Building parks, building character
It’s not every teenager’s idea of a good time: sweating in the summer heat, clearing brush and hauling debris. But for Nina Jehle, the opportunity was too good to pass up. “I love being outdoors,” she explained, “and I was always up for anything that let me get my hands on a pulaski.” As a participant in the Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps, or YCC, Jehle used the combination axe and mattock to install wooden braces along hillside trails and to dismantle bridges damaged by Hurricane Isabel.
Jehle signed on for YCC in 2002, the year the program was revived and revamped after lying dormant since the 1970s. She so enjoyed the experience that she twice returned as a supervisor after heading off to college.
Philip Johnson tells much the same story. He first heard about YCC in2004, and casually decided to give it a try. “I was about to go into my senior year, and it was a good way for me to make a little money—you know, just get out and work,” he recalled. “It was just a great experience. After my first year, I decided to come back as a supervisor.”
The YCC provides Virginians ages 14 to 17 with work experience and exposes them to careers in natural resources stewardship. Participants, who receive a$500 stipend, work in crews of 8 to 12 alongside college-age supervisors. Virginia state parks host two YCC sessions each summer; each session is three weeks long.
While many teenagers spend summer vacation sleeping till noon, YCC members wake with the sun: “We’d get up about 7 a.m., have breakfast, do a little bit of exercises. Then we would work from nine to three or four o’clock, with a lunch break for about an hour,” said Johnson. But the program isn’t all hard work. Johnson spent many afternoons swimming and relaxing on the lakeshore. “After dinner,” he recalled, “we just talked and played around with the other guys.”
Dr. James Jordan, a professor of archeology at Longwood University and naturalist at Holliday Lake State Park, led educational programs for the park’s first YCC crew last summer. He took the all-male crew on night hikes to call for owls and took them panning for gold, just as the area’s first European settlers did in1837. The crewmembers also learned about the area’s prehistoric Native American residents. “The YCC guys really enjoyed looking at the Indian artifacts,” said Jordan.
In return, the YCC crewmembers gathered specimens of tree bark, moss and lichen, as well as rocks and minerals for use in Jordan’s interpretive programs. “They assisted me by collecting a botanical collection, which I will be using for then ext several years in my work at the park,” said Jordan. “If I had done it myself, it would have taken a week of walking around in the woods to gather all this.”
Between 160 and 190 students take part in YCC each summer, with an aver-age of 15 Virginia state parks hosting YCC crews. Many YCC crews also do off-site work in natural areas and wildlife refuges. Besides exposing youth from the city to the great outdoors, YCC gives all participants the chance to explore a region of Virginia distinctly different from their own. A youth from Virginia Beach could end up in the mountains at Hungry Mother State Park, for example.
“YCC has taken me to places that I would not have seen otherwise, and they’ve been spectacular,” said Jehle. “I’ve been able to do a lot of incredible things, from spelunking and canoeing at Natural Tunnel State Park, to crabbing and sailing on the Chesapeake Bay at Kiptopeke.”
“Not only have I learned about the different ecosystems across the state, I’ve been able to experience the different cultures,” Jehle continued. As a YCC supervisor, Jehle took her YCC crew to hear old-time country and bluegrass music at the Carter Family Memorial Music Center in Hiltons, Va. “Appalachian culture is fascinating,” she said, “and you sure can’t learn how to flatfoot anywhere else in the world.”
YCC participants also experience Virginia’s diversity within their crews, which include students from many regions of the Commonwealth. Organizers encourage participation by urban and disabled youth as well as stu-dents already involved in outdoor recreation and environmental advocacy.
“You have guys from all different walks of life in Virginia: You have some guys who are a little bit wealthier, some who are not as wealthy, different nationalities,” said Johnson, himself an African-American from Richmond. “And really, in a sense, when everybody sat down and talked, everybody had the same things on their mind.”
Both Johnson and Jehle remain in touch with the friends they made as YCC crewmembers, and as supervisors were satisfied to know their work would foster lifelong friendships. “I can’t imagine not knowing four of the most amazing girls,” said Jehle. “I won’t be surprised if we’re sitting in rocking chairs reminiscing when we’re in our 80s.”
Discovering their potential
The camaraderie developed among crewmembers pays off on the job. Besides cultivating an earnest work ethic, the YCC experience teaches the value of teamwork. According to Johnson, “That actually was the hardest part: to get everybody on the same page. Once we started working together, the work was easy. We were knocking out miles of trail in a few hours.”
