VOF announces $2.1 million for 20 open-space projects across Virginia

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) today announced $2,154,840 in grants for projects that protect open space for public benefit in 17 counties and cities.

The 20 grants were awarded from VOF’s Preservation Trust Fund and Get Outdoors Fund grant programs. The Preservation Trust Fund program provides grants for acquisitions, easements, rights of way, and other methods of protecting open space for farming, forestry, recreation, wildlife, water quality, and more. The Get Outdoors Fund provides grants for projects that increase safe access to open space in communities.

To learn more about VOF’s grant programs, visit https://www.vof.org/protect/grants/.

Grant Recipient Summaries

Preservation Trust Fund

Grantee: Chickahominy Indian Tribe        

Project Title: Chickahominy Indian Tribe – Land Repatriation          

Locality: New Kent County

Amount: $300,000

Description: To purchase a 200-acre parcel at South Courthouse Road in New Kent County, so the tribe can repatriate a portion of its ancestral land for hunting, fishing, and nature-based education and recreation purposes. This project would restore a small part of the land that the tribe once managed and held in relationship. The New Kent County future land-use map designates the area for conservation.

Grantee: City of Newport News 

Project Title: Stoney Run Park Nature Trails         

Locality: Newport News, City of

Amount: $363,750

Description: To facilitate the development of approximately 2 miles of nature trails through city-owned property adjacent to an existing community park. The new trail will take users through wooded wetlands teaming with biodiversity. Interpretive signs throughout the path will educate users on the natural features, plant and animal species found along the trail.

Grantee: Frederick County Parks and Recreation                               

Project Title: Abrams Creek Trail Trailhead and Parking

Locality: Frederick County

Amount: $206,668

Description: To provide a trailhead and parking for the Abrams Creek Trail. The trailhead will include an asphalt entrance and parking to provide public access for the Abrams Creek Trail.

Grantee: Giles County                                  

Project Title: Site Purchase to Build McCoy Boat Landing

Locality: Giles County

Amount: $20,000

Description: To purchasing land to construct the McCoy Falls Boat Landing on the New River, a few hundred yards upstream from McCoy Falls. Goodwin’s Ferry Road provides access to the land. Construction of the McCoy Falls Boat Ramp in Giles County is a critical and essential component in a much larger, region-wide initiative entitled The New River Water Trail (NRWT) Expansion Project.

Grantee: Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia                    

Project Title: Patawomeck Tribe Riverland

Locality: Stafford County

Amount: $100,000

Description: To acquire a 14.24-acre parcel of land located on the Rappahannock River. The Patawomeck Tribe was formally recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2010 and is one of 11 state recognized tribes. The Patawomeck Community is centered in southern Stafford County and operates a museum and cultural center just across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg at Little Falls. The project property is located adjacent to the Tribal Center.

Grantee: Taylor and Robert Scott              

Project Title: Angola Farm           

Locality: Cumberland County

Amount: $275,000

Description: To acquire an easement on a 274-acre beef and timber farm in Cumberland County. Recent closure of poultry processing plant ended poultry production and created financial hardship. The property has long frontage on Angola Creek, a tributary stream, wetlands, and a large lake. The farm has been in the family for about 130 years and is farmed by a father and son.

Grantee: Town of Boones Mill    

Project Title: Maurice Turner Recreation Area                    

Locality: Franklin County

Amount: $50,327.92

Description: To develop the Maurice Turner Recreation Area on town-owned property adjacent to a one-acre pond. A small picnic shelter, tables, an ADA-compliant walking trail, benches, interpretive signage, and a small bike rack will be included.

Grantee: Town of Clifton Forge   

Project Title: Hazel Run Conservation Area

Locality: Alleghany County

Amount: $140,000

Description: To create a conservation area surrounding the Hazel Run Trail in the Town of Clifton Forge. By protecting adjacent land parcels through a deed of dedication to open space, the scenic qualities and natural resources surrounding Hazel Run will be protected in perpetuity.

Grantee: Town of Mount Crawford          

Project Title: Mount Crawford Town Park Creation

Locality: Rockingham County

Amount: $303,000

Description: To create the town’s first public park and space, which includes a sensory trail, sensory playground, picnic shelter, bathroom, parking, native tree walk, and direct access to the North River. The project will conserve native forest; promote walking, fishing, and boating; tie in to a recently completed boat launch; provide a public gathering space for residents, families, and town events; and build a sense of place.

Grantee: William Lee Andrews                                 

Project Title: Andrews Home Farm

Locality: Essex County

Amount: $200,000

Description: To permanently protect a farm that has been owned and operated by the same family for more than 100 years. The owner-operator farms hundreds of acres in the local community and participates in local soil and water conservation efforts. He is a widely respected member of the local agricultural community. The property is located in an area of very high value agricultural land in the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay watershed, which contributes to the local farm economy.

