RD561 - Current and Future Plans for a State System of Attractive, Sustainable and Enduring Trails Across the Commonwealth – October 2020

Executive Summary:

This report has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of § 10.2-204.1 of the 2015 Virginia Acts of Assembly (House Bill 1542; Delegate Lingamfelter). Enactment Section A of § 10.1-204.1 stipulates “that the Committee shall be appointed by the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation and shall be composed of a representative from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. National Park Service; the Virginia Director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission; and nonlegislative citizen members, including representatives from the Virginia Outdoors Plan Technical Advisory Committee and the Recreational Trails Advisory Committee and other individuals with technical expertise in trail creation, construction, maintenance, use, and management." The Advisory Committee shall examine and provide recommendations regarding:

• options to close the gaps in a State system of trails as described in § 10.1-204;
• creative public and private funding strategies and partnerships to leverage resources to fund the development of trails;
• integrated approaches to promote and market trail values and benefits;
• the development of specialty trails, including concepts related to old-growth forest trails across the Commonwealth;
• strategies to encourage and create linkages between communities and open space;
• strategies to foster communication and networking among trail stakeholders;
• strategies to increase tourism and commercial activities associated with a State trail system;
 strategies to enhance the involvement of organizations that promote outdoor youth activities, including the Boy Scouts of the U.S.A. and Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. and the 4-H program of the Virginia Cooperative Extension; and
• other practices, standards, statutes, and guidelines that the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation determines may enhance the effectiveness of trail planning across the Commonwealth,
• including methods for receiving input regarding potential trail impacts upon owners of underlying or neighboring properties.

The following pages present the findings and recommendations of the State Trails Advisory Committee that was assembled in accordance with provisions of this Act in 2020.