Something that I really like about Virginia State Parks and James River State Park in particular is the various ecosystems that are being managed. Since the spring of 2000, James River State Park has been periodically burning large areas and then planting warm season grasses. What has resulted is a large representation of a Piedmont Prairie ecosystem, 130 acres of it to be exact.
What is the significance of this? Well, most Warm Season grasslands have disappeared due to development and agriculture. They’re a host to over 250 herbaceous plant species, many wildlife species like Bobwhite Quail, Bobcat, Deer, Possums, etc. love this habitat, and most places where this ecosystem still exists are no larger than 1.5 acres. One study I saw mentioned that only 0.2 % of these areas still exist. I don’t know of any other areas where a Piedmont Prairie is over 50 acres in size other than James River State Park with its 130 acres.
So you might be getting my drift as to why this area is really important and a great example of how it used to look in many areas before European settlement in North America. I’m really glad that Virginia State Parks has made it a priority to maintain this example of natural diversity. Other parks are managing for representative areas of Pine Savannas, pristine Piedmont Mountain Alluvial Forests, and others.
If you’re like me and you are interested in visiting places where vegetation is really diverse, you’ll see a lot of wildlife, and that represent what it used to look like in Virginia and on the East Coast, book on line now or call 800-933-7275.