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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 30, 2002
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442, jim.meisner@dcr.virginia.gov

Parks, natural area bond would impact Southwest Virginia

(RICHMOND) - Southwest Virginia would receive 13 projects totaling $26 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 an infusion of money across nearly two dozen counties. Southwest Virginia would see land added to Hungry Mother, Natural Tunnel, and Wilderness Road State Parks, additions to Natural Area Preserves in Floyd, Lee and Montgomery Counties, new Natural Area Preserves in Floyd, Montgomery, and Grayson and construction projects in six state parks. DCR will only work with willing sellers when negotiating land purchases, Maroon added.

"Some of our most popular state parks are in Southwest Virginia and will benefit greatly if the bond passes," Maroon said.

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

Regional additions and construction projects include:

Parks
- Breaks Interstate Park - This regional park would receive $400,000 to construct a new campground and upgrade the restaurant.
- Claytor Lake State Park - This state park in Pulaski County is targeted for $3.4 million in improvements including new waterfront cabins with docks and improved marina facilities.
- Grayson Highlands State Park - With voter approval of the bond, $950,000 would be used to create a group camp area, build bathhouse facilities and improve park utilities.
- Hungry Mother State Park - The Virginia Association for Parks and DCR have identified land acquisition in Smyth County adjacent to the park as a top priority. Campsites at the park are often sold out, and there is little land in the park suitable for campground expansion. Acquisition and construction improvements are expected to cost $1 million. Also at Hungry Mother, sediment has slowly silted the man-made lake. About $1.4 million is targeted for dredging the lake to its original contours.
- Natural Tunnel State Park - The acquisition of land adjacent to this state park in Scott County is needed to develop an overnight cabin complex within this mountain park. Additional fishing access on Stock Creek is also a goal. Passage of the bond would allow the construction of this park's first overnight cabins and improvements to campgrounds and a bathhouse at a cost of $3.5 million.
- New River Trail State Park - Covering four counties, the park would see $2.5 million in renovations to the historic Foster Falls complex, $850,000 dedicated to developing trail access and trail safety improvements as well as improvements to the water distribution system.
Wilderness Road State Park - Acquisition and protection of the Cumberland Mountain range north and east of the park will preserve pioneer era vistas Daniel Boone and countless settlers beheld on their way to the Ohio Territory. The bond would provide
more than $2.5 million to renovate historic Karlan Mansion and to build a visitor center, ranger residence, roads, picnic area, parking and utilities.

Natural Area Preserves
- Grayson County Wetlands - A new natural area preserve would protect a series of headwater wetlands on the Blue Ridge Plateau in Grayson County. These wetlands have a range of rare vegetation that provides habitat for 10 rare plant species, one of the highest concentrations in the state.
- Montgomery County Barrens - A new preserve would protect hillsides underlain by dolomite. This mineral-rich rock creates conditions for various rare vegetation, including woodlands and barrens, and provides habitat for many rare plant species, several of which are found nowhere else.
- Floyd County Wetlands - A new natural area preserve is proposed for the Blue Ridge Plateau in Floyd County. Habitat for two globally rare animals would be protected.
- Floyd County Addition - An addition to an existing natural area will further protect numerous rare plant and animal species. The addition would allow for watershed-wide control of an invasive plant threatening the site's rare wetland plants.
- Lee County Addition - Additions to a Lee County natural area preserve would protect additional cave habitats and karst terrain, globally rare limestone woodlands, and many rare plant and animal species, including one found on only one other site worldwide, and an animal found nowhere else.
- Montgomery County Addition - Additional land to an existing natural area would provide habitat for many rare plant species, including one federally endangered and two globally rare.

For more information about Virginia State Parks or the Parks and Natural Areas Bond, visit <www.dcr.virginia.gov/bond/.>

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