Canal beside White Mill to become swift water rescue training center and white water rafting channel

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:22 PM EST
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DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - The canal alongside the White Mill was once used to support the factory in the 1900s.

Danville Parks and Recreation is planning to bring life back to the canal by nearly doubling its size.

“What you see today is a portion of what the canal used to be,” said Bill Sgrinia, Director of Danville Parks and Recreation. “Now the water comes in, through some head gates comes into the canal and then flows back into the river through some pipes. What we are planning to do is to open up somewhat of the original canal and turn that into a recreational amenity.”

Developers are in the engineering phase, but plan to create a white-water rafting course for the community to enjoy.

“We can control the amount of water that comes into the canal. It can be easier or more difficult depending on the amount of water. So, there could be a raft concession running there where people could come down and do multiple raft trips in a day, or it could be turned down with possibly inner tubes,” added Sgrinia.

It will also function as a swift water training center for first responders.

“Depending on water levels, water temperatures, weather conditions, they’re only able to train so often or have ideal conditions. Since we can control the water levels, we can at least have it available almost any time for people to train in,” explained Sgrinia.

After the engineering phase, which could take up to a year to complete, they will begin fundraising, which will determine when construction will begin.