Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority Gifted Land in Guinea That Will Be Used For Recreation

The sun rises over the beach at Gloucester Point Monday morning March 2, 2020.

The Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority has been gifted with a parcel of land in the Guinea area of Gloucester County that will support passive recreation and be a natural area for flood mitigation.

The seven acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands on Kings Creek Road will be recognized as the Powers-King Nature area, where outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, birding and boating. The land is also a natural area for flood mitigation to help protect families from the region’s most critical natural hazard — flooding from severe storms.

“It is through generous donations that the Public Access Authority can provide outdoor recreation opportunities at different scales for the citizens of Gloucester and the Middle Peninsula to enjoy,” said Lewie Lawrence, Executive Director of the Middle Peninsula District Planning Commission and Secretary and lead planner for the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority. “This particular parcel will help to protect the families in Guinea by ensuring that a natural buffer remains.”

The gift was made in memory of Etta Sterling Powers, granddaughter of Isaac H. King. Etta was raised by her grandparents, Ike and Sarah King, after losing her mother at the age of 1 in 1903. They treated her as a daughter and encouraged her to love learning. When Ike King died in 1930, he left the land that was called Sarah’s Swamp to Etta. After her death, her only daughter, Alma Powers Dudley, inherited it and bequeathed it to her six daughters, who were intent on making it a memorial.

One of those daughters, Jane Skaare, connected with Lawrence, who suggested that the land parcel become a natural habitat for birders, photographers and hikers. The family embraced the idea, with Skaare calling Etta’s story “a memory well worth preserving.”

Skaare encourages everyone to “enjoy the Powers-King Nature area down on Kings Creek Road in Guinea.” She’s passionate about sharing Etta’s memories, which include a romance with a farmer and fisherman named Malvin who lived across the Severn River in Naxera. The story goes that during one of his “old hen” dinners prepared by Etta, her uncles pranked him by hoisting his skiff into a tree.

“Long workdays, hard play and lots of smiles defined the lives of those tough watermen,” Skaare said.

The Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority was created by the Virginia General Assembly on April 7, 2002, and ratified by participating localities on June 13, 2003. The Public Access Authority recognizes that shorelines are high priority natural areas and that it is critical to set aside access sites for all types of recreational activities important to our economy and to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As a regional leader in addressing public access issues, the Authority understands the importance of public outreach and quality education as it relates to water access and strives to better inform the public on issues of public access.

Its members are the Counties of Essex, Gloucester, King & Queen, King William, Mathews and Middlesex, and the Towns of Tappahannock, Urbanna and West Point.

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