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Update for Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR)-managed locations

If you are older than 17-years-of-age, you need a permit to use any Virginia DWR (formerly the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)-managed locations, which includes boat launches (this mandate is relevant to operators of boats, kayaks, canoes, tubes, paddleboards) and parking lots at all wildlife areas. See the below photo (from the DWR website) for affected North Fork boat launch locations. 

To launch at a DWR-owned or managed access point you must have a valid Virginia hunting, trapping, or fishing license, a DWR Restore the Wild membership, an access permit, or current certificate of boat registration issued by DWR. You can buy these using the Go Outdoors Virginia licensing app or at Please take note of the new signage at each location as it reflects these changes.

This change is relevant to DWR-managed locations, but remember that Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) manages Seven Bends State Park and the boat launches there are usable without such a permit. They require standard Virginia state park fees/passes for enjoyment of the river. 

More information specific to the DWR permitting changes can be found here on their website.