The lands are next to the Shenandoah National Park through a conservation easement and will protect the southern tip of the National Park, which millions of visitors see each year.
The project is part of the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy program. The program partners with state agencies to protect privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases. Funding is possible through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which provides funding from federal revenues on energy development for the acquisition of land and interest in land, for the benefit of public lands and waters for all present and future generations.
Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia are longtime supporters of LWCF, and voted to permanently reauthorize and double funding for the program in 2020.
“Protecting our beautiful landscapes is critical to help ensure Virginians can enjoy them for generations to come,” the senators said in a joint statement. “We’re glad this funding will preserve thousands of acres of scenic land and boost outdoor recreation, a critical part of the local economy.”
In March, the senators introduced Virginia Wilderness Additions Act, which would add a total of 5,600 acres to the existing Rough Mountain and Rich Hole wilderness areas within the George Washington National Forest in Bath County, Virginia. They also successfully pushed to pass legislation to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating the Great Dismal Swamp and its associated sites as a National Heritage Area, as well as legislation to establish the Northern Neck as a National Heritage Area, both of which President Biden signed into law in January.