Get Outdoors

Grantee: Alleghany Highlands YMCA       

Project Title: The Alleghany Highlands YMCA All Access Trail

Locality: Alleghany County

Amount: $15,000

Description: The All Access Trail is designed to be entered via graduated surfaces and has sensory-building activities throughout the quarter-mile length. Such activities will include a wheelchair swing, a sensory garden with plants and flowers, plantings of native trees such as dogwoods and redbuds to provide both color and shade, a kids’ zone using natural building components to encourage exploration and experimentation, and a music station to encourage participants to create their own music.

Grantee: Bluebird Gap Farm                                     

Project Title: ATTA Farm Project (Accessible Trails To All)

Locality: Hampton, City of

Amount: $14,000

Description: The goal of the project is to purchase two all-terrain wheelchairs that can be rented out to the public for no cost. These tools would be essential in ensuring visitors’ access to all areas of the park, including forest trails, natural beach, grassy areas, and gravel paths. Not only would this provide equitable access to the outdoors for wheelchair users, but it is the accessibility solution with the smallest environmental impact as it would require little to no changes to the land itself.

Grantee: Chickahominy Indian Tribe- Eastern Division                     

Project Title: CIT-ED Nature Trail

Locality: New Kent County

Amount: $20,000

Description: The nature trail on Eastern Division Chickahominy Tribal land has been used for years by tribal citizens and the public community. Due to time, weather, lack of resources, and increasingly less foot traffic, the trail has become inaccessible for regular use. The restoration of the nature trail would allow the community to safely access the outdoors. It would also allow opportunities for community engagement and education regarding traditional knowledge and stewardship of our Earth.

Grantee: Come to the Altar Ministry, Inc.                            

Project Title: CTTAM Community Grows Garden 

Locality: Campbell County

Amount: $22,500

Description: The Community Grows Garden was developed to provide a sustainable source of food for the community via Come to the Altar Ministry, and as an educational center for area youth to get them outdoors and learning about gardening, farming, nature, nutrition, and more. There are also components for seniors and veterans to be involved, as well as various community groups who desire to volunteer.

Grantee: Community Gear Library 

Project Title: Community Gear Library Lending Program

Locality: Harrisonburg, City of

Amount: $15,000

Description: The Community Gear Library is a resource in the Shenandoah Valley to increase access to the outdoors for all members of a diverse community. Participants will be able to borrow hiking and camping gear at no cost and can pick from individual items or choose to borrow Family Camping Kits that will provide them with all the gear needed for a camping trip. Participants will attend an information session to learn about local trails, camping areas, and how to use gear.

Grantee: Flat Ridge Community Center

Project Title: Flat Ridge Community Center Hoops and Loop

Locality: Grayson County

Amount: $25,000

Description: The HOOPS project will benefit the growing population of children that have no outside recreation area by replacing basketball hoops and updating swings to an existing play area. The LOOP project will benefit residents of all ages through the creation of a walking track. The LOOP would encourage a space for physical exercise in a safe environment for aging residents.

Grantee: Front Royal Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee (ESAC)

Project Title: Outdoor Fitness Station – Burrell Brooks Park, Front Royal

Locality: Warren County

Amount: $23,594.50

Description: Front Royal’s Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee is partnering with Warren County Parks & Recreation to create a first-of-its kind outdoor fitness station at one of the most highly used public spaces in Front Royal, Burrell Brooks Park. The fitness station will create a unique recreational opportunity for entire families, both adults and youth, to improve physical fitness in a fun and engaging way outdoors.

Grantee: Henry County 

Project Title: MHC YMCA Bike Barn Inventory Replacement          

Locality: Martinsville, City of

Amount: $25,000

Description: The Bike Barn is a great asset to the community and is operated by the Martinsville-Henry County YMCA. The program allows people to borrow bikes and helmets at no cost and ride on the Dick and Willie Trail. This program is grant and donation funded for the operational costs. There are no funds for inventory replacement. The applicants are hoping to relocate the old bike barn to a more community-friendly space and feel this will attract more families.

Grantee: The Humble Hustle Co

Project Title: Humble Hikes Getaways

Locality: Roanoke, City of

Amount: $16,000

Description: Humble Hikes would like to create regional overnight camping opportunities that take students outside of the Roanoke Valley to explore the outdoors. This project will expand Humble Hikes events to include overnight camping experiences in regional parks. The project provides participants with all the required gear for camping including transportation, tents, sleeping bags, food, and equipment needed for outdoor activities such as canoeing, fishing and hiking.

Grantee: The Mariners’ Museum and Park           

Project Title: Expanding Nature-Based Enrichment for Students

Locality: Newport News, City of

Amount: $20,000

Description: Mariners’ has become a well-known resource for immersive environmental education on the Peninsula. To successfully scale nature-based programming and serve 2,800 students with free programs during the 2023-24 school year, support is needed to make critical improvements. Funds will be used to create a new, accessible program site by replacing damaged and unstable pavers with level decking, and installing ADA-compliant tables and a ramp leading to the adjacent boat dock serving students of all abilities.

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