Crab pot workshop, history of watermen slated at Belle Isle
, 2015

Crab pot workshop, history
of watermen slated at Belle Isle

At Belle Isle State Park this weekend, you can make a crab pot and learn about the watermen who use crab pots to make a living.

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Park ranger Andy Ransone will serve as instructor for a crab pot-making workshop Saturday, July 26, at Belle Isle State Park.

The crab-pot making workshop begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 26. The program will take place in the picnic area and be led by park ranger Andy Ransone.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, July 27, Richard Moncure of the Friends of the Rappahannock will present “A Brief History of Watermen on the Northern Neck” at Belle Isle.

Ransone’s family dates from the early settlers of the Northern Neck who arrived in the 1600s. He grew up on Deep Creek which borders the park, and worked on the farm that occupied the land many years before it became a state park, said chief ranger of visitor experience and volunteer manager Charlene Talcott. 

Ransone spent six years as a full-time commercial waterman, but due to low oyster production had to pursue other occupations, said Talcott. He has been a ranger at Belle Isle State Park since 1999, as well as farming several hundred acres. He has continued to work the water over the years, including crabbing, oyster dredging and tonging, fishing and gill netting.

Workshop participants will make a crab pot while learning the history of watermen and crabbing in the area, she said. After so many years on the water and gathering generations of stories, Ransone has lots of interesting information to pass on.

Crab pots are $30 each, and include all materials. Reservations are requested; call 462-5030.

Moncure ail explain how, for thousands of years, people of the Northern Neck sustained themselves by harvesting the rich resources of the land and surrounding waters, said Talcott.

John Smith described a large variety of seafood, and many were able to become wealthy from the abundance, said Talcott. Today, men and women still practice the trade they love despite struggles with regulations and reduced harvests.

The Sunday program is free and takes place at the Visitor Center.

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