Thursday, June 13, 2024

Virginia State Parks Celebrate 87th Anniversary

York River State Park Entrance

RICHMOND — State Parks across Virginia are hosting special events on June 17 in honor of the system’s 87th anniversary.

According to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the programs will give visitors of all ages the opportunity to learn more about each park’s unique history and culture.

The park system opened on June 15, 1936, with six parks — Douthat, First Landing, Fairy Stone, Staunton River, Hungry Mother and Westmoreland — that offered modern outdoor recreational facilities while protecting areas with significant natural resources.

“We are proud to be one of the six original state parks,” said Westmoreland Park Manager Steve Davis. “To know that our park helped launch Virginia State Parks into being one the best state park systems in the country is very humbling and exciting at the same time. We are excited to see the continued growth of Virginia State Parks.”

Since, the system has grown to 41 parks offering more than 2,000 campsites, nearly 300 cabins, more than 500 miles of trails and convenient access to Virginia’s major waterways.

According to DCR, the parks hold thousands of nature and history events every year.

“For 87 years, citizens of the commonwealth have come to Virginia State Parks to spend time with family and friends and to connect with Virginia’s abundance of natural, scenic and cultural resources. Virginia State Parks’ rangers are proud to continue that tradition now and for future generations,” said Director of Virginia State Parks Melissa Baker.

To celebrate the anniversary, parks are hosting a Virginia State Parks History & Culture Day. Planned activities include self-guided and ranger-led tours, cultural demonstrations, kayaking tours, guided hikes, mock archeology digs, historical artifact viewings and more.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate the 87th anniversary of Virginia State Parks,” said Tanya Hall, Hungry Mother’s chief ranger visitor experience. “For nearly a century now, we’ve prided ourselves on connecting people of all walks of life with nature, and we hope to continue in this tradition for years to come. We will be offering several programs on June 17 to celebrate our history not only as a state park built by the Civilian Conservation Corps but also our Appalachian history.”

Visitors can find park-specific anniversary events at To learn more about the history of Virginia State Parks, go to

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