Governor McAuliffe Commemorates Anniversaries of State and National Park Systems
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe celebrated 80 years of Virginia State Parks and the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service today at Westmoreland State Park, one of the original six Virginia State Parks opened on this date in 1936.
Westmoreland State Park is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. Located along the Potomac River on Virginia’s Northern Neck, this ecological and historical gem is minutes from the birthplaces of both George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Park amenities include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an event hall, fishing, six miles of trails, camping, cabins, a resort-like retreat capable of accommodating 16 people, and a fossil beach littered with ancient shark’s teeth.
“Virginia’s State Parks are some of the best kept and most beautiful parks in the country, and these anniversaries are a testament to the Commonwealth’s century-old commitment to our natural resources and the great outdoors,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Increasing public access to our natural treasures has been a consistent priority for our administration, and I’m thrilled by the progress we’ve made through strategic investments in infrastructure and conservation. Our stewardship today is laying the groundwork for another 80 years of successful state parks and for future generations to enjoy Virginia’s natural beauty.”
Festivities included the unveiling of a newly rebuilt fountain, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) before its closure in 1942. The water feature was restored with support from the Garden Club of the Northern Neck and the Friends of Westmoreland State Park, as well as a generous private contribution from former Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Tayloe Murphy and his wife, Helen. Earl Jenkins, a local stone mason, worked with trained teenagers from the Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) to restore the fountain.
Governor McAuliffe and Deputy Director Denise Ryan from the National Park Service planted an oak tree to celebrate the event. The ceremony concluded with the burial of a time capsule containing items donated by the Governor and state and national park staff. Afterward, state and national park rangers led attendees on an educational hike culminating at the CCC-constructed log cabins at Campground C.
“Virginia State Parks would never have flourished into the incredible system we have today were it not for the unwavering devotion of its current and former staff,” said Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward. “Every park in the Commonwealth is packed with knowledgeable stewards committed to building upon the legacy of conservation and visitor satisfaction they have inherited.”
In addition to their joint anniversary celebration, Virginia State Parks and the National Park Service are partnering to promote Find Your Park, a year-long campaign to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and experience the parks in their communities. More information on this exciting initiative can be found at findyourpark.com.
“I’m thrilled to share this anniversary celebration with our friends at the National Park Service. Both groups work every day to preserve and share Virginia’s wild spaces, and we’ve come to appreciate just how effective we are when we work together. The Find Your Park initiative is a great success that cements a partnership that will continue for years to come,” said Virginia State Parks Director Craig Seaver.
Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information about Virginia State Parks activities and amenities or to make a reservation for one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climate-controlled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Customer Care Center at 800-933-7275 or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.