Issue: 30
Winter 2015
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation Newsletter
IN THIS ISSUE
New access on the James River
Grants and Awards
SESHR Greenway Plan released
Featured Resources
Webinars
NPS free entrance dates
2016 Calendar
Amtrak extends roll-on bicycle service
Potomac Heritage Roundtable
York River up for scenic designation
Chesterfield Supervisors leave a legacy
Help plan the anniversary for the Revolutionary War
Is your site a Virginia Treasure?
A.T. volunteers break records!
Great Eastern Trail updates
Congress authorizes the FAST ACT
A year of celebration for DCR
Making the vision real on the James
b y Justin Doyle

Since 2012 nearly 20 new public river access sites have been added to the James River and its tributaries. Through Envision The James , the James River Association, Chesapeake Conservancy, and their partners continue to increase recreational access to the Alleghany Highlands Blueway , Upper James River Water Trail , James River Heritage Trail , and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail . Exciting plans for more public river access in the Richmond region were recently announced .

Grants and Awards
Jan. 2
American Battlefield Protection Planning Grants Program

Jan. 8

Jan. 12

Jan. 29
People for Bikes

Jan. 31

Feb. 4
Beyond Traffic:  the Smart City Challenge

Feb. 9

June 15

no deadline


Grants.gov is the federal funding site for 1000 grant programs offered by 26 agencies.
SEHSR Greenway Plan released
The study for the Southeast Corridor Greenway, a proposed section of the East Coast Greenway from Burgess to the Neuse River in NC, is complete and available online. This study was undertaken as part of the environmental analysis for the Southeast High Speed Rail from Richmond to Raleigh, to move the greenway closer to "shovel-ready" status.

The purpose of the Southeast Corridor Greenway project is to construct a bicycle and pedestrian shared-use greenway in coordination with the proposed SEHSR corridor.

DRPT is actively working on a Tier II Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the D.C. to Richmond corridor (DC2RVA).  To view their online meeting and comment by Jan. 8, click here.
Featured Resources
Webinars
Countermeasure Strategies for Pedestrian Safety: Roundabouts
Jan. 6 at 1 pm 

Livable Communities for all Ages
Jan. 14 at 2 pm

Why Everybody Talks About Transportation Safety, But Nobody Does Anything About It 
Jan. 27 at 2 pm

Making the Case for Parks and Trails
Jan. 28 at 3 pm
 
Pedestrian Planning for Communities: A Transferable Training Program from Kentucky
Feb. 11 at 2 pm 

Exploring Tactical Urbanism
Mar. 10 at 2 pm 

NPS celebrates 100 years with free entrance dates
Mark your calendar for these entrance fee-free dates to National Parks in 2016:

    Jan. 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
    April 16 - 24: National Park Week
    Aug. 25 - 28: National Park Service Birthday
    Sept. 24: National Public Lands Day
    Nov. 11: Veterans Day

To see a map depicting the National Parks in Virginia, click here.
2016  Calendar
January 1
First Day Hikes in Virginia State Parks

January 9
Arlington, VA

January 10-14
Washington, DC

January 31 - February 3, 2016
Active Living Research Conf.
Clearwater Beach, Florida

February 6-11

February 7-10
Washington, DC

March 5-11
Knoxville, TN

March 7-9

April 2-5
Phoenix, AZ

April 5-7
Columbus, OH

May 16-20
Boise, ID

September 12-15
Vancouver, BC

November 10-12
Bentonville, AR
DCR Trails Program Mission:  Provide assistance and education to encourage the development, maintenance and promotion of attractive, sustainable and connected trails throughout the state.
 
