News Articles

Improvements at Existing Frank Wilson Park Entrance

July 28, 2022

Improvements at Existing Frank Wilson Park Entrance

The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) improved the existing J. Frank Wilson Memorial Park entrance on Oakdale Street to a more inviting and welcoming park entrance.  The Oakdale Street entrance is near the Virginia Museum of Natural History in uptown Martinsville.  Improvements include signage, flower planters, and a litter cleanup by volunteers.  The project was funded by a special interest grant through the Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia.  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

Butler Legacy Fund

July 1, 2022

Butler Legacy Fund

Two Organizations Join Together to Create The Butler Legacy Fund

T & Lindley Butler, long-time residents of Wentworth, NC are being honored by the Museum of Archives of Rockingham County (MARC) and the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA).  The two organizations have joined together to create the Butler Legacy Fund, to support projects that have both historical and environmental relevance in Rockingham County, NC.  

“I am honored by the MARC and DRBA’s desire to establish the Butler Legacy Fund,” said T Butler. “My husband and I both believed in the amazing potential of Rockingham County, and I am thrilled that the Fund will enable these two outstanding organizations to continue making a difference for the people who live, work and play in the place that nurtured us for over fifty years.”

The Butlers have accomplished more than most can only dream of, they were founders of both the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the Museum & Archives of Rockingham County (MARC).  

“It is hard to imagine a more appropriate way to honor Lindley and T Butler than something that combines their passions the way the Butler Legacy Fund does,” said Jeffrey Bullins, President of the Board of Directors of the MARC. “The MARC Board of Directors look forward to working with DRBA on completing projects using the Butler Legacy Fund that will continue achieving the vision the Butler’s have had regarding North Carolina history and environment.”

The Butlers have made an enormous contribution to Rockingham County, NC and the surrounding region.  They have given their time, talent and treasure to dozens of organizations and projects that have made a positive, tangible impact for the people in the entire region and continue to make a difference today.  Sadly, Lindley Butler passed away in May, 2022.

The first project of the Butler Legacy Fund will be to restore and renovate the Batteau Exhibit at the MARC. 

"The batteau replica at the MARC highlights the importance of Dan River commerce in the nineteenth century, where skilled boatmen transported agricultural products from Stokes and Rockingham counties downriver to markets, then brought finished goods back upstream,” said T Butler. “The expert batteau crews were almost exclusively enslaved Africans before the Civil War, and free Blacks after the war. The mural depicts a batteau at Leaksville Landing.”

Almost two decades ago, one of DRBA’s first projects was to highlight the historical relevance of the batteau system in Rockingham County. The organization held events on a replica batteau and took passengers up and down rivers in the Dan River Basin. Not only did these events put people at ease about recreating on the river, it was an opportunity for DRBA to promote protection of the local natural resources.  That replica now resides in an exhibit at the MARC.

“This restoration project is the perfect project to inaugurate the Butler Legacy Fund,” said Tiffany Haworth, DRBA’s Executive Director. “It combines both DRBA and the MARC’s missions. Neither organization would be here today without T and Lindley’s foresight and leadership. Every person that lives and visits Rockingham County – in fact, in the entire Dan River watershed – owes a huge debt of gratitude to this amazing couple.”

The Butler Legacy Fund is accepting donations now for this project.  The project includes weatherproofing the replica batteau and building a structure around it for protection, installing a batteau mural, and installing new, updated informational signage at the exhibit. The estimated cost of the project is $10,000.00.  Once the funds are raised, the project can begin.

“Completing the batteau exhibit by installing the mural was one of Lindley fond wishes,” said T Butler. “He would be delighted that this was selected as the first Butler Legacy Fund project."

To donate to the Butler Legacy Fund, please visit: or

Nature Detour Trail Opens to Public

July 1, 2022

Nature Detour Trail Opens to Public

New Trail Opens at Jack Dalton Park

The new Nature Detour Trail located at Jack Dalton Park is now open to the public. This natural surface trail is designed to inspire people to immerse themselves in nature and learn more about native plants.                                                                

Jack Dalton Park is used widely by residents for walking, biking, picnicking and sporting events.  Before the Nature Detour Trail was constructed, the experience at the park was fully on pavement and with little shelter from the sun.  The Nature Detour Trail gives walkers and runners an opportunity to step into a wooded area and learn something new about their local environment.

