The beginnings of a new state park are in the works in western Loudoun County thanks to a 600-acre land donation by a conservation group, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today.
The Old Dominion Land Conservancy reached an agreement with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to donate the property, consisting of woodlands and pasture in western Loudoun. The ODLC obtained the property from the Leggett Foundation.
“Thanks to the generosity of several outstanding Virginians, the state will be able to add a scenic new park to its award winning state park system,” McDonnell said in a statement released from his office. “I want to commend Robert and Dee Leggett, whose foundation acquired land that became the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship in Loudoun County and will benefit future generations as a Virginia State Park.”
The property includes historic farmsteads, deep woods and wildflower meadows, and borders the Appalachian Trail. Much of the land witnessed action of Mosby’s Rangers and others during the Civil War.
Agreements have been signed with the state, but the transaction is not expected to occur until later in the year.
“I want to thank Secretary Domenech and the staff at State Parks, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Governor for all their work to make this happen,” Bob Leggett said in a statement released by McDonnell’s office. “I have enjoyed this land for a long time and now I am pleased to share it with the people of the state.”
“The significance of this new state park is immense,” Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) said. “This park will be a jewel to Loudoun County, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Nation.”
Higgins referenced the property’s connection to American history, particularly the Civil War.
“From a historical perspective alone, Governor McDonnell has preserved a considerable piece of history as this land includes the route Mosby’s Rangers took to attack the federal camp of Cole’s Cavalry one-hundred and fifty years ago on January 10, 1864,” Higgins said.
The 600 acres involved in this agreement is part of the 900-acre Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship property pictures on the accompanying map. The property is just part of what is hoped to be a 1,500-acre state park, according to Higgins' office.
Virginia has 36 state parks open to the public. The new addition joins newly acquired properties in Stafford, Shenandoah, Gloucester, Henry and Albemarle counties that are in various stages of development as future state parks.
The Virginia DCR will develop master plans for the property once acquisition is completed, and then develop timelines for future development.
Virginia State Parks receive more than eight million visits per year, providing an annual economic impact to the surrounding communities of approximately $206 million, according to information provide by the DCR.