Jehle echoed the sentiment. “Learning how to navigate group dynamics and be a team player is essential for success in the adult world, and for many of the crewmembers, YCC was … the first time they have been away from home and the first time they’ve had to live with strangers. It’s excellent college and real-world prep.”
Jehle added that she learned as much as a supervisor as she did as crewmember. “I’ve learned how to teach and motivate … how to communicate expectations and let people know if they aren’t meeting them. For me, that was the hard part; I don’t like being the bad guy.”
“I get calls and letters from parents who thought they had hoodwinked us—they had pawned off on us a bad apple, a selfish young person,” said State Parks Director Joe Elton. “Then when they come home, their parents wonder what happened. Their son or daughter really is anew person who is more respectful of their siblings and their parents, more helpful around the house. They’ve learned skill sets that will be helpful throughout life.”
At Holliday Lake, naturalist Jordan readily admits that he too learned from the YCC experience, and he looks for-ward to hosting a new crop of YCC recruits this year. “I am now 63 years old,” he mused. “I know it might sound corny, but I remembered what it was like to be young by watching these guys for three weeks in the woods.”
“We’re having our second one this summer,” Jordan said, excitedly. “It’s going to be one of the high points of my summer. Now that I know how rewarding it is to have YCC campers around, I’m really looking forward to it. I can hardly wait till they get here.”
If you’re interested in being a 2007 YCC participant, please visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/ycc.shtml, or contact Gaston Rouse, State Parks YCC Coordinator, at(703) 583-5497. Applications are being accepted.
International recognition and 50 preserves in just 20 years
History of Natural Heritage
DCR, in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy, created in 1986 the Natural Heritage Program to identify, protect and be a steward of Virginia's biodiversity. The first inventory and information management staff members were hired to catalog information about Virginia's rare, threatened and endangered species and natural communities.
Having proved its importance to DCR, the program gained official status in 1989. That same year, the General Assembly passed the Natural Area Preserves Act, establishing the Natural Heritage Program and the Preserve System by law. Just one year later, DCR's first natural area preserve was set aside at North Landing River in Virginia Beach. In the first decade, DCR had dedicated 10,000 acres to the Natural Areas Preserve System.
Today, the staff of DCR’s Natural Heritage Program has grown to 64 employees in five key areas: inventory, information management and project review, natural areas protection and stewardship. It now has roughly 42,000 acres protected in the Natural Areas Preserve System, and collects information on 233 natural community types, 194 vertebrates, 611 invertebrates and 625 plant species. More than 1,800 sites have been identified for conservation status, protecting more than 5,000 rare species populations and natural communities.
These impressive numbers reflect 20 years of hard work and dedication — dedication that has earned international recognition.
In 1994, the Nature Conservancy honored DCR’s program as the best natural heritage program in the Western Hemisphere. NatureServe, a nonprofit conservation organization that is the leading source of information on rare and endangered species, granted the second recognition in 2006. The Outstanding Conservation Impact Award acknowledged the program for its outstanding efforts to lead biodiversity conservation action.
“I am impressed by the commitment of the Virginia Natural Heritage Program’s staff to conservation and leadership,” said NatureServe President Mary Klein when announcing the award. “Virginia’s program is recognized around the country as the best in the business, and Tom Smith and his colleagues are national leaders who set an example to be followed.” Tom Smith is the director of the Natural Heritage Program.
The Natural Heritage Program’s work was also acclaimed by Secretary of Natural Resources, Preston Bryant. “The Commonwealth of Virginia has among the most historic natural resources in the nation,” said Bryant. “From our Chesapeake Bay to our famed Blue Ridge Mountains, ours is truly an environment rich in biodiversity, and our professional staff is single-minded in its mission to protect and promote the natural resources that make Virginia the place people around the world love to visit.”
Landmark natural area preserve
The excitement of 2006 continues this year, when the Natural Area Preserve System acquires its 50th preserve. This preserve would bring the count to 317 rare plant and animal species and natural communities at 525 mapped locations protected on the Natural Area Preserve System. At present the leading prospect to come in the door as number 50 is a site called Chestnut Creek Wetlands in Floyd County. Preserving this 235-acre parcel of land will protect an important wetland habitat and two globally rare animal species.
These are just two of the native animals in one habitat that are being protected by the staff of DCR’s Natural Heritage Program. The past 20 years of work have aided in the survival of countless creatures in order to keep Virginia close to its natural state for its citizens. We are excited to see what the next 20 years will bring.
