Happy 80th birthday, Virginia State Parks
Just as tiny acorns become mighty oak trees, the Virginia State Park system has grown from a small group of parks to a statewide network encompassing nearly 73,000 acres. On June 15, 1936, Virginia became the first state to open an entire park system on the same day.
The six parks offered modern outdoor recreational facilities while protecting areas with significant natural resources. Since then, the system has grown to 36 open parks and six parks targeted for future development. Each has natural and historical resources carefully managed and preserved while providing a wide variety of recreation opportunities for Virginia residents and visitors alike.
This year marks our 80th anniversary, a year traditionally celebrated with oak, and we’re celebrating all year long. From time capsules to tree plantings and the launch of a customer loyalty program, we’re planning special events and activities.
Join the fun
- Eighty things you can do, plus a contest with special rewards.
- Enjoy this cookbook, From Our Family to Yours. (PDF)
- Read about the history of Virginia State Parks.
- Enjoy this collection of vintage photos.
- Fun Facts about state parks.
- This year’s geo-caching adventure’s theme is the anniversary.
Happenings in 1936
1936 was turbulent. The Great Depression lingered. The nation’s unemployment hovered around 17 percent. Hitler’s Germany and allies were threatening dissidents and neighbors and becoming ever more aggressive. People needed respite from the turmoil and, in Virginia, they could thanks to the opening of Virginia’s first six state parks.
Other events and facts from 1936:
- A new house ran about $3,925.
- Wages averaged $1,713 a year.
- Gas was 10 cents a gallon, and a loaf of bread would set you back 8 cents. You could buy an ounce of gold for $35.
- The Girl Scouts switched from homemade to commercially baked cookies.
- Robert Redford, Carol Burnett, Burt Reynolds, Buddy Holly and John McCain were born.
- RCA broadcasted the first real TV show.
- Delco introduced the in-dash car radio.
- President Roosevelt was elected to a second term.
- The last American public hanging took place.
- Hoover Dam was finished.
- Jesse Owens defied Adolph Hitler and his theories of Aryan superiority by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.