With over 8 million citizens now dwelling in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it is fascinating to see how much public land is available for us to enjoy. Many Virginians do not even realize this is here (call it a perk of ownership)!
Exploring outside is always an adventure in Virginia
Chippokes Plantation State Parkalong The James River
When you think about Virginia, immediately the great National Parks come to mind, such asAssateague Island National Seashore.All of these lands are managed for outdoor recreation and ecosystem protection. But wait there is more…
Did you know that in Virginia we haveWildlife Management Areas(WMAs) totaling more than 201,000 acres for the benefit of all citizens to use for a variety of outdoor recreational activities?
Then we think about our21 Natural Area Preserves.
And of course we cannot leave out the amazing 67,920 acres in22Virginia State Forests!
The U.S. Forest Service administers the George Washington and Jefferson National forests which coverover 1.7 million acres of public land.The properties are managed for a variety of uses, including timber production, recreation, and protection of wilderness and species diversity. Forest Service lands constitute half of the public outdoor recreation property in the state.
Let's not forget the public fishing lakes, green ways, scenic rivers, scenic byways, public beaches, and historic sites (all of which are open to the public for recreational purposes). Over 70% of all counties and virtually all cities in Virginia have full-time park and recreation departments. Local facilities offer access to community open spaces and seasonal close-home-recreational opportunities.
These areasoffer hundreds of miles of trails designed for people to enjoy (or access) the outdoors. These trails offer the public opportunities to experience and enjoy the state’s flora, fauna, cultural resources and scenic beauty. Hiking, angling, boating, hunting, wildlife watching, bicycling and horseback riding are proven contributors to good physical health and mental well-being – part of a healthy lifestyle that reduces illness, obesity and anxiety for all.
All in all what a blessing it is to live in this beautiful scenic state so full of opportunity for you and I! As the great conservationist Teddy Roosevelt once said:
"There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty."