By JASON DUNOVANT
Christmas Tree Island, a popular lake landmark, is now off limits to visitors. After being used by boaters for decades as a stopping point along the lake, “No Trespassing” signs have been placed around the island.
The change came after a fire there March 30 that burned nearly an acre, according to a report from the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Department.
“Prior to the fire, the owner didn’t mind people being out there,” said Tyler Routon, a conservation officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
In addition to being a hang-out spot for boaters, Boy Scout troops had camped on the island for years.
Anyone caught on the island now can be charged with trespassing, a class 1 misdemeanor that could result in up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500, Routon said.
Boaters are allowed to drop anchor 10 or 15 feet off shore, but are not allowed to be on the island.
The 3-acre island has been for sale since 2015. The current asking price is $600,000.