Loudoun County will soon be home to a new, 600-acre state park, according to an announcement Friday by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R).
The sprawling property in western Loudoun will be donated to the Commonwealth by the Old Dominion Land Conservancy of Purcellville, which received the land from the Robert and Dee Leggett foundation, officials said. The property borders the Appalachian Trail and includes historic farmsteads, deep woods and wildflower meadows.
“Through the work of the Leggett Foundation and now the Old Dominion Land Conservancy, lands of both natural and historic significance have been preserved in an area of the state where such lands are rapidly disappearing,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement Friday. “Because of their most recent efforts many of these lands will be available to future generations as a Virginia State Park.”
The Commonwealth’s ownership of the property is expected to be finalized later this year, the statement said.
“This is an exciting development that will benefit Virginians and visitors to Virginia forever,” said Doug Domenech, Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, in the statement. “Having lived in Loudoun County for 16 years, I know firsthand how important this park will be to many individuals, organizations, and officials in Loudoun County.”
County officials also applauded the development, noting the historical significance of the land, which was the site of action during the Civil War.
“From a historical perspective alone, Governor McDonnell has preserved a considerable piece of history, as this land includes the route Mosby’s Rangers took to attack the federal camp of Cole’s Cavalry one-hundred and fifty years ago on January 10, 1864,” said Loudoun Supervisor Geary M. Higgins (R-Catoctin) in the statement. Higgins, along with state Del. Randy Minchew (R), has played an active role in the initiative to bring the park to Loudoun for the past two years, county officials said.
Virginia has 36 state parks, including properties in Stafford, Shenandoah, Gloucester, Henry and Abemarle counties that are in various stages of development, officials said. The Commonwealth’s state parks host more than 8 million visitors per year and provide an annual economic benefit of more than $205 million, according to the statement.
Once the state’s acquisition of the Loudoun County property is complete, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation will work to develop master plans for the park, officials said.