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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 03, 2002
Parks, natural area bond would impact Northern Virginia
(RICHMOND) - The northern part of Virginia would receive 14 projects totaling more than $23 million if voters pass a $119 million bond initiative on the ballot state-wide Nov. 5. Effects of the 2002 Parks and Natural Areas Bond Act will be felt across the state.
"Passage of the state parks and natural areas bond would improve our quality of life by preserving open spaces and endangered natural areas, and provide safe and clean places for families to enjoy the outdoors," said Department of Conservation and Recreation Director Joseph H. Maroon. "Statewide the bond would provide for the acquisition of land for three new state parks, 10 new natural area preserves and finance repairs and improvements in each of the 34 state parks."
Regionally, passage of the bond would mean the acquisition of land for a new water access park on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and new natural area preserves in Culpeper County and the northern Shenandoah Valley. The northern portion of the state would also see land added to Lake Anna and Sky Meadows state parks. DCR will only work with willing sellers when negotiating land purchases, Maroon added. Construction projects will also be funded in six nearby state parks and one natural area.
Last year, seven million visitors to Virginia State Parks contributed approximately $144 million to the state's economy.
"The state parks in the northern portion of Virginia provide water access, history and a chance to enjoy nature," said Maroon. "The acquisition of a new state park and two natural area preserves in the region also helps preserve our precious open space."
Regional acquisitions and construction projects include:
- Seven Bends Area River state park - The Virginia Outdoors Plan identified the need to develop a new state park along the Shenandoah in the Seven Bends area to conserve some of this beautiful river's frontage and to enhance recreation opportunities. Increasing demand for river access makes this one of the Commonwealth's top new park priorities. It is expected that in such a setting, future generations of Virginians would enjoy this park with various recreational and overnight facilities.
- Northern Virginia Woodland - A new natural area preserve is proposed in Culpeper County in the Culpeper Basin on Virginia's Piedmont. The flat, eons-old bedrock of this basin provides suitable conditions for mineral rich bedrock glades and the development of rare oak woodland vegetation and a number of rare species.
- Northern Virginia Appalachian Caves - A new natural area preserve in an area known to be rich in caves. Virginia has a plethora of biologically significant cave sites, many of which support unique subterranean species found nowhere else in the world. Few cave sites are protected in the region. The new natural area preserve is proposed for northern Virginia's Ridge and Valley Province to initiate protection of this resource.
- Inholdings (lands partially or wholly surrounded by state park lands) or adjacent properties that would round-out park boundaries and enhance park offerings have been identified at Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania County and Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County. The state will only acquire lands from willing land sellers.
- Caledon Natural Area - This natural area on the Potomac River in King George County is one of the country's most significant summering spots for the American Bald Eagle. The area is slated to receive funds for improvements to the existing trail system.
- Lake Anna State Park - The bond proposes $4.5 million for new cabins and campsites in this state park located in Spotsylvania County. Lake Anna has long been one of Virginia's most heavily visited day use parks for swimming, boating, fishing, hiking and horseback riding. Cabins and campgrounds have been targeted for this park for more than a decade.
- Leesylvania State Park - This Prince William County state park would receive $300,000 for construction of new boating piers and a picnic shelter. This park's visitor center details the history of Leesylvania, the ancestral home of Virginia's famous Fairfax and Lee families. The park is among Virginia's most visited.
- Mason Neck State Park - This Fairfax County setting on historic Mason Neck is part of a public complex managed by county, state and federal governments. Nearly $1 million is targeted for a new park administrative complex to replace outdated mobile facilities, and for road upgrades to improve access to hiking trails and water.
- Raymond R. "Andy" Guest, Jr.-Shenandoah River State Park - Throughout history the Shenandoah has been among the nation's most legendary rivers. This park was purchased with 1992 bond funds. The 2002 bond proposal targets nearly $6.2 million to build a modern campground, an overnight cabin complex and a visitor center to serve the rapidly growing number of park users. Since the 1930s, state park campgrounds and cabins have served generations of Virginians, and demand for these facilities has grown stronger in recent years.
- Sky Meadows State Park - Renowned philanthropist Paul Mellon gave this Fauquier County property to Virginia's citizens. It serves as Virginia's northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail and includes a historic 1850s farm with scenic mountain and valley vistas. About $450,000 is proposed to expand existing primitive campgrounds, build Appalachian Trail shelters and develop a new picnic area.
- Westmoreland State Park - Located on the Potomac River on the history-rich Northern Neck between Washington's Birthplace and Stratford Hall. The park will receive $1.15 million to replace an aging complex and to build a new visitor and birding center.
For more information about Virginia State Parks or the Parks and Natural Areas Bond, visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/bond/.
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