Press Conference, Cypress Swamps, Virginia Indians, and Colonial History
On Tuesday, July 1, 2014, Governor Terry McAuliffe hosted a press conference at First Landing State Park to sign an executive order reconvening the state's Climate Change and Resiliency Commission. We've hosted other press conferences and other VIPs before, but this one was different.
Governor McAuliffe prepares to sign the Executive Order
Usually the dignitaries' schedules are so tightthat they are pressed for time to complete a short tour andpose with a smile fora few media cameras. But Governor McAuliffe, not only spent the whole afternoon at Virginia State Park system. He toured multiple areas of the park, he met with volunteers, community partners, park staff, and park visitors, and he presented special commendationstopark rangers on our law enforcement staff. He did all of this with a smile on his face and a spring in his step. It is obvious that Governor McAuliffe truly enjoys the outdoors!
Environmental groups showed their support for the Governor at the Trail Center
After lunch with the board members of Sierra Club. I was particularly thrilled that my delegate for the Kempsville/Chesapeake area, Ron Villanueva, was in attendance.
Delegate Ron Villanueva and Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward
at the press conference
Governor McAuliffetoured the new Virginia Indians were re-interred after being repatriated from the Smithsonian Institution in 1997.Education Specialist Jennifer Huggins explained about the Powhatan federation and how the coastal area was prime hunting and fishing grounds for the tribes.
Governor McAuliffe pays his respects at the Virginia Indian burial ground
Foregoing his air conditioned SUV, the governor then went on a golf cart tour of the cabin and campground area stopping now and then to talk with park guests. He finished off his tour of the park with a quick stop into the Chesapeake Bay Center to tour the Jamestown.
Governor McAuliffe stops for a photo with members of the Princess Anne Garden Club who are big supporters of First Landing State Park
At the end of his tour, Governor McAuliffe assured irginia citizens and are economic engines, anchors if you will, for many of our state's small communities and big cities. Our state parks provide jobs, tourism dollars, educational programs,and most importantly, provide a respite for your mind, body, and spirit to relax a bit, away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Lt. Governor Ralph Northam also joined part of the tour and
showed his support for Virginia State Parks
Pictured here with Friends of First Landing Vice-President Helen Carter
Each state park is like a small city that needs constant attention with residential housing, rental cabins, campground with electrical and water lines, large public bathhouses, museums, gift shops, snack bars, visitor centers, wildlife, plants, and visitorsthat require monitoring and management. During his visit, Governor McAuliffe was amazed at the number of people that visit Virginia State Parks.
Ranger Smelser (right) and Ranger DeMay (left)
were presentedcommendations from the Governor;
Park Manager Bruce Widener also received a commendation
There were a lot of different activities going on during his visit: cabin and campground check-ins, day school field trips, children's activities, chicken turtle monitoring in the swamps, jogging groups on the trails, and so much more. Plan your trip for a week or just for the day. Click here for a schedule of self-guided and ranger-guided programs at First Landing and other Virginia State Parks.
Governor McAuliffe hiked part of the popular Bald Cypress Trail. There are several scheduled guided hikes of this trail every week in the summer.
Virginia State Parks Customer Service Center at 1-800-933-PARK. Day use parking fees are only $4 weekdays and $5 weekend.