STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. -- The Commonwealth’s 38th state park opened Thursday morning in Stafford County.
Gov. Ralph Northam officially opened Widewater State Park, which covers 1,100 acres, includes two miles of water frontage along the Potomac River and Aquia Creek.
“Virginia’s state parks attract millions of visitors each year, serving as affordable vacation destinations and adding to the economic vitality of the communities where they are located,” said Northam. “With the dedication of this new state park we build upon Virginia’s legacy of conservation and environmental stewardship and expand opportunities for the public to experience our Commonwealth’s natural beauty and renowned system of state parks.”
The property was purchased by the state from Dominion Energy, who originally purchased the land for a proposed power plant. The state acquired the land for $6.1 million, $1 million less than the assessed value in 2013. The Trust for Public Land and Stafford County assisted in the transaction.
“The development of a low-impact state park on waterfront property significantly reduces the possibility of increased water quality degradation,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler. “More than 73,000 acres of Virginia are protected as state parks, and only a small fraction of the property is ever improved or developed. We are pleased that this land will be protected for generations to come.”
Clyde Cristman, Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which manages Virginia State Parks, said they’ve added nearly $7.5 million in improvements including roads, buildings and other infrastructure.
“So many partners have contributed along the way to make this park a reality,” added Cristman.
For more information about Virginia State Parks, click here.