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Date: November 13, 2006

Draft outdoor recreation, conservation and open space plan to be presented at local meetings Presentation to include local recommendations

(RICHMOND, Va.) – A new draft of the state’s outdoorrecreation, conservation and open space plan, including localrecommendations, will be the focus of two public meetingsheld in Chesapeake, Monday, Nov. 27. Planners from the VirginiaDepartment of Conservation and Recreation will present thedraft Virginia Outdoors Plan at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. meetingsat the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission Office at723 Woodlake Drive in Chesapeake. These are among more than40 meetings to be held statewide Oct. through Dec.

The Virginia Outdoors Plan is the state’s officialconservation, outdoor recreation and open space guide. Alllevels of government and the private sector use it in determiningand meeting land conservation, outdoor recreation and openspace needs. Recommendations in the plan are also used asone of the tools in ranking projects for Virginia Land ConservationFoundation funds.

“The VOP has long been an important tool in meetingVirginians’ outdoor recreational needs,” said DCR Director JosephH. Maroon. “With Gov. Kaine’s commitment to landconservation, this plan takes on added significance.”

The plan is revised every five years. As part of its revision,DCR staff have updated the outdoor recreation resource inventory,conducted a statewide Virginia Outdoor Survey with assistancefrom Virginia Commonwealth University and last fall held aseries of 40 public input meetings statewide. Among the topicsbrought up in those meetings were trails and greenway linkages,water trails and scenic waterways, urban greenspace, eco-tourismand nature deficit disorder. Local outdoor recreation andconservation recommendations also surfaced. Recommendationsfound in the draft plan include:

For Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk,Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburgand Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton and York counties:
- Implement regional green infrastructure planning for a regionalconservation corridor system to include open space, conservationland, recreation opportunities and wildlife corridors. Effortscoordinated by HRPDC.
- Continue implementation, marketing and partnerships forthe Capital-to-Capital Trail along Route 5.
- Incorporate the Captain John Smith Adventures on the JamesTrail and the National Park Service’s proposed JohnSmith National Historic Trail, should it be authorized, inlocal comprehensive plans as a way to further heritage andecotourism in the region.
- Continue efforts to protect pine barren communities, seasonaldepression ponds and other significant wetlands.
- Secure conservation protection for large blocks of old-growthcypress-tupelo swamps, additional habitat for rare reptilesand amphibians and additional lands along the Northwest andNorth Landing Rivers.
- Connect Paradise Creek in Portsmouth with other regionalwildlife corridors and water trails and support Paradise CreekNature Park as the vital link in these corridors and trails.

The draft VOP is also available for review on the DCR website.Go to; click on “Recreation Planning” thenon “Draft 2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan.” Commentswill be accepted through Dec. 15, 2006 and can be sent

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