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Share your thoughts on this statewide outdoors plan

The Virginia Outdoors Plan is open for public comment through the end of July

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.

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

Photo via ShenandoahNPS

Background

The state is required to create the 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.

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.

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