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February 22, 2020 Saturday

Please avoid riding at York River State Park due to a bike race 

January 2020

Dear Virginia State Park Supporters:

I want to take just a moment of your time to talk about the ever-growing EXCITEMENT
for Virginia State Parks in this year's 2020 General Assembly. The VAFP,
supported by VSP and DCR have managed to persuade Governor Northam to put an
unprecedented $144 million in his 2021 capital budget request, and just over $1
million in operations for Virginia State Parks. The hard work by the VAFP,
Volunteers, and Staff over the past few years looks as though it may pay off.

In addition to the $144 million proposed by Governor Northam, the VAFP will be
requesting SIX ADDITIONAL Budget Amendment Requests.

Youth Conservation Corps in All Parks
Inclusion of DCR Conservation Officers into VaLors (Virginia Law Enforcement
Officer Retirement System)
Daniel Boone Interpretive Center Operations and Staffing - (Satellite of Natural
Tunnel State Park)
Pocahontas State Park - New Cabin Support
Sweet Run State Park Operations and Staffing
Natural Bridge State Park Operations and Staffing

Our SIX AMENDMENTS include funding dollars and an ADDITIONAL 9 Full Time Employees.
ALL SIX of our Amendments are sponsored by House and Senate Members.

Find a summary of the Governor's proposed increased funding for State Parks,
the VAFP one page advocacy document, the Virginia State Parks 2019 Economic Impact
Study, and a current list of Delegates and Senators that show the Representatives

FOLKS, IT'S TIME to PICKUP the PHONE and EMAIL your representative!!!!!!

Please take a moment to reach out to your representatives and ask for their support
of Governor Northam's Budget increases for Virginia State Parks AND our SIX
BUDGET AMENDMENTS! IT is CRITICAL that they hear from as many voters as possible.
Reach out to your Friends Group members, neighbors, co-workers, and State Park
enthusiasts to SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS.

We have not had this OPPORTUNITY to SUCCESSFULLY support our parks MONETARILY in
many, many years.


Feel free to reach out to me with questions at Thank you
for your support of VIRGINIA STATE PARKS.

Tim Kennell
President, Virginia Association for Parks

Helpful Links:
Governor Northam's Budget for Office of Natural Resources including State Park One Page Advocacy Document
Virginia State Parks 2019 Economic Impact Study
2020 List of Delegates and Senators by Park
Sign up for periodic text messages on issues critical to parks in Virginia including General Assembly alerts 
Text VAFP to 888777

January 11, 2020 Petersburg National Battlefield

The section of Poor Creek Trail along Colquitt’s Salient has been closed for the nesting season of the bald eagles. Due to the nest being in close proximity to the trail, please adhere to the trail closure and do not cross or go around the barriers. This is a very sensitive time for the eagles and continuous human disturbance may lead to nest abandonment. Thank you for adhering to the trail closure and helping protect our bald eagles.

The first observation of the nesting pair in the park was back in 2003. Park staff have begun to monitor and await to see signs of the adults incubating eggs. Stay tuned for exciting updates on our majestic bald eagles.

December 2, 2019 SEAT Meeting

Guest Speaker: Mike Barber-Director of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for Chesapeake spoke about the availability of funds for improvement projects at the city parks over the next few years. He emphasized the need for better communication between the horse community and the department. Mike suggested creating a committee and/or having folks from the horse community serve on the Chesapeake Parks, Recreation, and Tourism advisory board, which meets the first Thursday of each month. Currently there are several improvement projects in the works at Northwest River Park, such as; the paving of the gravel road from the ranger station to the river, building a new ranger station and removing the old buildings, and repairing the Marjorie Rein Memorial walkway. The future Heritage Park has funds available also, but needs to have input from the horse community on each phase of development. The Dismal Swamp trail was mentioned as a concern for riding due to the overgrowth of scrubs and branches along the edge of the road forcing the horses to walk on the asphalt. Mike encouraged us to call the main contact number at 757-382-6411 with any concerns such as this one. Kevin Kaul-Parks Manager, Lauren- Northwest River Park, and Ana Elezovic-Planner II were also in attendance from the city.

Please let the city know that we would like to see some of the money allocated to go to improvements to the equestrian areas and equestrian trails. The more people that voice their support or concerns for Northwest River Park, Heritage Park, and Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, the better the chances are of seeing improvements.

You can email your comments to;

Chesapeake Parks & Rec. at 

Chesapeake’s City Manager at 

Chesapeake’s City Council at

November 21, 2019 Equine Herpesvirus-1

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — A horse in Virginia that was euthanized Monday tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1.

The horse was admitted Sunday to the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Large Animal Hospital in Blacksburg with neurological signs of Equine Herpesvirus-1, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said Thursday.

The horse “deteriorated” and was euthanized Monday, the release said. The test results for Equine Herpesvirus-1 came back positive Wednesday.

All exposed horses at the hospital were immediately isolated. They will be monitored twice a day for fever and other clinical signs of the virus.

The release did not say where the farm is that had the sick horse, but said it is under quarantine. Horses at that farm are also being monitored, the release said.

While the disease can be deadly, there is “no cause for alarm” for the general horse population in the state, the release said. The virus is present all over the world, and many horses carry the virus without any clinical signs for the rest of their lives.

Horses rarely exhibit the neurological form of the disease.

The Equine Disease Communications Center Biosecurity web pages have more information on best practices for disease prevention in horses.

VDACS has more information on EHV-1 at:


January 11, 2017

From VAHorseTrails on Facebook

Campers - I received bad news today. Virginia State Parks made the decision to close the primitive Canoe Launch equestrian campground at James River State Park (JRSP). This decision was without any formal stakeholder input or opportunities to look at possible solutions to the problems. The reasons I was given by the reservations office were that “…many people are walking through that area now for river access and going up to the horses creating a dangerous situation, people complained because we wouldn’t allow them to use generators any more. After the generator rule went into effect, fewer people were renting it too.”
This means that we lost 6 of the 16 campsites and 6 stalls at JRSP. Also, subtract 1 site at the Horseshoe campground that is now occupied by a camp host and we are left with 9 campsites and 20 stalls total.
If you have concerns about this decision, you may communicate them to key DCR staff. Contact information can be found here

July 2014
  Girl Scout Sarah McNally completed her Gold Award project at Northwest River Park!  She made several improvements to our equestrian area and trails.  Equestrian trails have been remarked and named, a mounting block and another hitching post were built, and display case revamped with glass case by restrooms.  Local girl and boy scouts have donated countless hours of their time making significant enhancements to the trails and equestrian area of Northwest River Park.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  :)



July 2013

Summons have been issued at Petersburg National Battlefield Park for the following violations:   

  1. Riding along the creeks, not just watering (causing excess horse manure in creeks)
  2. Violating the eagle nest trail restrictions (trail typically closed between December to July)
  3. Riding on the Park Tour Road (observed between Stops 3 and 4 and other places)
  4. Riding on Red Trails (trail maps with color coded trails designated, available at horse parking area)
  5. Entering the park after hours and riding (Park grounds open from 8am-Sunset daily, except: New Year's day, Thanksgiving and Christmas)

 Please report any violations to the Park Rangers at (757)898-2427. 



Taking in views at Lost River State Park