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(Released by Governor's Office)
Date: November 03, 2003

Bond Projects Underway in State Parks and Natural Areas
Seventeen projects represent more than $54 million in activity

RICHMOND - One year after Virginia voters overwhelmingly approved the $119 million Commonwealth of Virginia Parks and Natural Areas General Obligation Bond, design and construction projects totaling $54.7 million are underway in 17 state parks.

Statewide, the bond will provide for the acquisition of land for at least three new state parks and additional land for 11 existing parks and 10 new natural area preserves. It also will finance improvements and repairs at each of the 34 state parks. Sixty-nine percent of voters endorsed the 2002 park bond initiative.

"These projects will provide long-overdue improvements and enhancements to our award-winning Virginia State Parks, which are enjoyed by more than seven million visitors each year," Governor Mark R. Warner said. "Work now is underway across the Commonwealth on visitor centers, cabins, campgrounds, equestrian campgrounds, and improvements to water lines, roads, and restrooms. These projects are creating jobs and injecting money into local economies across Virginia."

Initial work has begun in the following state parks: Bear Creek, Belle Isle, Chippokes Plantation, Claytor Lake, Douthat, First Landing, Grayson Highlands, Hungry Mother, James River, Kiptopeke, Lake Anna, Leesylvania, New River Trail, Occoneechee, Pocahontas, Staunton River Battlefield and Wilderness Road.

"The General Obligation Bond offers Virginia a wonderful opportunity to take our state parks to the next level. All told, there will be more than 70 construction, repair and improvement projects in all of Virginia's 34 state parks," said Department of Conservation and Recreation Director Joseph H. Maroon. "The land acquisition and capital improvements will be spread over a number of years, and will be influenced by the availability of land to purchase and even the weather. When all is said and done, Virginia's award-winning state parks and natural areas will be greatly enhanced."

DCR officials are now negotiating to buy several pieces of property as well, Maroon said.

"Within the coming months, we hope to announce several major land acquisitions," Maroon said. "DCR will purchase land only from willing sellers, and we are aware of possible land donations from several civic-minded citizens."

Following is a summary of the projects that currently are underway:

  • Bear Creek Lake State Park - Cumberland County. $4.55 million is budgeted for overnight cabins, a multi-purpose meeting facility that can serve 100 and a new picnic shelter at the beach area. An architectural and engineering firm has been hired and the paperwork is being finalized. Approximately $16,100 has been spent.
  • Belle Isle State Park - Lancaster County. $3.2 million is budgeted to build a new campground and visitor center. Surveying is completed, designs are being drafted and $19,241 has been spent.
  • Chippokes Plantation State Park - Surry County. $4.62 million is budgeted 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 visitors from around the world visit the Tidewater area. Chippokes also has been targeted to acquire and protect more land. A test well has been drilled and the designs are being drafted. $42,926 has been spent.
  • Claytor Lake State Park - Pulaski County. $3.4 million is budgeted for new cabins, new docks and improved marina facilities. Designs are completed and $17,587 has been spent.
  • Douthat State Park - Bath and Alleghany counties. $2.2 million is budgeted for additional cabins and the construction of an equestrian camping area. With the development of new bridle trails through the national forest, the proximity to the Virginia Horse Center at Lexington, and private riding trails at the Homestead in Bath County, equestrian camping facilities are in great demand. Designs for the equestrian camping area are being drafted and $3,168 has been spent. Cabin construction is scheduled to begin in 2006.
  • First Landing State Park - Virginia Beach. $2.52 million is budgeted to add water and electric hookups to the campgrounds, build new bathhouses, improve the Chesapeake Bay Center and Amphitheater, and expand and renovate the Trail Center. Permits have been applied for and designs are being drafted. $25,077 has been spent.
  • Grayson Highlands State Park - Grayson County. $650,000 is budged to renovate the visitor center and improve park utilities. Visitor center renovations are nearly half way complete. A group camp area and new bathhouse facilities will be added in the next few years. $124,320 has been spent.
  • Hungry Mother State Park - Smyth County. $2.9 million is budgeted for campground expansion, infrastructure improvement, dredging the lake and construction of new restrooms. Design work has begun on replacing water lines and $2,600 has been spent.
  • James River State Park - Buckingham County. $6.7 million is budgeted to construct cabins, a visitor center and office building, a campground and an equestrian camping area. Designs are being drafted for the cabins and the campground. $53,066 has been spent.
  • Kiptopeke State Park - Northampton County. $2.75 million is budgeted to build several five-bedroom family lodges and to improve electrical and water service in the park's existing campground. Designs of the lodges are being drafted and $61,850 has been spent.
  • Lake Anna State Park - Spotsylvania County. $5.4 million is budgeted to construct cabins and campgrounds. Ten cabins are under construction and will open early next year. Designs of the campgrounds are being drafted and $479,645 has been spent.
  • Leesylvania State Park - Prince William County. $500,000 is budgeted to construct new boating piers and a picnic shelter. An architectural and engineering firm has been hired and the paperwork is being finalized. Work will be slowed as the park recovers from Hurricane Isabel. New construction will be incorporated into rebuilding piers damaged by the storm. $43,341 has been spent.
  • New River Trail State Park - Grayson, Carroll, Wythe and Pulaski counties. $3.4 million is budgeted to renovate the historic Foster Falls complex, develop trail access and trail safety improvements, and expand water distribution. Work has begun on improvements to the water distribution system and $2,700 has been spent.
  • Occoneechee State Park - Mecklenburg County. $4.2 million is budgeted to build cabins, a visitor contact station, a visitor center, an equestrian camping area and an office. Contracts are being reviewed.
  • Pocahontas State Park - Chesterfield County. $4.8 million is budgeted to expand the campground, build camping cabins, make new parking areas, repair roads, and build an equestrian center and camp. Designs are being drafted and $98,565 has been spent.
  • Staunton River Battlefield State Park - Charlotte and Halifax counties. $400,000 is budgeted to renovate the historic 1750s Mulberry Hill Mansion and to build an equestrian camping area. An architectural and engineering firm has been hired and the paperwork is being finalized. Renovations will begin within the next few months. $17,758 has been spent.
  • Wilderness Road State Park - Lee County. $2.5 million is budgeted to renovate historic Karlan Mansion and to build a visitor center, ranger residence, roads, picnic area, and improve parking and utilities. Designs are being drafted $61,232 has been spent.

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