State Parks across Virginia are hosting special events on June 17, 2023, in honor of the system’s 87th anniversary. 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 just six parks — Douthat, First Landing, Fairy Stone, Staunton River, Hungry Mother and Westmoreland. They 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 1936, the system has grown to 41 parks, with one located within an hour’s drive of most Virginians. They offer more than 2,000 campsites, nearly 300 cabins, more than 500 miles of trails and convenient access to Virginia’s major waterways. In addition, 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 87th anniversary, parks are hosting a Virginia State Parks History & Culture Day. Some of the activities planned include self-guided and ranger-led tours, cultural demonstrations, kayaking tours, guided hikes, mock archeology digs, historical artifact viewings and much 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.”