New Virginia State Park Protects Appalachian Trail

Published Aug 16, 2014

The Appalachian Trail Outside of Harpers Ferry, WV ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The Appalachian Trail Outside of Harpers Ferry, WV ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The genesis of a state park in Virginia is making news.

The town of Purcellville, Virginia, in Loudoun County, is about 15 miles south of Harpers Ferry, WV. The proposed park, in the western part of Loudoun County, will protect 600-acres of land adjacent to the Appalachian Trail not far from the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

According to The Washington Post: "The process for the land to become a state park is complicated -- the Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation had created a separate nonprofit, the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, on the property, and had given about two-thirds of the property to the Old Dominion Land Conservancy, which will donate it to the commonwealth."

The Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation's website made this statement about the purchase of land: "The Leggett Foundation is drawn to partnership. The largest investment to date, the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship, provides a model. The Foundation purchased 900 acres to protect the Appalachian Trail in Loudoun County, Va., then invited and supported partners to study the land's ecology, history and archaeology. Their findings led to a long-term conservation plan and permanent easement for the land. The Foundation also invested in program development there, creating a place-based learning center where partners can offer programs and conduct research."

In remarks posted on the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship's (BRCES) website, the President of the BRCES Board of Directors Gregory A. Miller, Ph.D. said,

"On behalf of the Board of Directors I am excited to share with you that planning has started to transition part of our land preserve into a new state park, as announced by former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell. This transition includes 600 of the Blue Ridge Center's 900 acres and will take place over several years. We at the Blue Ridge Center are pleased that the natural and cultural resources we've long stewarded will continue to be protected in perpetuity as a state park, thanks to generous donations from the Robert and Dee Leggett Foundation and the Old Dominion Land Conservancy.

The park will not open for several years, due to funding, planning and the intricacy of an environmental action of this scale. These two questions from the BRCES Q&As answer the most common queries:

What is the name of the state park? When will the state park open?

Since the process is in the formative stages, no name has been proposed for the future state park. There is a formal park planning process the state must follow for any state park.

I read that there are plans for the state park to be 1,500 acres. Is that true?

The current plan is to establish a new state park with the 600 acres donated by the Old Dominion Land Conservancy that it received from Leggett Foundation. Any expansion of the park would depend upon acquiring additional land in the vicinity of the Blue Ridge Center. We'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

We are thankful for the generosity and perseverance of all who are working to turn this proposition into reality.

Click Here for the New State Park's Frequently Asked Questions

Click Here for Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship

Tags: Tourism, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, News, Appalachian Trail Clubs, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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