Virginia, as the state motto says, is for lovers. That much is true for those who enjoy the outdoors. The 35th largest state is made up of a variety of ecosystems, ranging from rugged terrain along the Appalachian Mountains to swampy landscapes close to the shore.
Numerous kinds of plants and animals can be found in Virginia. Among the animals are the northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), and American black bear (Ursus americanus). Its native flora includes Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica), gray beardtongue (Penstemon canescens), and flowering dogwood (Cornus florida). Here is where you may learn more about the local species. Go outside and take in some of Virginia’s natural beauty and wildlife. Landmarks including the Great Dismal Swamp, the Natural Bridge State Park, and the Shenandoah Valley are accessible.
Virginia is such a beautiful state that it begs the question of who owns the land. The Boy Scouts of America and other private persons are among the biggest landowners in Virginia. Discover the absurdly large amount of property owned by the state’s largest landowner by reading on!
Virginia’s Largest Landowner
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is the state’s largest landowner. Virginia’s parks, natural areas, and other outdoor areas are under the jurisdiction of the DCR, a state body dedicated to their preservation. Through financial support, outreach, and acquisition initiatives, it protects these scenic natural landmarks for public enjoyment.
Initially founded as the Virginia State Commission of Conservation and Development, it was established in 1926. Harry F. Byrd was the state’s governor at the time. He planned to combine a number of state organizations, such as the Office of the State Forester, the State Geological Commission, and the Water Power and Development Commission. From the 1930s until the 1980s, the organization experienced multiple reorganizations. It was given its current name, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, by the state in 1985.
The DCR has carried out conservation initiatives over the years, planting more than 15 million trees and stocking more than one million fish. Additionally, it eliminated 152,000 acres of fire danger. However, how much acres is owned by the DCR?
The Area of Virginia DCR
4,180,000 acres are owned by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation! These acres include 1,938 acres of pollinator habitats, 500 miles of shoreline, and 42 state parks.
The organization provides tools and advice to protect Virginia’s natural resources and land through conservation easement programs, among other initiatives. States may have different laws governing conservation easements. In Virginia, it is a contract that permanently restricts future development of a piece of land between the landowner and a body such as a government agency or land trust. Stated differently, the goal of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s partnerships with other governmental entities, civic associations, and individuals is to guarantee that land can be kept undeveloped.
Concluding Remarks: The Greatest Landowner in Virginia
The largest landowner in the state, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, is a strong advocate for preserving the area’s resources and scenic beauty. Through its many initiatives, it still engages, informs, and motivates Virginians to protect their natural areas. In this manner, nature enthusiasts will be able to travel to Virginia in the future. It can also serve as a flourishing habitat for local fauna and flora.