Route 151 is a scenic byway that begins at Route 250 and travels through Nellysford and over Brent’s Mountain. It is well-traveled, with numerous business locations, and serves as a throughway for trucks to take a shortcut, avoiding I-64, on their way to Route 29. The scenic views are memorable but are sometimes marred by trash and litter.
In 2016, a conversation on Facebook led to the creation of Friends of 151. A comment by John Howard of Wintergreen, saying, “Route 151 looks trashy – let’s clean it up,” led to action by Howard, Lisa Davis of Beech Grove, Tracy Steenstra-Barry and Peter Barry with Michael McDade of Afton. These committed residents organized to adopt the highway and have now grown in numbers.
This year they are planning their fifth season and cover the 14 mile stretch one mile at a time. There are Adopt a Highway mile markers at both ends of the highway identifying a commitment for the organized effort every Spring and Fall. Depending on the weather, up to 26 volunteers can be seen in orange vests following an assigned plan for one-mile designations. A set-up table provides registration for individuals who are outfitted with necessary supplies, including gloves, bag, vest and the focus area to work with a team of two to four volunteers.
The effort attracted the attention recently of Elizabeth Tuel, corporate social responsibility manager at Devil’s Backbone (DB) Brewing Company. DB created a Heartland Initiative in 2017 and looks for opportunities to promote employee volunteerism. In late November, fourteen employee volunteers provided three hours each to the cleanup project. The Company Days of Service program provides $100 donations to a non-profit of the employee’s choice for eight hours of service. Ideas like these could become a helpful way for the growing Rockfish Valley to build a strong community.