Gov. Ralph Northam will attend Thursday’s officially opening of Widewater State Park along the Potomac River and Aquia Creek in North Stafford.

The $43 million park, Virginia’s 38th, is being built in three phases, with phase one complete with the opening. Its aim, in part, is to preserve and protect the peninsula where Capt. John Smith once walked. The park will offer programs highlighting its natural, historical and cultural resources.

Phase one includes two completed shelters (two more will be built later), one on the Potomac side and one of the Aquia side; a full service visitors’ center with displays, two restrooms, two canoe/kayak launches, two playgrounds and individual picnic bads.

It also features a paddle-in campsite allows canoes/kayaks to follow the Capt. John Smith Trail.

The park also has a non-swimming beach. Plans call for the construction of a floating dock for the Aquia canoe/kayak launch for handicap accessibility. Other phases also include a trail system to include a full-service campsite.

The opening ceremony is set for 10 a.m., rain or shine, at the visitors’ center, 101 Widewater State Park Road.

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