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Capital Improvements

DCR's Design and Construction (DAC) section is responsible for all capital improvements and renovation within Virginia’s State Parks and Natural Areas. DAC's goal is to create long-lasting facilities across the state for the public to enjoy.


LEED visitor center at Wilderness Road State Park.Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a nationally recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. DCR voluntarily elected to use LEED standards for new visitor center construction. The following state parks have visitor centers that have been approved and rated by the council:

  • James River - LEED Gold - Buckingham County
  • Westmoreland - LEED Gold - Westmoreland County
  • Sailors Creek Battlefield - LEED Silver - Amelia County
  • Shenandoah River - LEED Silver - Warren County
  • Wilderness Road - LEED Certified - Lee County
  • Smith Mountain Lake - LEED Certified - Bedford County

Dam Rehabilitation

Lake Laura dam rehabilitation project.In 2008, the Virginia Public Building Authority approved $20 million for dam rehabilitation associated with soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs). State-required break inundation studies also are underway for all SWCD dams in Virginia. Design work towards rehabilitation has begun for these dams:

  • Stoney Creek Dam #9 - Lake Laura Dam
  • Stoney Creek Dam #10 - Bird Haven Dam
  • Lower North River Dam #78 - Briery Branch Dam
  • Lower North River Dam #83 - Hone Quarry

Park Development

Aerial view of High Bridge.High Bridge Trail State Park in Southside Virginia is a rail trail converted from a railway line last belonging to Norfolk Southern and having originated as a portion of the Southside Railroad. The first section of the trail opened in 2008. The final section was completed in 2012. At more than 30 miles, the shared-use trail for bicyclists, pedestrians and equestrians includes a restored crossing at the Appomattox River over the historic High Bridge.

Powhatan State Park, Virginia's newest state park, is in the northwest corner of Powhatan County. The park has diverse wildlife habitat, from open fields to upland hardwood forests. The park thus far features water access via car-top boat slide, a contact station, picnic shelters, a canoe-in campground, multi-use trails, wildlife observation areas and a playground. A campground is also being designed.

Now in the design phase, Widewater State Park in Stafford County will have a visitor center, two restroom buildings, a canoe launch, two picnic areas, trails, and roads and utilities to support development.