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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 21, 2013
Contact: Gary Waugh, DCR Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-5045, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov

Virginia State Parks and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance have formed a new Adopt-A- Park partnership to enhance trails and public access

 (RICHMOND/WILLIAMSBURG) – A state park trails project and a conservation dinner are the first two events in a new collaborative partnership between Virginia State Parks and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. The USA has launched a nationwide Adopt-A-Park program to renew, rebuild and restore America’s parks.  The program connects local union volunteers with projects that will improve park facilities benefiting all visitors. Virginia’s state parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Volunteers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 666, United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Locals 10, 540 and 110, and Virginia Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) will gather Wednesday, Aug. 21 at York River State Park in James City County to begin work on trail improvements that will create more accessible walkways for those with mobility issues.   On Saturday, Sept. 21, the USA will host its first Annual Conservation Dinner in Richmond to begin raising funds to implement additional Adopt-A-Park projects in Virginia State Parks.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national, AFL-CIO affiliated organization working to unite union sportsmen and women to educate future generations of sportsmen, conserve healthy wildlife habitat and volunteer their skills for projects that improve access to the outdoors.

“Our partnership with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is a great fit for Virginia State Parks.  The proximity of AFL-CIO members makes York River State Park a great place to kick-off these projects,” said Joe Elton, DCR’s director of state parks. “As president of America’s State Parks Foundation I have had the opportunity to see the good work these volunteers are doing around the country and to meet Fred Myers, the organization’s executive director.  Fred loves the great outdoors and has a heart for conservation, hunting, fishing and all forms of outdoor recreation.” 

Virginia state parks have an active volunteer program with more than 6,000 volunteers who each year donate as much as 340,000 hours. The USA Adopt-A-Park initiative will add even more volunteer opportunities in Virginia’s award winning state parks.

“With more than three quarters of a billion visits annually, America’s state parks are an intrinsic part of our country’s culture and legacy,” said USA Executive Director Fred Myers.  “Through our Adopt-A-Park program, we’re uniting America’s union labor force to volunteer their time and unique trade skills to ensure a bright future for our parks. We’re thrilled to begin our first project in Virginia. This wouldn’t have happened without the commitment of America’s State Parks Foundation and Virginia State Park Director Joe Elton, who has been instrumental in helping us design this program."

York River State Park is located on the York River with 2,550 acres of coastal forest and wetlands as well as 30 miles of trails.  The park features mountain biking, hiking and equestrian trails in the park’s main area as well as the Croaker Landing fishing pier and boat launch area. The park is part of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

“As a day-use park our nearly 30 miles of trails are an integral part of York River’s offerings,” said Russell Johnson, York River State Park manager. “It is rare to have a project like this one that enhances those offerings for all of our guests, no matter their physical capabilities.”

Virginia’s 36 award-winning state parks offer dozens of festivals and concerts and thousands of educational programs across the state.

For more information about state park activities and amenities, or to make reservations in one of the 25 parks with camping facilities or 18 parks with cabins or family lodges, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933- 7275 (PARK) or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.

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