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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 09, 2006
Contact: Gary Waugh, DCR Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-5045, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov

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’soutdoor recreation, conservation and open space plan, includinglocal recommendations, will be the focus of public meetingsheld in Marion, Duffield and Lebanon.

Planners from the Virginia Department of Conservation andRecreation will present the draft Virginia Outdoors Plan at3 p.m. and 7 p.m. meetings at the Mount Rogers Planning DistrictCommission office in Marion, Monday, Nov. 27; the LENOWISCOPDC office in Duffield, Wednesday, Nov. 29 and Thursday, Nov.30, at the Cumberland Plateau PDC office in Lebanon. Theseare among more than 40 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 Bristol and Galax; Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washingtonand Wythe counties:
- Provide additional protection to the Appalachian NationalScenic Trail on public and private land. Efforts should bemade to avoid impacts to the trail in planning roads, pipelines,power lines and other public projects. A permanent safe crossingof I-77 should be developed in Bland County.
- Develop the Trans-Virginia Southern Trail from CumberlandGap to the Chesapeake Bay by linking existing trails includingthe Virginia Creeper and Iron Mountain trails and New RiverTrail State Park with connecting corridors. Each localityshould identify opportunities to connect their existing trailsto the project. A connector trail needs to be developed thatlinks Galax with the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Transfer management of the New River Recreation Area onthe New River at Buck Dam from the U.S. Forest Service toNew River Trail State Park making existing recreational facilitiesavailable to the public.
- Localities should identify access points and other opportunitiesalong the planned New River Canoe Trail. It is proposed asa Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia full-servicewater trail with access, rest areas, campsites and re-supplyareas. Maps will assist users with trip planning. A portageis needed around the Fries dam.
- In light of recent development and changing traffic patterns,the Interstate Bike Route 76 should be studied to determineif 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 CumberlandGap to the Chesapeake Bay by linking existing trails includingthe Wilderness Road and Daniel Boone trails with connectingcorridors. Each locality should identify opportunities toconnect their existing trails to the project.
- Lee and Wise Counties should work with sponsors to identifypotential corridors along their western edges for the GreatEastern Trail proposed to link existing trails from centralAlabama to central New York along the Allegheny Highlands.The Southeast Foot Trails Coalition and the Mid- AtlanticFoot Trail Coalition are undertaking this project, which isbeing sponsored by the American Hiking Society.
- The Southern Appalachian Greenway Alliance is developingplans for a system of trails and greenways that will linkthe communities along the Virginia-Tennessee border. Localitiesshould participate to ensure complementary local trail planning.
- Evaluate the Clinch River in Scott County to determine itseligibility as a Virginia Scenic River.
- Renovate the Karlan Mansion and add a campground and supportingfacilities to Wilderness Road State Park in Lee County.

For Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties:
- Consider Route 611 and Route 80 between Breaks InterstatePark and John W. Flannagan Dam and Reservoir, Route 80 betweenBreaks Interstate Park and Route 19 in Russell for designationas Virginia Scenic Byways.
- Evaluate the Russell Fork River in Breaks Interstate Parkfor designation as a Virginia Scenic River.
- Dickenson and Buchanan counties should identify potentialroutes along their western borders for the Great Eastern Trailproposed to link existing trails from central Alabama to centralNew York along the Allegheny Highlands.
- Complete the Pine Mountain Horse Trail to connect BreaksInterstate Park with the Pound Reservoir in Wise County.
- Provide additional protection to the Appalachian NationalScenic Trail on public and private land. Efforts should bemade 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 fromthe confluence with the Little River in Russell County tothe Scott County line. Enhance public access to the riverand develop recreation areas at appropriate locations alongthe Clinch River.

The Mount Rogers PDC office is located at 1021 Terrace Drive,Marion. The LENOWISCO PDC is located in Duffield at 6913 Duff-PrattRoad and the Cumberland Plateau PDC office is at 950 ClydeswayRoad 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 “Draft2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan.” Comments will be acceptedthrough Dec. 15, 2006 and can be sent to Vop@dcr.virginia.gov.

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