Last year was exciting for DCR’s Natural Heritage Program, which celebrated three milestones:
News from DCR Director Joseph H. Maroon
Meeting Virginia’s Land Conservation Needs
In the most recent edition of Grassroots, we wrote about Gov. Tim Kaine’s announcement of preserving an additional 400,000 acres of open space by 2010. I am pleased to report that DCR is playing a key role in the efforts to meet this ambitious goal as many of our programs contribute to the conservation and protection of Virginia’s important resource lands.
First of all, why is land conservation so important? Virginia is blessed to have an abundance of natural resources that make the Commonwealth an attractive place to live, work and visit. All of us want to see the distinctive landscapes of the region preserved, and yet they are often threatened. Conserving Virginia’s important resource lands will not only enhance our quality of life but also provide many other benefits. Land conservation boosts agricultural, forestry and tourism industries; improves air and water quality; protects sensitive habitats, natural areas and historic sites; and provides parks, open spaces and areas to boat, fish and hunt.
Over the past 10 years, Virginia has lost about 165 acres a day to development, or almost 60,000 acres a year. As we enter 2007, we will commemorate the anniversary of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown. It is striking to note that 25 percent of the state’s development over the past 400 years has occurred in the last 15 years. These startling numbers mean that land conservation today is perhaps more important than ever.
The public, along with leaders like Gov. Kaine, understands the importance of this effort. In the latest version of the Virginia Outdoors Survey (conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University for DCR), 95 percent of Virginians surveyed said it was either “very important” or “important” to protect Virginia’s natural and open spaces. Seventy-eight percent said it was important to spend public funds to save such areas.
So what is DCR doing?
The acquisitions we have made in recent years of new state park sites and natural area preserves are perhaps the most evident examples of DCR’s support of the goal. Since 2003, DCR has acquired land for five new parks across the Commonwealth, and we are negotiating on a sixth site. We have also more than doubled the acreage in the state’s natural area preserve system in the last four years and expect the total number of preserves to reach 50 in the next several weeks. Much of this work was made possible by bond funding supported by voters in 2002. Additionally, it has been the result of intense staff work, willing landowners, local government partners, and assistance from key partners such as the Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy. As a result, the department now manages more than 100,000 acres and nearly 90 sites.
Another very important part of our work is DCR’s Office of Land Conservation (OLC). While the office has two workers, several other DCR staff members also support the effort. The OLC helps guide landowners who wish to conserve their lands, and the office offers training and tools to organizations and agencies engaged in land protection. Recently, DCR coordinated a successful workshop for state employees on the basics of land conservation.
DCR also serves as primary staff to the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF), a citizen board whose members include appointees of the governor and legislature. VLCF makes matching land conservation grants that DCR manages. Currently, the VLCF is offering a competitive $5 million round of matching grants for state agencies, local governments and nonprofits. Gov. Kaine’s proposed budget amendments would add another $13 million to the VLCF grant monies.
DCR’s Natural Heritage staff has been involved for several years in building and maintaining the state’s most comprehensive Conservation Lands Database. This record of all known protected lands includes federal, state, local and private property. Staff also maintains a Conservation Lands Needs Assessment, which is a “wish list” of sensitive areas that should be under some form of protection status but are not yet conserved. This helps DCR and others target state funds toward sensitive areas and provides guidance for local conservation efforts. Staff has also answered the need for progress reports on the governor’s goal by surveying numerous organizations and agencies for their monthly land transactions.
DCR’s Planning and Recreation Resources staff also contributes to the effort. Its work on the Virginia Outdoors Plan, which is a publication produced every five years to provide guidance on Virginia’s recreational facilities, will include more land conservation information than ever. We hope to complete the plan by early 2007.
DCR has also been preparing to assume new responsibilities given to the agency by the governor and General Assembly regarding Virginia’s Land Preservation Tax Credit Program. After Jan. 1, 2007, every conservation easement and donation claiming $1 million or more in tax credits shall be reviewed by DCR for its “conservation value.” Accordingly, we worked diligently with interested agencies and partners to develop a set of review criteria, which was ultimately adopted by the VLCF board in late November. This new role for the agency will require close coordination with the Department of Taxation, which has primary responsibility for the tax credit program.
Other initiatives we are working on include the development of model easement language and templates to serve as guides for private land trusts and conservation organizations. We have also increased our partnership with the Department of Defense to get more protection around military bases and to promote conservation on base property.
Having Gov. Kaine and Secretary Preston Bryant’s full support and encouragement makes this an extraordinary time for everyone interested in protecting Virginia’s natural, historic and working lands. DCR is pleased to do its part.
