VOF announces nearly $2.7 million for 22 open-space projects

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) today announced $2,696,600 in grants for 22 open space conservation projects in 21 counties and cities.

The 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 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: Beatrice Goodbar Revocable Trust

Project Title: Beatrice Goodbar Revocable Trust

Locality: Rockbridge County

Amount: $252,300.00

Description: This easement will protect a multi-generation, 186-acre family farm (eligible for listing as a Century Farm) containing habitat for endangered species, prime agricultural soils, and high forest conservation value. The property is visible from trails in the House Mountain Reserve, George Washington National Forest, and nearby Goshen/Little North Mountain Wildlife Management Area.


Grantee: City of Portsmouth

Project Title: Maplewood Park Renovation

Locality: City of Portsmouth

Amount: $376,247.25

Description: Using CDBG funding along with city funds, we will add two full-size outdoor basketball courts, ADA accessible paths, a playground, a memorial garden, improved parking, lighting, drainage, and fencing. The old school building on the site is not only a historic building, it is also a Rosenwald School with a historic designation from the Department of Historic Resources.


Grantee: City of Salem

Project Title: Tuttle Transformation – Salem’s Downtown Park

Locality: City of Salem

Amount: $200,000.00

Description: The City of Salem, in conjunction with the property owners at 230 West Main Street, envision the conversion of a private residence and its surrounding greenspace into a Downtown pocket park which will serve as an accessible oasis for local residents and visitors alike. A citizen design charrette designed to elicit ideas for the project yielded visions of a community open space catalyzing public access to nature, art, play areas, and cultural activities for persons of all ages and abilities.


Grantee: Goochland County Public Schools

Project Title: Goochland Elementary School Learning Park

Locality: Goochland County

Amount: $300,000.00

Description: This project will transform a fenced 1.3-acre grass field into a Learning Park for Goochland Elementary School students and the community. The Learning Park will feature several native outdoor areas – various shade and flowering trees to provide shade for picnic and outdoor classroom spaces, a butterfly garden, local climbing rocks, and a wetlands habitat area. With nearby parking lots and playgrounds, the ADA-compliant sidewalks will become the first accessible outdoor park in Goochland County.


Grantee: HomeState Properties LLC

Project Title: Homestate Properties LLC Open-Space Easement

Locality: Floyd County

Amount: $149,250.00

Description: This project is a partial purchase of an open-space easement. The proposed funding sources for the partial purchase are the USDA ALE program (submitted for FY24), PTF EA (approved Fall ’23), and PTF Resource Protection (Spring ’24). The project’s conservation purposes are to conserve large acreage of viable agricultural land, water quality, and natural heritage species habitat.

Grantee: Michael and Kimberly Farson

Project Title: Farson Farm Preservation

Locality: Halifax County

Amount: $161,000.00

Description: This project is a proposed VOF open-space easement on an active 293-acre family farm, cropped by father and son in Halifax. The farm is made up of good (prime & statewide) soils ranked by American Farmland Trust (half Exceptional/Significant & half Acceptable.) The property falls within the ConserveVA category of Ag/Forest and includes a National Audubon Important Bird Area. The property contains a segment of Polecat Creek and a perennial tributary, which flows to the Banister River.


Grantee: New River Land Trust

Project Title: Town of Narrow’s Mill Creek Park Expansion

Locality: Giles County

Amount: $175,500.00

Description: The property is 107 acres of steep forestland on Wolf Creek Mountain overlooking the Town of Narrows and the New River. The property runs from the base to the peak. It has a large cavern with historical significance, a 1.5-mile trail, and it is adjacent to National Forest, the Appalachian Trail & the existing Mill Creek Nature Park. The NRLT is supporting the Town by preparing the application. If funded the 107 acres will be added to the park/existing VOF easement, growing the park to 255 acres.

