The official celebration of Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park, where we will be having a concert by the Farewell Drifters, 75 cent hotdogs, and free birthday cake. All 35 parks will be having their own great celebrations on June 18th.
I will be attending the Hungry Mother and Douthat celebrations to sign my new pictorial, Images of America: Virginia State Parks. The book is an overview of 75 years of our park system’s history; from the CCC days to some our mostly recently developed parks, such as High Bridge Trail. This is my second pictorial with the Images of America series and is one near and dear to my heart; not only are the parks my profession, but they are also a passion. All proceeds from the book sales will be going to the Virginia Association for Parks. Johnny and Jo Finch, along with the other members, have been strong advocates for the parks and I felt, the book would be good way to support VAFP.
Since writing the book, I have been asked a number of questions by reporters. I thought I might share some of those with you. First, what did you learn about the parks that you didn’t know before? The answer is…. many things. Particularly, I found a lot of the early Civilian Conservation Corps history interesting. I had assumed that the CCC boys were from Virginia, not true. Most of the early camps were made up of young men from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Several of the camps had been previously stationed at Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Local men were included in some of the work at Hungry Mother. After the initial camps came to Fairy Stone, they were later replaced with CCC units from Virginia. One of my favorite quotes is from enrollee Sam Sollway at Douthat who described the CCC meals and housing as “three hots and a cot.” Lastly, I was reminded that much of the greatness of the young men, who served in WWII, came from the training and discipline that they received in the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Another question I am often asked is “What is your favorite park?” My usual
answer is that they are all unique and different; I often say that the strength of the system lies in its diversity, at Virginia State Parks “we are NOT a cookie cutter experience.” And it is my hope that our parks will always be outstanding and UNIQUE! Of course, the site I work at is my favorite, all day, 365 days a year. If pressed, I will admit, I am really partial to Grayson Highlands (I am a mountain girl after all….), but I also think Kiptopeke is glorious, Douthat is relaxing, Chippokes is fantastically historical…well, you get the picture, it’s hard to not find something great at any state park across Virginia.
I hope will join us at your favorite Virginia State Park on June 18th to celebrate 75 years of conserving our natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To discover more about our history and support our parks, purchase an Images of America: Virginia State Parks book at a merchandise location at any Virginia State Park.
Editor's Note: In addition to finding this wonderful treasure in our on line store.