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Date: October 03, 2002

Parks, natural area bond would impact Tidewater Virginia

(RICHMOND) - Tidewater would receive 13 projects totaling $28 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 Middle Peninsula. The Tidewater region would also see land added to Chippokes Plantation and Kiptopeke State Parks, additions to Natural Area Preserves in Virginia Beach and Surry and Isle of Wight counties. New Natural Area Preserves will be acquired in Isle of Wight and Matthews counties. DCR will only work with willing sellers when negotiating land purchases, Maroon added. Construction projects will also be funded in five nearby state parks.

Last year, seven million visitors to Virginia State Parks contributed approximately $144 million to the state's economy.

"The state parks in this region provide recreational access to the Chesapeake Bay and several of its tributaries," said Maroon. "Water access will also be a key offering of the new Middle Peninsula state park."

Regional acquisitions and construction projects include:
- Middle Peninsula area state park - The Virginia Outdoors Plan states the need for a new water access state park in Virginia's Middle Peninsula, an area rich in history and natural beauty. An exact location for the park has not been selected. If the bond passes, DCR will work with local governments, public and private landowners in the area to select and purchase suitable parklands. The state will work only with willing land-sellers.
- 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 Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry County and Kiptopeke State Park in Northampton County. The state will only acquire lands from willing land sellers.
- Southern Coastal Plain Depression Ponds - A new natural area is proposed to protect natural ponds found south of the James River on the Coastal Plain. These natural wetlands are threatened by drainage and conversion. The ponds of this proposed natural area preserve provide habitat for numerous rare plant and animal species. The proposed area is located in Isle of Wight County.
- Middle Peninsula Wetland - A new preserve is proposed to protect natural pond wetlands threatened by drainage and conversion. The ponds of this proposed natural area provide habitat for numerous rare plant and animal species. The proposed area is located in Matthews County.
- Isle of Wight Addition - An addition to the existing Antioch Pines Natural Area Preserve and Blackwater Ecological Preserve is proposed to protect globally rare sandy pinelands and pine barrens in southeast Virginia. This addition will also enable restoration of rare vegetation found in the sandy region.
- Virginia Beach Addition - The bond proposes acquisition of more land for North Landing River NAP. This would add to and provide buffer for globally rare and highly threatened marsh and swamp vegetation. These wetlands provide habitat for numerous rare plant and animal species.
Surry County Addition - An addition to Dendron Swamp Natural Area Preserve is proposed to protect an old-growth stand of tupelo and bald cypress along the Blackwater River as well as buffer already protected stands. Some of these trees along the river are 1,200 years old. They provide excellent habitat for a globally rare animal.
- False Cape State Park - At the southern end of Virginia Beach, False Cape State Park would receive $750,000 to build a visitor center and administrative complex with modern restroom facilities. Such additions will greatly enhance the park user's visit.
- First Landing State Park - This park on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach is the system's most visited. It draws nearly two million visitors a year. Improvements totaling $2.52 million include campground water and electric hookups, new bathhouses, improvements to the Chesapeake Bay Center and Amphitheater, and expansion and renovation of the Trail Center.
York River State Park - This day-use park on the banks of the York River in James City County would receive $500,000 to make improvements to the Croaker Landing boat ramp built in 1980. Monies would improve the existing parking lot and make improvements to the boat dock. Portions of the dock would be re-engineered to provide easier access from boats to the dock.
- Kiptopeke State Park - Located on the Chesapeake Bay side of Virginia's Eastern Shore, Kiptopeke is one of the country's most significant bird watching locations. Bond funds would be used to construct several five-bedroom family lodges ($2,500,000). An additional $250,000 would go to improving electrical and water service to the park's existing campground.
- Chippokes Plantation State Park - With bond funds, this state park in Surry County would receive $4.62 million for renovation of historic structures, water system replacement, pool concession facility improvements and campground expansion. With Jamestown's 400th anniversary in 2007, this work must be done before countless visitors from around the world visit Tidewater Virginia.

For more information about Virginia State Parks or the Parks and Natural Areas Bond, visit <>

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