You can keep tabs on the progress the state and its partners are making on this goal by reviewing the land conservation section of our website, www.dcr.virginia.gov/land_conservation. If you have any questions about any of the programs mentioned here, please contact DCR’s Office of Land Conservation at (804) 225-2048.
What does 400,000 acres mean? It sounds like a lot, but let’s put it in perspective.
Federal tax deduction law changes
State tax credit law changes
After Jan. 1, 2007
Workshops bring “Clarity” to the process
Passage of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act in 1988 impacted the long-term health of the bay, but it also affected localities in the coastal region of the state. Because land use activities in these localities have the most direct impact on the bay’s health, the act requires them to have stricter regulations on planning and development.
Addressing the need to help the localities with these important changes, DCR’s Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance (CBLA) staff held three workshops for local officials in June and September of 2006. The workshops introduced participants to a variety of existing land use tools that protect water quality. They also provided information on how to work these tools into existing codes, comprehensive plans and local processes.
Bay Act requirements for Tidewater Virginia
The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, or the Bay Act, requires the 84 localities in the Tidewater region of Virginia to make land use changes to protect the quality of America’s largest estuary, which is home to more than 3,600 different species and is an economic powerhouse that pumps billions of dollars into local economies each year. The act also established the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Program, which helps localities protect the bay and other state waters through sound land use management.
Emphasizing the importance of these changes, Joan Salvati, DCR’s CBLA director said, "The department has many programs aimed at the control of pollutants after they have been generated; this land use initiative will reduce pollutants at the source."
“The first set of changes called for localities to create and adopt ordinances based on criteria established by the act,” Salvati said. “These criteria affect how landowners can disturb their property and how homeowners maintain their septic systems. Stricter pollution limits affect agriculture and forestry practices and wetland permitting, as well.”
Localities are also required to map special areas of needed protection called Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas (CBPA), which are typically adjacent to waterways where land disturbance would have the most impact on water quality, such as wetlands and shorelines. Floodplains and highly erodible and permeable soils also are areas of concern.
The second, or integration, phase of Bay Act implementation required localities to adopt a comprehensive plan or plan element addressing the protection of the CBPA and water quality.
The first two stages are complete, and localities are now entering the third stage. This process necessitates a review of local codes and addresses areas where those codes conflict with Bay Act requirements and the protection of water quality.
"We look forward to working collaboratively with localities on the development and implementation of this component of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act," said Salvati.
With all of the new requirements built into the Bay Act, DCR realized there was a need for workshops to help localities understand how to incorporate water quality protection into their comprehensive plans and codes. With an overall title of “Clarity,” three workshops were held to address integrating land use and watershed planning, low impact development and riparian buffers.
The integrating land use and watershed planning workshop helped illustrate that everything collectively done to the land affects the quality of shared water. By planning communities on a watershed wide scale, localities can better protect resources. Since watersheds can cross local boundaries, watershed planning often builds partnerships between localities.
Low impact development
Another workshop focused on the use of low impact development (LID) techniques in community design and upgrades. Examples of LID are alternative stormwater management techniques and reduction of impervious surfaces. Other strategies are preservation of environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, floodplains, steep slopes and highly permeable soils. LID techniques are another important tool in the arsenal localities have in helping to improve the bay’s health.
The riparian buffer workshop focused on the importance of vegetated stretches of land lining the banks, or riparian area, of waterways. Buffers protect water quality by alleviating stormwater problems, curbing flooding, and reducing nutrient and sediment pollution. Buffers also provide wildlife habitat and protect wetlands.
The ideas presented in these workshops are valuable concepts for restoring health to the bay watershed, which encompasses 60 percent of Virginia and is home to two-thirds of its citizens. Panels of local officials from areas that have been successful in implementing Bay Act changes were available at all three workshops to talk about their experiences with the process.
Heather Barrar, environmental outreach coordinator for Chesterfield County, participated in one discussion panel.
“The panels were the highlight of the workshop,” she said. “It provided on-the-ground perspectives to participants and gave DCR the opportunity to hear local experiences with Bay Act issues.”
Overall, nearly 300 local officials participated in the Clarity workshops, mostly from Tidewater areas. Additional workshops are planned for western Virginia.
To learn more about any of the ideas mentioned in this article, visit DCR’s Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance website www.dcr.virginia.gov, or call 1-800-CHESBAY.
