In the spring of 2021, a coalition of organizations including land trusts, trails advocates, Virginia Indian Tribes and urban conservation groups formed to advocate for dedicated funding for natural resources in Virginia. Under the umbrella “Our Virginia Outdoors,” the coalition is focused on promoting a proposed package of programs that need increased and new funding.
Q: Why does VA need dedicated funding?
A: There is increasing demand from communities all across Virginia for land protection, public access to trails and other outdoor recreation opportunities. A dedicated fund in the State budget would sustain Virginia’s conservation programs, which are chronically underfunded. This new funding source would also enable critical new initiatives to provide underserved communities with more access to parks and open space—progress that is essential for Virginia to advance toward environmental justice.
Q: How does Virginia conservation funding compare to other states?
A: According to the Census Bureau, Virginia ranks near the bottom when compared to other states’ spending on natural resources. The average state spends about double the amount as a percent of their state resources versus Virginia’s spending on natural resources. When compared to our surrounding states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and particularly Maryland, Virginia spends considerably less on natural resources.
Q: How can I help ensure our leaders create dedicate funding for conservation?
A: A coalition of over 30 organizations has come together to advocate for dedicated funding for a package of new and existing programs. We’ll be rolling out opportunities for advocacy over 2022, so sign up and stay informed!
- Survey of Virginia Voters Shows Overwhelming Support for Increased, Dedicated Investments in Conservation Virginians expect state government to protect our natural resources for future generations. Click the link above to review the survey findings. The Nature Conservancy, 9/15/21
- Park Locator: Get to you know your VA parks and trails Discover new trails! Sort by region, or specific park features, like equestrian trails, boat rentals, or meeting space size. Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation, updated regularly
- How does Virginia fit into a national effort to conserve 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030? Our state would have to nearly double its total amount of protected lands, which currently sits at around 16.5 percent, in order to meet the national 30 by 30 goal set out by the America the Beautiful initiative. Virginia Mercury, 11/30/2021
- Virginia Natural Resources Funding and How It Compares to Other States The average state spends about double the amount as a percent of their state resources versus Virginia’s spending on natural resources. Virginia spends less on natural resources than the surrounding states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and particularly Maryland. Virginia Forever, 9/2017
- Trust for Public Land 10-minute Park Score Parks are essential for public health, climate resilience, and strong connected communities. And yet, 100 million people in the U.S.—including 28 million kids—don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk of home. Click the link to explore park access levels for nearly every city and town in the United States. Trust for Public Land, updated regularly