“The Nature Detour Trail adds an exciting recreational opportunity for the thousands of people that visit Jack Dalton Park every year,” said Roger Adams, Director of Parks & Recreation at Henry County.  “We are grateful to the Rotary Clubs and Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) for creating a way for people to take a detour from pavement for a few minutes and enjoy nature.”

The Nature Detour Trail was funded by the Martinsville Uptown Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Martinsville, and the Henry County Rotary Club in partnership with DRBA and with additional support from David Jones, of Jones & DeShon Orthodontics in Martinsville, and his son, David Jones, of Roanoke Valley Orthodontics.  

Rotary Club members rolled up their sleeves and volunteered at the site to construct the trail and plant native plants along the trail during its construction. 

“The Rotary Clubs worked together to make this new trail a reality for the people who live in our community,” Jim Woods of the Rotary Clubs of Martinsville and Henry County . “We hope everyone gets the chance to walk this short trail and get inspired to enjoy other trails in the region.  In addition, we hope that people learn something about the importance of native plants and protection of our natural resources.”

DRBA helps plan and construct trails, parks and river access points in the 3,300 square miles of the Dan River Basin watershed.  Please join us and help protect our natural and cultural resources. 

Storm Drain Medallion Dedication in Martinsville, VA

July 1, 2022

Storm Drain Medallion Dedication in Martinsville, VA

Dedication of Uptown Storm Drains with Permanent Markers

On June 30, 2022, the Mayor of the City of Martinsville, Kathy Lawson presided over the dedication of permanent storm drain markers in Uptown.  This project, funded by the Martinsville Uptown Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Martinsville, and the Henry County Rotary Club in partnership with the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) was initiated to bring awareness to the need to protect the water in our local streams and creeks in Uptown Martinsville as they all drain into the Smith River.  This was the third and final event of the Inspire Clean Water project supported by the Rotary Clubs. 

“This project will leave a lasting legacy to inspire clean water and environmental protection in Uptown,” said Kathy Lawson, Mayor, City of Martinsville. “Storms drains work by diverting rainwater and melting snow into nearby bodies of water. Every time it rains, water runs off of roofs and into the street, unfortunately bringing oil, litter, debris and toxins with it. This water then flows into storm drains and then through a system of pipes directly into waterways such as a streams and rivers.  It is important that nothing but water ever enters a storm drain.”

The first event, held in October, 2021, inspired people to understand how storm drains work when the Rotary Club members and teens from the Boys & Girls Club painted twelve drains in Uptown Martinsville with the inscription “No Dumping, Drains to River.”  The second event was completed in Spring, 2022, when three winners from the Rotary-sponsored elementary, middle and high school art contests painted their creations on three storm drains in Uptown.   This final event completes the project with more than a dozen permanent medallions in Uptown reminding people that the storm drains empty in the Smith River.

“Storm Drain Marking is a tangible way to actively engage and motivate citizens to learn more about the connection between storm water and the quality of our rivers,” Dennis Reeves of the Rotary Clubs of Martinsville and Henry County. “We hope this dedication of permanent markers will not only make people think twice about littering, but will also improve the health of our amazing Smith River.”

We all Live downstream. Learn more about storm drain marking and how you can support and protect waterways in your community. Get involved with DRBA!

VA Save Our Streams Training - Field Day Session

May 3, 2022

VA Save Our Streams Training - Field Day Session

Register Now for the VA SOS Field Day Training Session!

Become an official certified Virginia Save Our Streams water quality monitor to see how healthy your local streams are.

Date and time
Wed, June 22, 2022
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

South Martinsville River Access
184 Tensbury Drive
Martinsville, VA 24112

About this Event
VA Save Our Streams (SOS) is a fun way to test water quality by collecting and identifying underwater insects, called macroinvertebrates. The Izaak Walton League is partnering with the Dan River Basin Association to provide a workshop for those who wish to become a certified VA SOS Monitor and have their data utilized by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

This is the second step in becoming a VA SOS monitor.  Attendees must complete the online portion of the certification in order to attend the field day session. Space is limited - early registration is recommended for the field day session.  Click here learn more and register!