Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-786-5045.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 09, 2006
Contact: Gary Waugh, DCR Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-5045, email@example.com
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 outdoor recreation, conservation and open space plan, including local recommendations, will be the focus of public meetings held in Marion, Duffield and Lebanon.
Planners from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will present the draft Virginia Outdoors Plan at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. meetings at the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission office in Marion, Monday, Nov. 27; the LENOWISCO PDC office in Duffield, Wednesday, Nov. 29 and Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Cumberland Plateau PDC office in Lebanon. These are among more than 40 meetings to be held statewide Oct. through Dec.
The Virginia Outdoors Plan is the state’s official conservation, outdoor recreation and open space guide. All levels of government and the private sector use it in determining and meeting land conservation, outdoor recreation and open space needs. Recommendations in the plan are also used as one of the tools in ranking projects for Virginia Land Conservation Foundation funds.
“The VOP has long been an important tool in meeting Virginians’ outdoor recreational needs,” said DCR Director Joseph H. Maroon. “With Gov. Kaine’s commitment to land conservation, 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 assistance from Virginia Commonwealth University and last fall held a series of 40 public input meetings statewide. Among the topics brought up in those meetings were trails and greenway linkages, water trails and scenic waterways, urban greenspace, eco-tourism and nature deficit disorder. Local outdoor recreation and conservation recommendations also surfaced. Recommendations found in the draft plan include:
For Bristol and Galax; Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington
and Wythe counties:
- Provide additional protection to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail on public and private land. Efforts should be made to avoid impacts to the trail in planning roads, pipelines, power lines and other public projects. A permanent safe crossing of I-77 should be developed in Bland County.
- Develop the Trans-Virginia Southern Trail from Cumberland Gap to the Chesapeake Bay by linking existing trails including the Virginia Creeper and Iron Mountain trails and New River Trail State Park with connecting corridors. Each locality should identify opportunities to connect their existing trails to the project. A connector trail needs to be developed that links Galax with the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Transfer management of the New River Recreation Area on the New River at Buck Dam from the U.S. Forest Service to New River Trail State Park making existing recreational facilities available to the public.
- Localities should identify access points and other opportunities along the planned New River Canoe Trail. It is proposed as a Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia full-service water trail with access, rest areas, campsites and re-supply areas. Maps will assist users with trip planning. A portage is needed around the Fries dam.
- In light of recent development and changing traffic patterns, the Interstate Bike Route 76 should be studied to determine if the trail is still located on the best roads.
For Norton and the counties of Lee, Scott and Wise:
- Develop the Trans-Virginia Southern Trail from Cumberland
Gap to the Chesapeake Bay by linking existing trails including
the Wilderness Road and Daniel Boone trails with connecting
corridors. Each locality should identify opportunities to
connect their existing trails to the project.
- Lee and Wise Counties should work with sponsors to identify potential corridors along their western edges for the Great Eastern Trail proposed to link existing trails from central Alabama to central New York along the Allegheny Highlands. The Southeast Foot Trails Coalition and the Mid- Atlantic Foot Trail Coalition are undertaking this project, which is being sponsored by the American Hiking Society.
- The Southern Appalachian Greenway Alliance is developing plans for a system of trails and greenways that will link the communities along the Virginia-Tennessee border. Localities should participate to ensure complementary local trail planning.
- Evaluate the Clinch River in Scott County to determine its eligibility as a Virginia Scenic River.
- Renovate the Karlan Mansion and add a campground and supporting facilities to Wilderness Road State Park in Lee County.
For Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties:
- Consider Route 611 and Route 80 between Breaks Interstate Park and John W. Flannagan Dam and Reservoir, Route 80 between Breaks Interstate Park and Route 19 in Russell for designation as Virginia Scenic Byways.
- Evaluate the Russell Fork River in Breaks Interstate Park for designation as a Virginia Scenic River.
- Dickenson and Buchanan counties should identify potential routes along their western borders for the Great Eastern Trail proposed to link existing trails from central Alabama to central New York along the Allegheny Highlands.
- Complete the Pine Mountain Horse Trail to connect Breaks Interstate Park with the Pound Reservoir in Wise County.
- Provide additional protection to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail on public and private land. Efforts should be made to avoid impacts to the trail in planning roads, pipelines, power lines and other public projects.
- Develop and manage the Clinch River as a canoe trail from the confluence with the Little River in Russell County to the Scott County line. Enhance public access to the river and develop recreation areas at appropriate locations along the Clinch River.
The Mount Rogers PDC office is located at 1021 Terrace Drive, Marion. The LENOWISCO PDC is located in Duffield at 6913 Duff-Pratt Road and the Cumberland Plateau PDC office is at 950 Clydesway Road in Lebanon.
The draft VOP is also available for review on the DCR website. Go to www.dcr.virginia.gov; click on “Recreation Planning” then on “Draft 2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan.” Comments will be accepted through Dec. 15, 2006 and can be sent to Vop@dcr.virginia.gov.
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