Plus, real estate tax relief for older adults
 
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6AM City Christmas in July

Today’s Forecast

92º | 15% chance of precipitation
Sunrise 5:58 a.m. | Sunset 8:32 p.m.

 
🌳 Virginia’s parks plan
RICtoday_JamesRiver_Kayak
Share your thoughts on the future of Virginia’s waterways. | Photo via James River Association
If you love a walk along the James River trails, a camping trip in Shenandoah, or a gaze at those mountains John Denver was so fond of, you’re probably a Virginia nature lover — like us.

Now’s your chance to impact the next five years of financial decisions made across the Commonwealth’s recreation lands, historic sites, and waterways. The Virginia Outdoors Plan 2024 is open for public comment.

RICtoday_NationalParks_Shenandoah_Waterfall

Virginia’s natural offerings include Dark Hollow Falls, a 70-ft cascade at Shenandoah National Park.

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Photo via ShenandoahNPS

Background

The state is required to create the Virginia Outdoors Plan (VOP) every five years to be eligible for funds from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. It will be used to guide funding decisions and distribution across Virginia.

Planning for this VOP began in 2019, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan was initially meant to be published in 2023.

Once complete, the VOP will be used by government agencies, local and regional planners, and community partners to make decisions about outdoor recreation and land conservation.

Explore the plan

The VOP has four sections, plus an appendix. You can use the table of contents to navigate. Here’s a breakdown of each section.

VOP Implementation - Past and Present

This section covers the VOP priorities, metrics, and economic impacts of outdoor recreation statewide. It also details lessons learned during the pandemic.

Outdoor Recreation Activities, Amenities, and Priorities

Explore state goals regarding Recreation for All, accessibility in outdoor recreation, and trail networks and planning.

A small sign reading "Joseph Bryan Park" hangs by the side of the road

The plan can be used by local and regional agencies to guide outdoor recreation and conservation decisions.

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Photo by RICtoday

Land and Water Conservation and Recreation

Get the details on all things conservation, including data on loss of wetlands and renewable energy.

Federal and State Grants Guidance for Strategic Planning

This part gets into how the plan can be used to acquire funding and staying within federal and state requirements.

Get involved

After looking over the plan, submit your comments to the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation. Pro tip: You can also see comments left by other Virginians.

The public comment window will be closed at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31.
 
Quiz
 
Approximately how much money did Virginia State Parks visitors spend in the Commonwealth in 2023?

A. $140 million
B. $262 million
C. $301 million
D. $349 million
 
 
Events
 
Thursday, July 11
  • The Oasis: A High Noon Summer Concert Series | Thursday, July 11 | 12-1 p.m. | The Valentine, 1015 E. Clay St., Richmond | Free | Relax in the historic green space and enjoy some live music with Jazz Warriors Trio.
  • The Wildmans | Thursday, July 11 | 7 p.m. | Richmond Music Hall, 623 E. Main St., Richmond | $15 | The folksy brother-sister duo will headline a show with opener Annie Stokes.
Friday, July 12
  • Flying Squirrels vs. Harrisburg Senators | Friday, July 12 | 6:35 p.m. | The Diamond, 3001 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd., Richmond | $10-$25 | Richmond 34 Legacy Weekend kicks off with an auction of special jerseys to benefit the Richmond 34 Legacy Scholarship Fund.
  • Jersey Shore Dance Party | Friday, July 12 | 9:30 p.m. | Bingo Beer Co., 2900 W. Broad St., Richmond | Free entry | Get ready for a fist-pumping good time with DJ Carter B.
Saturday, July 13
  • “Finding Nemo” | Saturday, July 13 | 10 a.m. | The Byrd Theatre, 2908 W. Cary St., Richmond | $5 | See the classic Pixar film at this sensory-friendly screening.
  • RVA Square Dance | Saturday, July 13 | 1-4 p.m. | Studio Two Three, 109 W. 15th St., Richmond | $10 | No experience is necessary to join this all-ages dance with music by The Hot Seats.
  • Richmond Night Market | Saturday, July 13 | 5-9 p.m. | 17th Street Market, 100 N. 17th St., Richmond | Free entry | Shop from local vendors and enjoy live music by Jay Baxter & The S.A.U.C.E., kids activities with Cultural Roots, and JusRe in the maker space.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
 
News Notes
 
Civic
  • Henrico is creating a new Comprehensive Plan to guide the county’s vision through 2045. Take the community survey by Wednesday, July 31 to learn more and provide your input. The county will also host listening sessions later this summer.
Cause
  • There are several opportunities to volunteer this Saturday, July 13 as part of the Maggie Walker Day of Service. Sign up to help with tree care at Abner Clay Park, work at Gilpin Community Garden, or participate in a Jackson Ward trash clean up.
State
  • Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an Executive Order on Tuesday to encourage districts to limit or eliminate student cell phone use during school. The Dept. of Education will publish draft guidance on implementing cell phone-free education in K-12 schools by Aug. 15. (Virginia Mercury)
Theater
  • Virginia Rep has a new managing director. Klaus Peter Schuller comes to Richmond after serving as executive director for Randolph Entertainment in Chicago. He’ll start next month alongside artistic director Rick Hammerly. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Real Estate
  • Did you know? Many Richmonders over 65 and those with permanent disabilities qualify for the city’s OAPD Real Estate Tax Relief Program. The deadline to apply to get the credit applied to your 2025 bill is Sept. 30.
Biz
  • You might recognize these hydration stations from your last visit to City Stadium. Local company Richmond Water has a goal to deploy 200 stations around the region within the next two years.
Outdoors
  • Maymont has a fresh look. The historic estate and park rebranded its website, signage, and materials with the help of local research consultancy SIR. Check out the new logo.
Wellness
Try This
Health
  • “The clarity is insane.” That’s what we’re hearing (loud and clear) about this best-selling hearing device. It makes conversation effortless, even in background noise. Join 350,000+ happy customers with a no-risk trial.*
Finance
  • If your last credit card bill sent a chill down your spine — even in this heat — it might be time for a balance transfer. The Ascent recommends these four cards with 0% APR for up to 18 months. (You could have almost two years to avoid interest charges.)*
 
 
The Buy
 
A really soft, breathable men’s performance t-shirt that Nordstrom just marked down. The Vuori shirt is great for everyday wear or working out.
 
Answered
 
We asked how you feel about AI-generated content.
Respondents seemed skeptical. Around 48% said they weren’t a fan and 46% said it’s OK, as long as humans edit it. Approximately 5% said they liked it.
 
 
The Wrap
 
Robin Schwartzkopf in a red button down shirt Today’s edition by:
Robin
From the editor
As a person with roots in West Virginia, I’m not sure I buy into the “John Denver meant western Virginia” story. But both states definitely have their share of natural beauty.
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