RLEP’s Mission, History, and Accomplishments

The Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection is dedicated to preserving the natural resources and rural character of Rappahannock County, Virginia.

Who and What We Are

  • A local citizen-based conservation group open to all who share our values and vision.

  • A non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation staffed by volunteers. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The League is non-partisan and does not support political candidates.

  • Affiliated with state and regional conservation groups, including the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Virginia Conservation Network.

  • Guided by a Board of Directors comprised of county residents, local landowners, and regional enthusiasts.

A Little History. In 1970, eighty-five conservationists in a young environmental group challenged a giant utility’s plans to erect huge towers and 138,000-volt transmission lines through the heart of Rappahannock County. RLEP led a 15-month fight that forced the utility to withdraw its plans. In the years since, the League has confronted other threats to the rural community it serves. Now one of the region’s senior conservation groups, RLEP is a strong voice for environmental protection and carefully planned growth—a voice heard well beyond the county’s borders.

A Sense of Values. In all its activities, RLEP is guided by a sense of values rooted in the preservation of Rappahannock County’s priceless natural resources, farm land, scenic beauty, and rural character. We support policies and actions that protect and enhance these gifts, and oppose those that threaten to destroy or degrade them.

As unchecked growth in surrounding counties continues to threaten our rural landscape, it is more important that ever for Rappahannock citizens to support this agenda of preservation. The League’s program emphasizes a comprehensive approach:

  • Education. RLEP publishes a newsletter, the RLEP News, maintains this website, and sponsors numerous educational programs to benefit county residents.

  • Natural resources. The League works for the preservation of open space and scenic beauty through scenic river and road designations, use-value taxation, protection of wildlife habitat and ecosystems, and conscientious stewardship of public and private lands. Protection of the county’s scenic ridge tops and erosion-prone mountain slopes also is critical to maintaining the beauty of the Blue Ridge and the quality of water throughout our watersheds and beyond.

  • Farming. RLEP recognizes that farmland generates more property-tax revenues than its occupants receive in county services, while subdivisions generate high-cost needs for schools, sewers, streets, and services in excess of tax revenues received. The League supports lower assessments for farm and forest land that reflect this reality. We also favor the continuing establishment of agricultural and forestal districts and the County’s Purchase of Development Rights program for farmers. Preserving farms helps save the county’s scenic vistas, rural lifestyle, and its appeal to tourists.

We need your help in these important endeavors. If you are not already a member, click on this link to JOIN US!