Land cel­e­bra­tion could bol­ster ties to out­doors

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Sports -

In what equates to a snap of the fin­gers in the his­tory of hu­man ex­is­tence, man’s re­la­tion­ship with the out­door world has changed so dras­ti­cally in the past sev­eral thou­sand years that he would be un­rec­og­niz­able to an­cient an­ces­tors. It is easy to see how some­one wrapped in a buf­falo cloak might have a hard time com­pre­hend­ing to­day’s hu­mans’ need for bug spray, snake boots, and those funny look­ing minia­ture um­brella hats with built in fans.

Still, there’s no deny­ing the im­por­tance of man’s con­nec­tion to na­ture. Whether an af­ter­noon walk with the dog to the neigh­bor­hood park or a week­long horse­back trek into the back coun­try of Yel­low­stone, one might ar­gue that man’s re­la­tion­ship to the out­doors now is more im­por­tant than ever.

As the pop­u­la­tion grows, the ac­cess to na­ture through pub­lic lands will play a more vi­tal role in pro­vid­ing out­door op­por­tu­ni­ties for ev­ery­one.

The last Satur­day in Septem­ber was es­tab­lished as Na­tional Pub­lic Lands Day more than 20 years ago. In 2017, Vir­ginia’s Gen­eral Assem­bly voted unan­i­mously to mark the same Satur­day in Septem­ber as Vir­ginia Pub­lic Lands Day, which will be cel­e­brated for the first time on the 30th.

“Vir­ginia is in­cred­i­bly blessed when it comes to our nat­u­ral re­sources. Pub­lic Lands Day is a way to rec­og­nize those who had the fore­sight to pre­serve these re­sources and to re­mind our­selves that we, too, share in that re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said Del­e­gate David Bulova. “But more than that, I hope that Pub­lic Lands Day will inspire Vir­gini­ans to ex­pe­ri­ence these great re­sources for them­selves, whether that is a hike in the moun­tains or a fam­ily week­end at one of our parks. Pub­lic Lands Day is an in­cred­i­ble way to come to­gether to cel­e­brate what is im­por­tant to us as Vir­gini­ans.”

Vir­ginia is home to 37 state parks, 63 nat­u­ralarea pre­serves, 22 na­tional parks, 24 state forests, and 41 wildlife-man­age­ment ar­eas that con­sti­tute more than 3.7 mil­lion pub­lic acres, but Vir­ginia Pub­lic Lands Day isn’t just about cel­e­brat­ing the large tracts of pub­lic lands in the state, it’s about cel­e­brat­ing them all, from the small­est of neigh­bor­hood gar­dens to the hun­dreds of miles of pro­tected pub­lic trails.

“These pub­lic lands pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­plore the nat­u­ral won­ders of Vir­ginia, pro­tect habi­tat, na­tive species, view­sheds and our wa­ter­ways — thereby not only vastly im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life for our cit­i­zens but also at­tract­ing visi­tors and sup­port­ing our econ­omy,” said Molly Ward, state sec­re­tary of nat­u­ral re­sources.

Vir­ginia’s United Land Trusts in part­ner­ship with The Na­ture Con­ser­vancy, North­ern Vir­ginia Con­ser­va­tion Trust, The Pied­mont En­vi­ron­men­tal Coun­cil, Po­tomac Con­ser­vancy, Trust for Pub­lic Land and other or­ga­ni­za­tions across the state will cel­e­brate Vir­ginia Pub­lic Lands Day and have helped fa­cil­i­tate a num­ber of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties open to the pub­lic.

The Na­ture Con­ser­vancy will host a pad­dle and hike on the Not­toway River/Chub Sand­hill Nat­u­ral Area Pre­serve (South­east­ern Vir­ginia) and an in­ter­pre­tive hike at The Pin­na­cle Nat­u­ral Area Pre­serve (South­west­ern Vir­ginia). They are also co­host­ing two events with the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Recre­ation at Kip­topeke and Douthat state parks.

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Recre­ation has co­or­di­nated events at each state park to cel­e­brate the day, and many land trusts and other con­ser­va­tion and out­door groups have events planned.

“As co-chair of the Gen­eral Assem­bly’s Out­door Recre­ation Cau­cus and the Vir­ginia Sports­man’s Cau­cus, and as a long­time ad­vo­cate and vis­i­tor of our beau­ti­ful state parks, I am very pleased that Vir­ginia is of­fi­cially join­ing the na­tional recog­ni­tion of our pub­lic lands and re­sources with the cel­e­bra­tion of Vir­ginia Pub­lic Lands Day. Pro­mot­ing our nat­u­ral her­itage and beauty is a won­der­ful way to draw tourism dol­lars, high­light our en­vi­ron­ment and push con­ser­va­tion stew­ard­ship,” said Sen­a­tor Emmett Hanger.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.