Grantee: New River Soil & Water Conservation District

Project Title: New River Hill Park Expansion & Sensory Trail

Locality: Grayson County

Amount: $145,500.00

Description: The New River Soil and Water Conservation District is requesting $145,500 for the purchase of 65 acres adjoining the New River. A sensory trail will be designed and installed for all park visitors, with special adaptations for the visually, hearing, and mobility impaired to enjoy nature in creative ways. The land will be operated and maintained by the New River SWCD as a public park and will protect the natural and cultural resources on the land in perpetuity.


Grantee: Northern Virginia Conservation Trust

Project Title: Tank Creek Access Protection Project

Locality: Stafford County

Amount: $110,653.00

Description: NVCT is requesting funding to purchase an undeveloped 19.5-acre property from a willing conservation-minded seller. The owner purchased it 40 years ago to protect it from development and wants to ensure its continued protection while she is still alive. It is situated in a spot known to be vulnerable to development. NVCT is prepared to purchase and steward the land, with the help of local partners, and we intend to make it available to groups interested in wildlife and watershed conservation.


Grantee: The Trust for Public Land

Project Title: Patawomeck Preserve Land

Locality: Spotsylvania County

Amount: $333,000.00

Description: The Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia has an opportunity to secure an 864-acre forested property along the Rappahannock River in Spotsylvania and Caroline Counties within their broader ancestral homelands. The tribe will utilize the property for education of traditional cultural practices and nature observation. TPL will use the PTF grant to match a NAWCA grant to acquire and transfer ownership to the tribe. A conservation easement providing public access will be granted to VOF.


Grantee: Town of Elkton

Project Title: Elkton Downtown Park Phase II

Locality: Rockingham County

Amount: $155,500.00

Description: The Elkton Downtown Park Project Phase II will transform a vacant, uninspired lot in the heart of downtown into an engaging nature-inspired space. Phase I is constructing an open-air pavilion and an amphitheater stage, and will be complete in July 2024. Phase II will install a sitting wall with nature-based art, children’s play area, pollinator garden and bird houses, permeable path, native tree grove and ID walk, ADA picnic tables, and native plant boxes to encourage everyday park use.

Grantee: Town of Pound

Project Title: Pine Mountain C&O Trail Campsites

Locality: Wise County

Amount: $40,900.00

Description: The Town of Pound is developing 3.41 acres along the Pine Mountain C&O Trail for public use. The plan is to build campsites that are ADA compliant, as well as a picnic shelter. People with limited mobility will be able to access the site by using the Grit Freedom Chairs recently purchased by the town. Hikers, mountain bikers and horse trail riders who are already enjoying the trail will also benefit from these additional camping facilities. VA Master Naturalists will use the site for programs.

Grantee: Town of Pulaski

Project Title: Draper Mountain Trails

Locality: Pulaski County

Amount: $90,500.00

Description: The Town of Pulaski requests funds to provide for the surveying, design, and improvement of approximately 160 acres of land known as the Draper Mountain Trails. Funding this project will allow the Town to survey and separate the area of the existing property that contains trails for preservation. Once designated as open space and officially a park, the Town hopes to use the rest of the funds to create and implement a design plan for the facility that addresses recreational and ecological issues.

Get Outdoors Fund

Grantee: Freedom High School

Project Title: Freedom High School: Taking Kids Outdoors (TKO)

Locality: Prince William County

Amount: $25,000.00

Description: A functional, accessible outdoor learning space with tiered landscaping, a teaching garden, natural seating, a sensory trail, and an outdoor board will give students the opportunity to engage in nature & get outdoors. The goal of the project is to pique student curiosity, encourage innovative thinking, change behaviors, and incorporate environmental literacy. A dedicated outdoor learning space will be used to offer teachers professional development to learn why and how to take students outside.

