I read with interest the coverage by the Loudoun Times Mirror about the recent Fair Access public symposium where I was invited to speak about White’s Ferry’s future and wanted to underscore the importance of opening the ferry to local citizens.
My wife and I bought White’s Ferry in early 2021 after it closed down following a long legal dispute with the owners of the 700-acre Rockland Farms based in Loudoun—which neighbors the landing site. Our goal was to purchase the Virginia land site or negotiate a permanent easement so that the ferry never ceases operating again. Like the previous owners, we have been unable to come to reasonable terms at a fair price so that the ferry remains an affordable way to cross the river.
By way of background, the owner of Rockland Farms sued the previous ferry operator—who owned White’s Ferry for approximately 70 years—for “trespass.” This followed a storm which required rebuilding a retaining well. The trespass was a very minor incursion beyond an unmarked flood plain border at the edge of the easement. The ensuing debate over a few feet of land directly resulted in the permanent closure of the ferry.
The public interest of keeping this 300+ year-old crossing operational should outweigh Rockland’s Farm’s ongoing and lengthy legal dispute over a few feet of otherwise unusable land. Disrupting commuters in two states who use an established road that does not materially encroach on their property and in fact has enhanced its value for centuries is not right for our communities on both sides of the Potomac.
White’s Ferry should have a reasonable expectation to access the crossing as it has since the Revolutionary War and the owners of Rockland Farms are entitled to reasonable compensation. Yet, most importantly, the public is entitled to get this important first crossing of the Potomac River safely operational and open.
We stand ready and willing. We had hoped to find a resolution that worked for all parties, however now it will be up to the local and state governments as they explore acquiring the land through eminent domain. We support whatever makes it possible to ensure this ferry remains a source of economic prosperity for our region and its citizens.
Owner, White’s Ferry
CEO, JK Moving