South Branch Vision & Values

Workshop participants established the following Vision for the South Branch Valley: 

We envision a scenic and rural South Branch valley that contains abundant clean water in streams and rivers, a thriving rural economy with well-managed and productive family farms, forests and natural areas and responsible tourism based on outdoor recreation and the celebration of local history and culture.


Participants identified the following core Values that must be conserved in order to achieve the vision (in priority order):

1. Clean and Abundant Water

2. Rural Agricultural Lifestyle

3. Wildlife Habitat

4. Outdoor Recreation 


Participants identified the following priority Characteristics to define the most important lands within each value (listed in priority order):

'Clean and Abundant Water' Priority Characteristics

  1. Areas identified by Chesapeake Bay Program as important for Water Quality
  2. Riparian Buffers
  3. Forested Headwaters
  4. Lands Distant from Roads and Other Areas with Impervious Surface Cover

'Rural Agricultural Lifestyle' Priority Characteristics

  1. Family Farm Special Characteristics (generational family land, owner-operated farms, & 4H/FFA activity
  2. Large Blocks of Forest and Agricultural Land
  3. Prime Soils
  4. Lands in Close Proximity to Protected Areas

'Wildlife Habitat' Priority Characteristics

  1. Rare and Unique Habitat Types
  2. Core Habitat (large blocks of intact natural lands)
  3. Habitat Connectivity
  4. High Landscape Complexity
  5. Close Proximity to Protected Areas

'Outdoor Recreation' Priority Characteristics

  1. High Water Quality Stream and River Reaches
  2. Bald Eagle Habitat
  3. The Trough
  4. Game Fish Habitat
  5. Scenic Viewsheds (from River, Potomac Eagle Train, River Road)