Trail heads north
On a beautiful October day at Westover Plantation in Charles City County, Gov. Kaine officially unveiled the Capt. John Smith’s Adventures on the James interpretive trail. In the ceremony, Kaine uncovered the first of 30 signs that tell the story of John Smith and his fellow Englishmen’s explorations and relationships with Virginia Indians from 1607 to 1609. These signs accompany the previously announced website, www.johnsmithtrail.org, posters, and a series of water trail and auto tour maps.
This trail has formed out of a unique partnership highlighting almost every kind of organization. DCR worked closely with the Virginia Council on Indians, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and Virginia Tourism Corporation. The trail received federal funding from the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
The James River Association, a nonprofit organization, provided funding and manpower for the signs. Sites highlighted along the trail are on federal, state, local and private lands.
In December, Congress designated the Capt. John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail as the first national water trail. Virginia’s James River trail is the first leg of the national trail to be interpreted.
The trail has already received recognition as it was honored with an award by Scenic Virginia for the Best Creative Scenic Improvement. That group’s ceremony, held Nov. 2, 2006, recognized scenic conservation projects throughout Virginia.
“Scenic Virginia salutes the ability of the Commonwealth to utilize our natural, historic, cultural and scenic resources in unique ways that revitalize the tourism and economic development prospects for Virginia localities,” stated Scenic Virginia President Eugenia Anderson-Ellis of Richmond. “The Capt. John Smith Water and Auto Trail, which runs along the James River from the Huguenot Bridge in Richmond to the James River Bridge at Newport News, is a shining example of that resourcefulness.”
Explaining what made the project such a good candidate for the award, Anderson-Ellis continued, “Beautifully designed and distinctive graphics were created for maps, the website and the markers to keep tourists on the right track as they explore this important part of our nation's history.”
DCR director Joe Maroon accepted the award on behalf of all the partners and indicated the effort was “truly a labor of love.” Maroon further acknowledged the educational value of the trail in joining together Virginia’s history, culture and natural environment.
With the success of John Smith’s Trail on the James, DCR has decided to expand the project north to interpret the Mattaponi, Pamunkey and York rivers. This trail will focus John Smith’s encounters with the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indians, and provide information about modern access points and recreational facilities along the river.
“Beautifully designed and distinctive graphics were created for maps, the website and the markers to keep tourists on the right track as they explore this important part of our nation's history.” — Scenic Virginia President Eugenia Anderson-Ellis.
Award named in honor of beloved DCR employee
If you ever had a need to call DCR, chances are you probably heard the pleasant voice of Linda Cox on the other end of the line. Linda served as executive assistant to the DCR director for nine years, and was known to friends and family for having a wonderful attitude and personality. This past summer, DCR was saddened to lose a piece of its heart when Linda succumbed to her illness.
Linda was a genuine “people person.” She had a knack for making everyone feel welcome and bringing people together. She also loved working at DCR and spoke about it often. Long-time DCR employees point to Linda’s professionalism, service-oriented attitude and friendliness as examples of the best characteristics DCR employees should strive to achieve.
In recognition of Linda’s life and work, and in recognition that other DCR employees have the valuable traits found in Linda, DCR Director Joe Maroon established the Linda Cox Award for Excellence in August 2006. Director Maroon solicited nominees from all staff and appointed a selection review committee made up of current and former staff members who knew Linda and all she stood for.
Although the intent was to give the award to a single employee each year, the voting was so close that the director decided to honor two deserving individuals this first year. The first staff members chosen to receive this honorable distinction were recognized at two separate DCR employee events held in November 2006, one of which Linda’s family attended.
Digging out the Natural Tunnel
In 1974, Saundra Tomlinson began working for Natural Tunnel State Park in Scott County and, in 1976, became the first female full-time park ranger in the state park system. In reference to the park in which she works, she joked, “I’ve been around so long, I can remember digging out the Natural Tunnel.”
Craig Seaver, manager of Natural Tunnel State Park, said, “Saundra is one of the most compassionate and caring individuals I have ever met. She gives the benefit of the doubt to everyone she comes into contact with, many times after others have given up or disregarded the individual.” Saundra reaches out to the community by managing the park’s volunteer program, which includes recruiting, scheduling and staffing the volunteers for the gift shop and visitors center. In addition to those duties, she collects water quality samples, helps to keep the gift shop stocked and caters when needed. In the summertime, she can often be found grilling hamburgers next to the pool.
