Along with the Rappahannock River, the canal system played a big part in the early industrial history of Fredericksburg (check it out here, and get some info about more recent history here). Displays along the way describe aspects of the canal’s history, ecology, and wildlife. There are wetlands and ponds, including one that was ringed with people fishing (a big sign indicated that the pond was part of the “Urban Fishing Program,” and is stocked with trout and channel catfish). The path has recently been upgraded, and the footbridges that connect the path to the city’s residential streets have been renovated. Oh, it’s not all idyllic nature trail—there’s plenty of trash, and the muddy-looking canal isn’t exactly picturesque. Still, it was a pleasant alternative to our usual downtown walks. Here are a few photos:
A boardwalk leads through wetlands to a small pond where if you're lucky, you'll see some waterfowl. We saw a few ducks and an unidentified long-legged water bird of some sort (that white speck on a big rock). Birdwatchers we are not.
The trail ends on the river, down by the old (now demolished) Embrey Dam. It wasn't Sunday, so rather than take our lives in our hands, we decided to wait until the end of hunting season before exploring the river trail we found down here. Just don't get me started on why the hunters get to monopolize public property for three solid months with their disturbing habit. I think the city ought to at least keep things sporting, and for the duration of hunting season, stock the area with bears.