Jennifer Wampler
Trails Coordinator
Virginia Dept of Conservation & Recreation, Division of Planning and Recreation Resources

Happy Holidays!
Enjoy your time with friends and family this holiday season, and tell them to take a hike!
Amtrak extends roll-on bicycle service
A mtrak now offers more trains serving Virgina with roll-on service. The Silver train additions offer East Coast Greenway travelers service from New York City to Miami. Reservations are required, and roll-on service is only offered at stations with baggage service.
Learn more about how to bring your bicycle onboard, and be sure to scroll down to find information about the Silver lines.
Potomac Heritage Roundtable
Debbie Spiliotopoulous receives the
Potomac Heritage Trail Association Government Agency Award, photo by Ursula Lemanski
b y Don Briggs

Approximately 42 individuals representing 30 agencies and organizations participated in the 2015 Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail Roundtable held in mid-November at Algonkian Regional Park near Sterling, Virginia.  Complemented by an afternoon hike, topics included a review of the past year; capitalizing on the National Park Service 100 th anniversary commemoration to promote PHT events in 2016; an expanded GIS and on-line Atlas; reviewing r oute-marking and graphic identity guidelines; an innovative "networked ethnography" project; coordinating social media and PHT-related promotion; revisions to PHT media; continuing a scenic resource inventory and analysis; and the economic impacts of outdoor recreation.   For questions and suggestions for events and future meetings, send a note to the NPS Trail Office. 
York River up for scenic designation
Photo provided by The Watermen's Museum.

The General Assembly will be deciding on another Scenic River--the York River between Gloucester and York Counties is up for designation in 2016. The river is loaded with cultural, historic and recreational assets that make it not only scenic, but historic. In 2016, it will have been 28 years since the General Assembly designated a historic river; the James was designated in 1988.
Chesterfield Supervisors leave a legacy
50-year plan approved in November

Chesterfield County supervisors signed off on a 360-mile bikeways and trails plan that paves the way for a large active transportation network in the Richmond region.  

The advocacy community played an important role in the plan's success, collecting over a thousand signatures to demonstrate local support.   Bike Walk RVA advocates for comfortable and connected places to bike and walk for people of all ages and abilities in greater Richmond.
Help plan the anniversary for the Revolutionary War
L'Hermione at Yorktown

Are you interested in a Revolutionary War discussion about a Commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the American War for Independence?

Although many events led up to the American Revolution, the fighting started in 1775 at Lexington and Concord and lasted through 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. 

The National Park Service can play a convening role because the Yorktown campaign was the culminating event of the American Revolution and the Washington Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Heritage Trail connects the many revolutionary war parks, heritage areas, national trails and NPS programs in the very urban east. They are interested in engaging active partners such as the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, the Society of the Cincinnati, Museum of the American Revolution and W3R-US, and want to reach out to schools, libraries, arts groups, etc. A group called Revolution 250 has already started up in Boston. 

The National Park Service proposes developing an interpretive plan for the 250th anniversary that would include a timeline of the relevant anniversaries; identify commemoration opportunities; brainstorm new ideas for the commemoration and identify roles and responsibilities for future action. 
Contact:
Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historical Trail
200 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

 
Is your site a Virginia Treasure?

by Robbie Rhur

In 2014 Governor McAuliffe announced the Virginia Treasures Program.  This program not only acknowledges land conservation but celebrates recreational projects and cultural designations.   
 
The Virginia Treasures program application is now live and on the Treasures webpage.  There are two ways to submit a Treasure: 
1. Land Conservation - Contact David Boyd at david.boyd@dcr.virginia.gov 

2. Use the on-line application to submit a recreational treasure.  The application is how we ensure that Treasures are tracked and you (or the managing entity) receive the official  Treasure certificate.  All treasures must have been opened to the public on or after January 2014 to become part of the program; each year we request you submit your newest projects; however, please do not submit a Treasure until it is opened to the public.  
 
Together we can make this program an enormous success and improve outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.
A.T volunteers break records!
Reprinted with permission from ATC Regional Newsletter

ATC is pleased to announce that for fiscal year 2015, a record-breaking 6,827 volunteers reported contributing approximately 272,477 hours to the maintenance and protection of the Appalachian Trail!

Since the ATC began collecting reports in 1983, individuals have contributed more than 5 million hours to the A.T., resulting in a volunteer network that is recognized worldwide.

