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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 01, 2010
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks Receives 101 Outdoor Awards

(RICHMOND) – For the eighth consecutive year, the 35 Virginia State Parks operated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation have been recognized by ReserveAmerica as among the nation’s best.

Virginia State Parks was honored with 101 awards in 17 categories. A dozen parks were named in the Top 100 Family Campgrounds: Chippokes Plantation, Claytor Lake, Douthat, Fairy Stone, First Landing, James River, Kiptopeke, New River Trail, Occoneechee, Smith Mountain Lake, Staunton River and Westmoreland state parks.

“In the past few years, we’ve hosted record numbers of visitors as more and more people recognize the beauty and affordability of our parks, as well as the many activities our parks have to offer. We are honored to have Virginia State Parks recognized again this year by ReserveAmerica,” said DCR Director David Johnson. “I know park employees take great pride in their work, and it’s rewarding to have their dedication nationally recognized.”

A part of the Active Network, ReserveAmerica is North America’s leading camping reservation and campground management solutions provider. ReserveAmerica manages the Virginia State Park electronic reservation system.

To determine the top campgrounds and locations, over 3,000 parks were evaluated based in part on testimonials from park rangers, regional park management and campers, as well as specific family-friendly criteria including kid-friendly parks, scenic views, hiking trails, children’s activities and more.

“Our parks play an important role in the lives of our visitors,” said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. “Virginia State Parks are a tonic for the mind, body and spirit, and they are places people return to year after year, generation after generation.”

In 2009, 7.5 million people visited Virginia State Parks. Attendance through May 31 of this year was 2.2 million, 8.8 percent more than the same time last year.

Other award categories (and the number of winning Virginia State Parks) include: Top 25 Amazing Spots (seven parks), Top 25 Biking Trails (five parks), Top 25 Bird-Watching Spots (three parks), Top 25 Canoeing Spots (seven parks), Top 50 Educational and Historical Facilities (five parks), Top 50 Fishing Spots (nine parks), Top 50 Hiking Trails (11 parks), Top 25 Horse-Friendly Parks (two parks), Top 25 Kid-Friendly Parks (six parks), Top 25 Park Beaches (three parks), Top 25 Picnic Areas (five parks), Top 25 Romantic Spots (four parks), Top 50 Scenic Views (four parks), Top 25 Tours and Events (seven parks), Top 25 Unique Cabins (six parks), and Top 25 Water Recreation Parks (five parks).

For the complete list of specific winners, visit: http://www.active.com/outdoors/Articles/2010-Outdoor-Awards-Americas-Top-Campgrounds.htm .

For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,600 campsites or 220 cabins and lodges, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at (800) 933-PARK or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

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