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Virginia inaugurates newest state park

Virginia inaugurates newest state park

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State leaders on June 14 formally dedicated Virginia’s newest state park – Seven Bends – which consists of 1,066 acres situated in the geographically unique Seven Bends area of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.

It becomes Virginia’s 41st state park.

“Seven Bends State Park is a wonderful addition to the Virginia State Parks system, and it provides much needed additional public access to the North Fork of the Shenandoah River,” Gov. Youngkin said during the dedication ceremony.

The park had a soft opening in early 2020. Located near the town of Woodstock, it features two hand-carry boat launches, picnic areas, a single-family-sized picnic shelter, restrooms and more than eight miles of hiking and biking trails.

The trails include access to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests trail system along the Massanutten mountain range.

“The purpose of Seven Bends State Park is to provide water- and land-based outdoor recreational and educational opportunities, while protecting and interpreting the spectacular scenic viewshed,” said acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles. “The diversity of habitats provides outstanding opportunities for nature study, outdoor classrooms and programming.”

The majority of the park was amassed through several land donations. The town of Woodstock donated 85 acres of what was once the site of the town reservoir. Dr. James R. Myers donated the largest parcel adjacent to the reservoir, with approximately 674 acres.

The last parcel of land, at more than 306 acres and known as Camp Lupton, was purchased by the state government from Massanutten Military Academy.
Among those who live in the vicinity are Virginia House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R).

“I am pleased to see the local community as well as visitors experiencing the natural beauty and participating in the outdoor recreation opportunities here,” he said.

Having the park open provides another option for Virginia residents and visitors, said Matt Wells, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees the state-park system.

“There is a large demand for nearby public access to open spaces and recreational water resources,” Wells said. “Virginia’s master-planning process allows everyone to have a seat at the table. The plan adopted for Seven Bends will protect these valuable natural and cultural resources for the generations that follow.”

The park’s western boundary is the north fork of the Shenandoah River, where a 4-mile-long shoreline provides “exceptional water-based recreation opportunities,” said Dr. Melissa Baker, director of Virginia State Parks.

The park’s eastern border is shared with the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, providing highly desirable connectivity between public lands and expanding the area’s recreational opportunities, she said.
The park has attracted visitors during its soft-opening period, with nearly 84,000 so far this year.

For information on Virginia’s state parks, see the Website at www.virginiastateparks.gov.

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