In 2015, volunteers donated time equivalent to the work of 131 full-time workers and contributed to a wide variety of projects, including maintaining the A.T. corridor, monitoring and removing invasive species, supporting teachers in the Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) program, and collaborating with designated A.T. Communities.

To the dedicated, talented, and capable volunteers of the Virginia region: thank you for making 2015 an amazing year for the Trail!

Click here to join this vibrant community of volunteer stewards.

Great Eastern Trail updates
This new long-distance trail has made progress in two areas in Virginia.
  1. A guidebook covering the trail south from Virginia highway 55 in northern Virginia to White Sulphur Springs, just across the border in West Virginia, is now complete, and has moved closer to publication.  The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club will publish this book, so check for updates at their online store.
  2. The new trail club in Narrows, Virginia, has proposed to build the trail in the gap from Narrows on to the border with West Virginia on the New River.  The Army Corps of Engineers is working through a process that will allow a volunteer group to build the trail.  On November 6, Tom Johnson met with the Narrows Now Trail Club to talk about the new trail section.  
Congress authorizes the FAST ACT
Highlights from Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act,  a five-year, $500 billion compromise

The investments made by this Act will promote greater mobility and access to public transportation services throughout the Nation. 

The FAST Act converts the Surface Transportation Program (STP) to a block grant program, maximizing the flexibility of STP for states and local governments. It also increases the amount of STP funding that is distributed to local governments from 50 percent to 55 percent over the life of the bill. The Act provides states and local governments with increased flexibility by rolling the Transportation Alternatives Program into STP, and allowing 50 percent of certain  transportation alternatives funding suballocated to lo cal areas to be used on any STP-eligible project.

The FAST Act increases the focus on roadway safety infrastructure and on the safety needs of pedestrians. The Act creates a state grant to enhance safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and other nonmotorized users. In addition, there is an increase in funding to improve the safety of railway-highway grade crossings.  

The conference report includes a definition of a small purchase to mean a purchase of not more than $150,000 for the application of Buy America requirements in section 5323(j). The report also includes a provision allowing multiple states and providers to purchase capital assets through cooperative procurements. These procurements allow one state to act as a lead procurement agency in an administrative capacity on behalf of each participant to the contract. The conference report creates a pilot program to allow up to three geographically diverse nonprofits to host cooperative procurement contracts.

A year of celebration for DCR
by Shannon Johnson 

2016 marks an important year for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Three of six areas that make up DCR will celebrate anniversaries - Natural Heritage, Planning and Recreation Resources, and Virginia State Parks - along with The National Park Service's centennial celebration. 

Planning and Recreation Resources celebrates 50 years
The commonwealth's first comprehensive outdoor recreation plan, Virginia's Common Wealth, was published in 1965 and highlighted the importance of outdoor recreation and open space to the quality of life for Virginians. It established recommendations to protect and expand outdoor recreation opportunities for the public.
In 1966, the Commission of Outdoor Recreation was established to "guide and coordinate continuing statewide implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan" and to "advise the Governor on resources and needs, coordinate the outdoor recreation activities of local, state and federal agencies, provide technical assistance to localities, and receive and allocate federal Land and Water Conservation funds."  Planning and Recreation Resources (PRR) has carried forth that mission for decades.

Over the past 50 years, this division has provided financial assistance for state and local parks through administration of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund for Virginia. To date, Virginia has received more than $80 million in state and local assistance, which has in turn been granted to 108 localities and every congressional district in Virginia, funding more than 400 projects, providing opportunities for public outdoor recreation in perpetuity.
In addition, since 1993, $18 million in federal funds has been applied to Virginia trail projects through the Virginia Recreational Trails Program, which has resulted in 295 completed trail projects.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation's Planning and Recreation Resources Division develops Virginia State Parks' Master Plans, manages design and construction of many types of facilities from cabins to playgrounds, protects Virginia's scenic resources and coordinates statewide trail efforts.

To celebrate 50 years of dedicated service to the commonwealth, PRR will be celebrating regionally at planning meetings and preparing for the openings of additional parks that might occur during the McAuliffe administration.