Virginia reaches goal to protect 1,000 natural and historic treasures

waterfall near natural bridge virginia state park

waterfall near Natural Bridge Virginia State Park

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia has reached its goal to protect 1,000 natural and historic treasures across the state, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Thursday.

The news comes fewer than 18 months after an initiative was created to celebrate significant ecological, cultural and recreational lands.

“Virginia Treasures come in many forms. They can be ecologically significant lands protected with conservation or open-space easements, historic properties designated by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources or new projects that enhanced access to the Great Outdoors,” a spokesperson for Governor McAuliffe said.

Examples of Virginia Treasures include the Natural Bridge State Park and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ new Ware Creek Wildlife Management Area, as well as other natural areas and parks.

To qualify, Virginia Treasures must have been protected, preserved or open to the public since January 2014.

“In May 2015, we set out to identify and protect 1,000 Virginia Treasures before the end of my administration as a way of focusing our land conservation efforts on sites that offer the most value to the Virginia public. Today, we have accomplished that goal more than a year ahead of schedule,” Governor McAuliffe said, speaking at today’s announcement. “Thank you to the countless conservationists who work every day to protect our shared spaces and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in the next year and beyond. From our Eastern Shore to the Appalachian Mountains and everywhere in between, Virginia is worth treasuring.”