What’s at Stake

Parks, trails, natural areas and wildlife are part of what we love about Virginia. We need to protect them for future generations.

Our Way of Life

Spending time outdoors is more important than ever before. We need to ensure we have enough open spaces and parks for all Virginia communities to have safe, healthy places to get outside and enjoy nature. 

Virginia’s greenways and trails boost tourism spending, increase home values, and offer transportation options. With Virginia’s parks and natural areas seeing huge increases in use, our parks are in danger of being loved to death, and state spending hasn’t kept up with demand. Once natural areas are lost, they’re gone forever.

People in urban areas need more ways and places to access parks, green spaces, and trails, especially in underserved communities. For too many Virginians, these parks and  public lands are inaccessible due to distance  from home, uneven distribution across the  Commonwealth, and the lack of ADA compliant facilities.

Polling shows that a majority of Virginians across party lines expect state government to protect our natural resources for future generations. We need dedicated funding to ensure current citizens, future generations and tourists who bring dollars into our economy can count on the places that make Virginia special.

The Friendliest Town on the Appalachian Trail

“Outdoor recreation is imperative to the health and wellbeing of each and every person on this planet.  We need to make sure we preserve the conservation of our Parks and Trails.”

Damascus Mayor Katie Lamb

“Everything in the oyster business is dependent on what happens on the land.”

Having seen the link between water quality and land use, Lake Cowart is turning his sights towards protecting additional farmland on the banks of the Coan River where his business, Cowart Seafood Corporation, is headquartered. 

Virginia’s parks, forests and farms are critical to the health of our waterways and drinking water.

Our Land and Water

Virginia’s forests buffer farmland and filter out pollutants before they reach important drinking water sources like rivers, streams, and lakes. Conserving natural areas like forests, farms and wetlands also removes carbon from our air. And, by investing in flood resilience now, we can reduce our risk from future flooding and prevent millions of dollars in damage and emergency response.

But growing development pressures, accelerating impacts of climate change, and the increasing demands placed on our resources
threaten to overwhelm our outdoors. Virginia funds natural resources at much lower levels than surrounding states. Less than one percent of Virginia’s state budget went toward natural resources in 2017. 

Did you know?

For every public $1 invested in land conservation, $4 in natural goods and services is returned to the Commonwealth. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.7 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy.

Investing in conservation puts people to work and grows our economy.

Our Economy

Virginia’s world-class outdoor recreation opportunities are powerful economic drivers for the state. Outdoor recreation employs 123,000 Virginians and generates over $9 billion for our economy that wouldn’t be possible without clean water and beautiful natural areas. But growing development pressures, accelerating impacts of climate change, and the increasing demands placed on our resources threaten to overwhelm our outdoors. By establishing dedicated funding for natural resources, we can respond to these threats with the immediacy and scale needed to ensure that Virginians will be able to enjoy the great outdoors and all the benefits they bring for generations to come.

Virginians support dedicated funding. Seven-in-ten Virginians are willing to pay additional taxes each year to protect our land, water and wildlife, and would support the state dedicating $300 million annually to conservation programs.