I would rather help someone else
Marie Quinn has worked for DCR since 1999 as a program support technician for the Virginia State Parks. Her nominator, Budget Manager Glen Scott, talks of Marie’s unending support of those around her. He said, “I told her she had helped in so many campaigns that she should run herself. Marie’s reply was, ‘I don’t want to run, I would rather help someone else.’”
In addition to helping the State Parks central office run smoothly, Marie serves on the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, which is the annual charity drive for state employees. She also helps run blood drives and assists with anything else that may come her way. She said she loves to work with programs that help those less fortunate and stated, “As long as you’re working together, it helps to promote congeniality.
DCR is saddened to announce that Samuel Solloway, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) alumnus mentioned in the previous edition of Grassroots, passed away July 26, 2006, following a brief illness. He was 88.
At a June 17, 2006, ceremony celebrating Virginia State Parks’ 70th anniversary, Solloway was recognized by Gov. Kaine for his work at Douthat State Park and Skyline Drive. Joining the CCC in 1933 at the age of 16, Solloway worked for four years in Virginia before serving his country in the Army during World War II. He continued to be an active member of the Civilian Conservation Corps alumni group in Chesterfield County until his passing.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends at this time.
This past November, DCR Director Joe Maroon received the 2006 Virginia Water Resources Leadership Award from the Virginia Water Resources Research Center (VWRRC). Dr. Tamim Younos, associate director of VWRRC, said that the award was created in 2005 to recognize “individuals in legislative branch, state agencies, academia and others who have made long-term and significant contributions to protection of water resources in Virginia, the programs of the Water Center or both.”
“Mr. Joseph Maroon was cited for his significant contributions to the Commonwealth, particularly as executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and his exemplary leadership as director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation,” said Younos. “He was also recognized for his long-term support of the Water Center programs and as a former Water Center intern who pursued a very successful career in environmental protection.”
The mission of VWRRC is to advance the Commonwealth’s and its universities’ missions by facilitating the education of future water scientists, encouraging research on solutions to water resources problems, and enhancing the transfer of water sciences information to public and private decision makers. The award was presented last year to former Secretary of Natural Resources Tayloe Murphy. This year, Maroon shared the award with Virginia Tech Professor Emeritus Clifford W. Randall.
Maroon noted, “I am deeply honored to be presented this award. It is especially gratifying given that I worked as an undergraduate and graduate student at the Water Center, and credit them with my first environmental job, which was folding, labeling and mailing more than 3,000 copies of its monthly newsletter. I also have appreciated the many contributions that Virginia Tech and the Water Center have made to protect our waterways over the years.”
Hall of famer
On Aug. 28, 2006, former DCR employee Don Wells was inducted into the Southeast Conservation Partnership’s Hall of Fame. This recognition, given through the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), is awarded annually to one person from each state in NACD’s southeast region. The chosen recipients are acknowledged for significant contributions to conservation in their state.
Wells was chosen for his 29 years of work with DCR’s soil and water conservation programs and as deputy director for DCR. After his time with this department, Wells worked for NACD as a water quality specialist. There he managed a forum of more than 80 national organizations to promote conservation dialogue on national issues. He is now an elected director of the Hanover-Caroline Soil and Water Conservation District.
In presenting his award, the Southeast Conservation Partnership said, “Don is wellknown and respected by other conservationists across the state. His participation and leadership in a number of organizations has made his conservation dedication known by many. Forty-one years as a true conservationist — that is Don Wells.”
In addition to Virginia’s State Parks celebrating a 70th anniversary in 2006, DCR opened more facilities last year than since the state parks system’s inception in 1936. Renovations and upgrades include 69 additional cabins in seven parks, 210 new campsites in five parks, 132 upgraded campsites in two parks, a new visitor center, meeting facilities, boat docks, picnic shelters and nine additional bathhouses for public use.
“These new and upgraded facilities will add to the attractiveness of Virginia State Parks,” said DCR Director Joe Maroon. “We expect to have many new and returning visitors take advantage of them in 2007.”
To learn more about park offerings, call 1-800-933-PARK or email email@example.com.
|Additional boat docks and a picnic shelter were built at Leesylvania State Park in Prince William County.|
|Kiptopeke has five new family lodges, each of which sleep 16.|
|Wilderness Road State Park in Lee County has a new environmentally friendly visitor center designed for minimal impact.|
|Claytor Lake and Bear Creek Lake have new meeting facilities. This is Claytor Lake's. Both facilities are ideal for weddings and other special events.|
|Bear Creek also has beautiful new cabins to rent.|
|Modern kitchen appliances ensure a comfortable stay.|