Posts Tagged ‘biscuit run’

Biscuit Run State Park planning committee

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The first meeting was January 24. Representatives of the state park system, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) directors, and lots of citizens from Albemarle and the City met to begin the process of figuring out the vision, goals, and facilities desired at the park. The process will take about a year, with semi-monthly committee meetings, a tour of the site, and two public meetings to get feedback to initial and to more final plans. The committee is advisory and final decisions will be made by the DCR and Park System and approved by the General Assembly.

The history of parks in Virginia and in the nation is a rich and colorful story. The DCR takes their job seriously and wants Biscuit Run State Park to be another jewel in Virginia’s resources.

The variety of interests represented is wide–walkers, hikers, bikers, botanists and naturalists, horseback riders, dancers, musicians, farmers, neighbors, and county staff and elected officials. We will all work to find common ground for this great natural and recreational resource in our urban area.

While some think we lost a valuable development asset and got dirt in return, I look forward to the things we CAN decide and plan to make this park a great asset for Albemarle’s quality of life and its economy.

Have a look at the Virginia Outdoors Plan on line. There are detailed assessments of the conservation (pg 451) and recreation (p 452) facilities in Region 10

I hope to see many citizens at the meetings. Please let me know if you have ideas to share.

Welcome Remarks, Biscuit Run State Park event at Monticello

Friday, January 8th, 2010

I am honored to welcome Governor Kaine and everyone here today. Albemarle has long supported open space preservation through its land use program begun in 1973, and ACE, the acquisition of conservation easements program, begun in 2000.

Governor, when you were here for our last conservation event,  in July 2008, we were celebrating the first easement purchased with Office of Farmland Preservation funds, the Clayton farm on Beaver Creek in Crozet, which pushed the ACE acreage to 5560 acres.

Over the nine years the voluntary ACE program has protected 36 properties, including:

  • 26 working farms with 3576 acres of prime farm and forest land
  • 12 in the watershed for our drinking water,  with more than 76K (76534) feet of streamside buffers
  • 11 in Rural Historic districts,
  • 24 with scenic tourism values, protecting miles along state roads and 454 acres of mountaintop
  • 7224 acres in total
  • 435 development lots permanently removed

The program has enjoyed widespread support from county residents who understand the financial as well as environmental benefits to conservation. Our acquisition values, including leveraged funds from other sources, are more than $10 million, while the easement values are more than $13 million.  ACE has proven to be a worthy program on all accounts.

In 2009, generous landowners placed 97 new parcels in ag forestal districts, adding 6530 acres.  The Ag forestal acreage total is now 88,000 acres.

Success in achieving our goals was also dependent upon a coordinated effort between local non-profit organizations like Monticello, PEC, county governmental programs like ACE, and statewide conservation groups like DCR, DOF, and VOF. (Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of Forestry and Virginia Outdoors Foundation)

Just a few hours prior to the Biscuit Run closing, the Carter family donated three conservation easements to the Piedmont Environmental Council which protect Redlands and 1,000 acres of land that surrounds it.  This land has been in the Carter family since 1730 and was part of a king’s grant of 9,350 acres to John Carter.  Redlands was constructed in 1789 and is on the National Register of Historic places.  Calder Loth calls Redlands, “one of the Commonwealth’s most important Federal-period landmarks.”

The above project is just one of the many land preservation projects in Albemarle County that helped reach the governor’s 400,000 acre goal and an example of how this goal was achieved only with the voluntary decisions of private landowners.

Most importantly success was dependent upon a commitment by the Commonwealth and by Governor Kaine to maintain the Land Preservation Tax Credit Program as an incentive for landowners and to provide matching funds for programs like the Office of Farmland Preservation.

It is a harsh financial reality that our ACE program must shrink at the time when our purchasing ability would be the best in many years. The event today will help to cushion that reduced funding and provide ecological, educational, and recreational values close to the urban area and economic value to our entire County. Local non profits, the Albemarle Natural Heritage  Committee, and citizens are all ready to participate in the master planning for Biscuit Run.

Thank you all for coming to participate.

It is my great privilege to introduce Preston Bryant, Secretary of Natural Resources and also my boss, since the Virginia Museum of Natural History is part of that department.