The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) recently updated The Virginia Outdoors Plan (VOP), Virginia’s official guide for the planning of public outdoor recreation and land conservation. DCR called upon the HRPDC to help with updating the Hampton Roads portion of the plan. HRPDC Planning staff provided content review for the Hampton Roads chapter, verifying existing resources or planned projects across the region, as well as identifying high priority regional projects. The included maps were reviewed for accuracy and where appropriate, updated geographic information systems (GIS) data was provided. In addition, the HRPDC provided photos and also hosted two of the 42 meetings held across the state in 2012 to collect public comments for the plan’s update.
The document highlights the natural resources and historical attractions Virginia has to offer and is updated every five years. This is the 10th such plan produced since 1965, and is the first to be completely paperless. It also debuts VOP Mapper, a user-friendly online tool for mapping outdoor recreation resources and conserved lands.
This plan promotes expanding tourism opportunities and the economy through outdoor recreation and land conservation. The VOP is required for Virginia to participate in the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund program. Virginia has received more than $76 million in grants through the National Park Service. DCR disperses these grant funds statewide for public outdoor recreation. More than 400 projects across the state have been made possible through this funding. Projects range from improvements at existing parks to land acquisitions for developing new parks.