Grantee: Jessica Ann Moore Foundation

Project Title: Complete Building a Pavilion

Locality: Sussex County

Amount: $25,000.00

Description: This project is to construct a pavilion at the Jessica Ann Moore Community Center. The pavilion will be 48 x 32, with concrete slab floor, gravel apron, three ceiling fans, four receptacles, and a shingle roof with gutters. Green space with plants and lawn scape around the Pavilion will be constructed. The pavilion site is located in the middle of the Town of Waverly within walking distance for the residents. The pavilion is open to the public and will service approximately 7,000 people a year.

Grantee: King and Queen County

Project Title: Outdoor Classroom and Community Building

Locality: King and Queen County

Amount: $24,250.00

Description: King and Queen County is creating an outdoor space for citizens to visit and enjoy. We are planning to build a covered outdoor classroom to be used not only by the library where the space is located but also by members of the community. The building would have tables and seating and would be placed next to our community garden.

Grantee: Petersburg Is Growing

Project Title: Petersburg Area Summer S.T.R.E.A.A.M.M. Experience

Locality: City of Petersburg

Amount: $24,000.00

Description: The Petersburg Area Summer S.T.R.E.A.A.M.M. Program is an experiential education for local youth in the areas of environmental stewardship, urban agriculture, nutrition education, regenerative agriculture, community service, and food justice. The program complements the curriculum of our local school system by exposing the youth to hands on learning in the areas of Science, Technology, Reading, Art, Agriculture, Mathematics, and Mindfulness. The program will be hosted at our local youth farm.

Grantee: Renew Richmond

Project Title: Farm Infrastructure and Capacity Building

Locality: City of Richmond

Amount: $22,000.00

Description: Farmstrong Community Farm is a project going on six years that Renew Richmond has utilized to engage youth and community members in hands-on, skills-based immersion in environmental sustainability, agriculture, and STEM that will promote food access, career opportunities, and educational advancement. This farm provides a space where young people and community members can gather in a vibrant green space for fellowship, education, and empowerment.

Grantee: Shenandoah National Park Trust

Project Title: Shenandoah Trailblazers- Charlottesville

Locality: City of Charlottesville

Amount: $22,000.00

Description: In 2024 the Shenandoah National Park Trust (SNPT) is partnering with the City of Charlottesville and two regional trails organizations to teach conservation skills along the Rivanna Trail as part of a pilot project to develop a more diverse network of young people interested in conservation. The project will consist of 1 week of general training, 5 weeks of local trail work, and a 1-week residency in Shenandoah National Park.

Grantee: Town of Grundy

Project Title: Town of Grundy Access Ramp

Locality: Buchanan County

Amount: $15,000.00

Description: This project will create a safe access ramp built of concrete materials to provide safe access to the Levise River. This area has previously been used by local outfitters, and this improvement should promote further usage by these businesses as well as local outdoor adventure seekers.

Grantee: Town of Haysi

Project Title: Handicap River Access and Recreational Area

Locality: Dickenson County

Amount: $25,000.00

Description: The Town of Haysi will partner with an established community volunteer group called the Haysi Community Leaders to develop the chosen site into a recreational area complete with river access for all citizens which includes handicap access. This recreational area will also include picnic tables, trash receptacles, parking improvements, and easy river access for activities such as fishing, tubing, and kayaking.

Grantee: Virginia Community Voice

Project Title: Youth Engagement in Designing a New Richmond Park

Locality: City of Richmond

Amount: $24,000.00

Description: ARCA is an arts and civic advocacy program for Hispanic and Black youth ages 14-18 on Richmond’s Southside. In 2024, ARCA youth will do community engagement in the new Broad Rock Creek Park, participating in creative activities that beautify the space through rock gardens, signs, and benches. They will also gather feedback from their families & neighbors for the City’s Parks & Recreation Department on proposed trails and bridges, wayfinding signage, kiosks, benches, and other park amenities.

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1 Comment

  1. As a conservation landowner in Southwest Virginia (Russell County), I am pleased to see the grants to small towns Grundy and Haysi. These remote areas need all the attention possible.

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