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Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-5045.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: June 03, 2011
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks marks 75th anniversary with special events, prizes, free parking

(RICHMOND) – The award-winning Virginia State Parks, managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, continue the year-long celebration of the park system’s 75th anniversary with a week of free parking, special events and a prize-a-day during the “75 Days of Summer” contest.

On June 15, 1936, Virginia became the first state in the nation to open an entire state park system on the same day. In recognition of the anniversary, state park visitors will receive free parking in all parks June 13-19.

“For 75 years generations of Virginians have grown up with Virginia State Parks, enjoying decades of family vacations and weekend getaways,” said DCR Director David Johnson. “The free parking, as well as the additional special events and activities we have planned, are ways to thank visitors for their loyalty to state parks and their commitment to preserving Virginia’s environment.”

In 2010, Virginia State Parks hosted more than 8 million visitors who contributed around $189 million to Virginia’s economy.

While free parking will be available all week, the primary celebration will by Saturday, June 18, when all state parks will observe the anniversary with complimentary cake. In addition to cake, each park will offer special activities reflecting its unique nature and heritage.

“We have an exciting and amazing list of events and programs scheduled across the state on June 18,” said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. “From authors and book signings to concerts and tournaments, the list goes on and on. Visitors to Fairy Stone State Park will even have the opportunity to help the community by donating blood during a blood drive. Many people have life-long memories of visiting state parks, and the celebration week is sure to write another memorable chapter in the lives of our visitors, and in the history of our parks.”

Hungry Mother State Park, in Marion, Va., one of the original six state parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, will host a special day-long celebration. The day’s events include a ceremony featuring Gov. Bob McDonnell, a one-act play, concerts, and the showing of the documentary, Virginia State Parks: 75 Years and Still Growing, produced by Blue Ridge PBS.

The celebration week also kicks off the “75 Days of Summer” contest, in which prizes will be awarded for visiting the parks or www.virginiaoutdoors.com.

The grand prizes include the use of a 31-foot motor home for a week’s travel in Virginia and seven nights in a state park campground, sponsored by McGeorge’s Rolling Hills RV Supercenter, a 21-foot trailer rental for seven nights at Westmoreland, Lake Anna or Shenandoah River state parks, sponsored by Road Trip Rentals, and a new popup camper provided by Coastal RV of Carrollton.

For more information about the Virginia State Parks 75th anniversary celebration, visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

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