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

Date: June 01, 2006
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks celebrate 70 years of fun by rolling fees back to 1936

On June 15, 1936, Virginia simultaneously opened six state parks: Douthat,Westmoreland, Hungry Mother, Fairy Stone, Staunton River and Seashore, nowFirst Landing. The parks had a general admission fee of 10 cents for peopleover 10. Children under 10 were admitted free.

On June 15-18, 2006, Virginia State Parks celebrates the anniversary byrolling back the admission fee to 1936 rates – visitors will be charged10 cents each, all weekend long.

All parks will also have free birthday cake Saturday, June 17, from 1-3p.m. Individual parks will offer special programs, children's activities,educational programs, tours and historical vignettes reflecting their uniquecharacters.

In 1933, as the nation struggled in the throes of the Great Depression,President Franklin Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, a programintended to put to work half-a-million unemployed young men in forests, parksand range lands across the country.

In its nine years, the CCC employed more than three million men and leftan undeniable imprint on the nation's landscape: The young men of the CCCbuilt more than 40,000 bridges, planted two billion trees, improved thousandsof beaches, roads and shorelines, and created 800 state parks, includingthe first six in Virginia.

On June 15, 1936, just three years after the CCC began, Virginia simultaneouslyopened the six state parks. The CCC also helped develop what would becomePocahontas, Holliday Lake, Bear Creek Lake and Twin Lakes state parks.

Virginia was the first state to open an entire park system on the same day.The new parks offered modern outdoor recreational facilities while protectingareas with significant natural resources. For 70 years Virginia State Parkshave continued to offer millions of visitors countless ways to enjoy thebeauty and serenity of Virginia’s natural wonders.

Each of the parks offered visitors cabins and campsites, a restaurant andswimming. Two parks, Hungry Mother and Douthat, had family lodges. Today,family lodges are still available in Hungry Mother and Douthat as well asFairy Stone and Westmoreland. New family lodges open later this year in Occoneechee,Bear Creek Lake, Claytor Lake, James River and Kiptopeke state parks.

When Virginia State Parks opened, visitors had around 65 cabins from whichto choose. Today, there are more than 200 cabins offering all the modernamenities, including heat and air conditioning.

Recreational choices have always included fishing, hiking, boating, swimmingand horseback riding. Today there are biking and multi-use trails, volleyballpits, more than two dozen playgrounds, and countless recreational opportunities.

The first six parks have grown to 34 parks and dozens of natural areas,and Virginia State Parks continue to grow, with new land being donated orpurchased every year.

Virginia State Parks will open more facilities this year than any otheryear since 1936, including new cabins, campgrounds and family lodges.

For 70 years, the mission of Virginia State Parks has remained the same – to provide Virginians and visitors recreational opportunities while strivingto preserve and protect Virginia’s natural resources.

The award-winning Virginia State Parks are operated by the Virginia Departmentof Conservation and Recreation.

For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenitiesor to make reservations in one of the more than 1,600 campsites or 200 climate-controlledcabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 1-800-933-PARKor visit www.dcr.virginia.gov.

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