VOF Reserves

Hayfields Reserve

Highland County

A rich tapestry of fields and forests straddling the Bullpasture River valley.

Our View, Your Vision

Help us imagine a new future for Hayfields Reserve.

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation has issued a Request for Interest (RFI) that seeks ideas on how to best use a large tract of land in Highland County for the benefit of the local community and extended region.

Additional information about the RFI, including deadlines, criteria and review process, response requirements and contact information to pose questions or schedule a tour can be found on the Commonwealth’s eVA portal here. (Please note the addendum posted there as well, which include revised deadlines and timetable.)

The 1,034-acre property known as Hayfields Reserve was acquired by VOF in 2017 is comprised of two contiguous tax map parcels that consist of a mix of heavily-wood mountain land, valley pastures and the Bullpasture River. The farm also has several structures including a historic home constructed in the 1800s.

Responses to the Request for Interest are due on October 31, 2019. Prospective applicants are encouraged to schedule a site tour. Following the submission deadline, an evaluation of the ideas will be undertaken, which is expected to lead to the development of a Request for Proposals (RFP) that would identify partners to implement the best concepts.

Given the needs of the region, VOF is encouraging projects that create opportunities in healthcare, education, tourism and economic development, although proposals need not conform to these specific areas. All ideas should, however, be consistent with its primary purpose to conserve land and maintain the property’s open-space characteristics.


VOF is seeking creative ideas on the best future use for 1,034 acres in Highland County, Va., that are in keeping with VOF’s mission to preserve open-space lands throughout the Commonwealth for the benefit of its citizens.  Respondents to the RFI ultimately should be in the position to execute their proposal, demonstrating that they (including potential partners) have the experience, skills, financing and ongoing management to make the ideas a reality.  That said, simply responding to the RFI is not a prerequisite for submitting a project proposal, should a formal solicitation be issued.

Last fall, VOF held meetings with local citizens, community leaders and regional stakeholders to collect guidance and feedback on the next chapter for Hayfields Reserve.  From those meetings, three primary themes emerged: (1) a desire for public access to the property at some level, including its fields, forests, trails, ponds and a significant stretch of the Bullpasture River; (2) that the property provide local economic stimulus in the form of jobs, tourism or tax revenue; and (3) that the property’s rural character and natural beauty be preserved.  Ideas should also consider helping address some of the needs of the region, including in the areas of healthcare, education, tourism and economic development.

There are no restrictions on the kinds of organizations that can submit ideas. VOF welcomes responses from government entities (including departments of economic development) as well as conservation groups, educational organizations, for-profit companies and more.  Respondents also are encouraged to think collaboratively on their ideas, potentially teaming up with other organizations in the development of their proposals.

Ideally, respondents should have the experience and financial means to implement their ideas, though submitting an idea to the RFI doesn’t obligate them in any way.

The former Hayfields Farm property is a 1,034-acre tract that runs from ridge to ridge for an entire cross section of the Bullpasture River Valley in Highland County, Va., approximately seven miles south of McDowell.  The characteristics of the property are consistent with the region itself.  It is comprised of two contiguous map parcels of land with a mix of heavily wooded mountain terrain and valley pastures.  There are several structures on the property, including a home built in the 1880s and since restored.  Hayfields Reserve has several ponds and is traversed by more than a mile of the Bullpasture River, which contains stocked trout.  Its elevation ranges from 1,800 to 2,400 feet above sea level.

The original Hayfields Farm is a historic and rural property in Highland County.  The centuries-old farm has rolling meadows that can yield as many as 1,000 round bales of hay each season.  Dotting the property are several historic buildings, including “The Cabin,” dating to the 1700s, and a main house built in the 1880s and restored, renovated and expanded in 1995 as a fully modern residence yet with historic character.  There also is a log house with two nearby modern agricultural buildings, as well as a large barn for hay and equipment storage that features a finished woodworking shop. The property was acquired by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in 2017 as substitute land from Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC as part of ACP’s plans to develop a natural gas pipeline through nine easements that had been held by VOF in the region.

Responses will be assessed based on how well they meet the spirit and intent of the RFI as well as VOF’s underlying mission. Responses also will be judged on how well they meet various criteria, including the organization’s experience and capabilities, its organizational structure and its proposed operations and plan for the property.

The property will be open for self-directed tours on August 21 and September 11, 2019.  Driving will be limited but permitted in some areas for mobile-impaired individuals. VOF staff will be on-site and will provide a map of the property to interested parties at a designated location on the property. Details of the starting point and parking will be communicated ahead of the site tour to those who schedule a visit during the listed dates.  To arrange a tour, contact Harry Hibbitts at (540) 430-0292 or at hhibbitts@vofonline.org.  Site tours are not mandatory.

There are two primary deadlines.  The first is the deadline for submitting questions and clarifications, which is September 9, 2019  (answers will be posted by September 23, 2019).  The final deadline for submitting responses to the RFI is October 31, 2019 at 5 p.m.

The RFI has been posted on the Commonwealth’s eVA portal and can be found here.


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