The Code of Virginia requires that master plans be written for all Virginia State Parks. The plans cover the size, types and locations of facilities as well as the site's special features and resources. Plans also cover infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, and outline phased development and costs for operations, maintenance and staffing.
For new parks, the site's cultural, natural and developed resources are inventoried. An advisory committee, appointed by the DCR director, meets several times during the planning process. DCR staff and the committee review the park’s resource information to consider appropriate park development.
Three public meetings are held at key times during the initial planning process. At the first meeting, the park's purpose statement, goals, objectives, conditions, and site inventory and analysis are discussed. A draft of the master plan is then written and reviewed at a second public meeting. Comments from the public meetings are considered and integrated into the final draft of the master plan. The plan is then presented at a Board of Conservation and Recreation (BCR) meeting for further comment. After the BCR review, the plan is circulated to members of the General Assembly for comment. Following this, DCR's director adopts the plan.
Every five years, each state park master plan is reviewed and updated if necessary. Planners meet with park staff to identify new land acquisitions, development and progress on the master plan. External and internal factors impacting the park also are assessed. If changes are significant from the original master plan, a public meeting is held. Five-year updates are incorporated into the original master plan and presented to the BCR for approval and the DCR director for adoption.