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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan, julie.buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-2292.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 03, 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 meetingsin Richmond, Petersburg and Saluda.

Planners from the Virginia Department of Conservation andRecreation will present the draft Virginia Outdoors Plan at3 p.m. and 7 p.m. meetings Monday, Nov. 13, at the MiddlePeninsula Planning District Commission Office in Saluda; Wednesday,Nov. 15, at the Crater Planning District Commission in Petersburgand Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Richmond Regional Planning DistrictCommission office in Richmond. These are among more than 40meetings 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 the counties of Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, KingWilliam, Mathews and Middlesex:

State agencies and the PDC should work with the Middle PeninsulaChesapeake Bay Public Access Authority to address additionalpublic water access points and significant parklands.

Complete acquisition and develop a master plan for the MiddlePeninsula state park.

Support water access and trail projects including the JohnSmith Trail on the York River, Algonquin Trace Water Trailon the York River, the Tappahannock Waterfront Park, Gloucesterwater trails, King and Queen County Heritage Gateways andtrails, Friends of the Dragon trails, Browne Tract and theBrowne State Forest.

- Support inclusion of bicycle routes into local comprehensiveplans.

- Incorporate the National Park Service’s proposedCaptain John Smith National Historic Trail in local comprehensiveplans as a way to further heritage and ecotourism in the region.

- Continue to pursue conservation of lands along Dragon Run.

- Build partnerships between non-governmental organizationssuch as the Nature Conservancy and the Middle Peninsula LandTrust to identify, promote and implement regionally basedconservation initiatives.

For the cities of Petersburg, Hopewell and Emporia; Dinwiddie,Greenville, Prince George, Surry and Sussex counties:

- Implement recommendations for the Lower Appomattox RiverTrail and Greenway and research cooperative regional managementand operations alternatives for this resource that traversesover 400 acres in five jurisdictions

- Support a regional bike/trail plan to include alternativetransportation initiatives linking heritage tourism. Workto have a bike/trail plan adopted as part of each localitiescomprehensive plan.

- Establish local and regional programs that connect conservationlands for wildlife and water quality. Connect Lee Park inPetersburg to the regional greenway along the Appomattox River

- Establish a state forest in Sussex County and a naturalarea preserve in Prince George County to restore pine flatwoodsand coastal plain depression pond communities

- Increase water access for the public on the James, Appomattox,Blackwater, Meherrin and Nottoway Rivers.

- Evaluate options for the East Coast Greenway location includingshared corridors with the rapid rail planned through DinwiddieCounty and Petersburg.

For the city of Richmond; Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland,Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan counties:

- Develop a corridor plan for the James River that protectsvegetative buffers and scenic viewsheds along America's Foundingriver.

- Develop a proposed north-south route for the East CoastGreenway through Richmond to Petersburg that will link tothe Virginia Capital Trail, James River Park, the AppomattoxRiver Trail and other trails within the region.

- Complete development of a slave trail linking Ancarrow'sLanding on the south side of the James River to the archeologicalsite of Lumpkin's Jail on the north side of the river, partof the African-American Heritage Trail.

- Incorporate the National Park Service’s proposedCaptain John Smith National Historic Trail in local comprehensiveplans as a way to further heritage and ecotourism in the region.

The Middle Peninsula PDC office is located at 125 BowdenStreet in Saluda. The Crater PDC office is at 1964 WakefieldStreet in Petersburg and the Richmond Regional PDC officeis in Richmond at 2104 W. Laburnum Ave., Suite 101.

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

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