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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 09, 2009
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks Receives 82 Outdoor Awards
State Park campgrounds named among best in the nation

(RICHMOND) - The 35 Virginia State Parks operated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation have received countless awards over the years, including the Gold Medal Award in 2001 as the nation's best state park system.

This year, ReserveAmerica honored Virginia State Parks with 82 awards in 17 categories. Six parks were named in the Top 100 Family Campgrounds: Claytor Lake, Grayson Highlands, Kiptopeke, New River Trail, Occoneechee and Pocahontas state parks.

"Millions of visitors each year recognize and appreciate the beauty of our parks as well as the many things our parks have to offer. It is deeply gratifying to have our parks and offerings be recognized so thoroughly by ReserveAmerica," said DCR Director Joseph H. Maroon. "Each of these awards is a testimony to the countless hours of hard work put in by our dedicated state parks staff."

This is the seventh year in a row that Virginia's state parks have been recognized by ReserveAmerica. 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, more than 4,000 parks were reviewed and evaluated on criteria including educational programs, overall beauty and scenery, family beaches, visitor centers, and camping amenities such as hot showers and laundry facilities. The featured locations were also selected based on testimonials, campground ratings and feedback provided by park rangers, regional park management and campers throughout the year.

"We know how special our parks are, and how important they are in the lives of our visitors," said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. "From our cabins and campgrounds to our hiking trails and beaches, Virginia State Parks are a tonic for the mind, body and spirit."

Last year, 7.2 million people visited Virginia State Parks.

Other award categories, (and the number of winning Virginia State Parks) include: Top 25 Amazing Spots (four parks), Top 25 Biking Trails (four parks), Top 25 Bird-Watching Spots (three parks), Top 25 Canoeing Spots (Four parks), Top 50 Educational and Historical Facilities (10 parks), Top 50 Fishing Spots (six parks), Top 50 Hiking Trails (nine parks), Top 25 Horse-Friendly Parks (seven parks), Top 25 Kid-Friendly Parks (three parks), Top 25 Park Beaches (two parks), Top 25 Picnic Areas (three parks), Top 25 Romantic Spots (three parks), Top 50 Scenic Views (seven parks), Top 25 Tours and Events (five parks), Top 25 Unique Cabins (four parks), and Top 25 Water Recreation Parks (two parks).

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 1-800-933-PARK or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov .

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