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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: April 07, 2008
2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan released, addresses outdoor recreation
(RICHMOND, VA) – The 2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan, the latest version of the state’s comprehensive outdoor recreation, conservation and open space planning guide, has an expanded focus to help guide the future of Virginia’s outdoors in the face of rapidly changing population and land-use pressures. Compiled by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the plan serves all levels of government and the private sector in meeting the state’s conservation, outdoor recreation and open space needs.
Released every five years, this edition is Virginia’s ninth since 1965. New in this edition is information relating local and state outdoor recreation resources and open space to land conservation, green infrastructure, and the growing concerns relating to “nature-deficit disorder.”
“The development of the 2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan is a significant accomplishment that connects real issues brought forth during nearly 80 public meetings statewide and tangible solutions to address these issues,” said DCR Director Joseph H. Maroon. “This plan provides insight into the current thinking of Virginians regarding the outdoors. The plan includes recommendations that can be used as a guide to address future outdoor recreational concerns and to help target efforts starting today.”
The 2007 plan contains more land conservation information than in previous editions. For the first time, the plan contains planning region maps that show all protected lands in the area. This information will assist Virginia’s land conservation organizations to target lands most suitable for conservation.
Green infrastructure is an environmentally inclusive approach to local and regional planning. The concept of green infrastructure integrates outdoor recreation, open space, cultural resources and conservation lands into land use management decisions. The plan calls for greater integration of green infrastructure planning into traditional forms of municipal planning.
Nature-deficit disorder, a term coined by author Richard Louv, addresses a growing trend in America where children and families are increasingly disconnected from the outdoors. This trend has been linked to health issues in children, including attention deficit disorder and obesity. Conservation officials worry that if this generation of children does not experience nature, they will not be strong advocates for its protection in the future. The plan addresses the issue by showing the relationship between our environment, adequate outdoor recreational resources and healthy communities.
The Virginia Outdoors Plan was written by DCR in coordination with federal and state natural resource agencies, local planning and recreation departments, the private sector and concerned citizens.
Copies of the plan are being distributed to city, county and regional planners and major conservation organizations. The public can access the plan at www.dcr.virginia.gov/recreational_planning/vop.shtml