron content occur in some localities. Water from springs is used for some domestic purposes, but may require treatment before being accepted
for public use.
July 21, 2005, Revised September 14, 2006