Kaine meets land preservation goals

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Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced that last-minute state acquisitions and recorded easements helped him reach his goal to preserve more than 400,000 acres during his administration.

Major land acqusitions in Albemarle, King and Queen and Rockbridge counties helped boost the total acres to 424,103.

Kaine made his announcement today from the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center at Monticello, which overlooks the state’s most recent acquisition, a 1,200-acre property called Biscuit Run that will become a Virginia state park.

During Kaine’s administration, conservations easements and state acquisitions created five state forests, three state parks, three wildlife manaemnet areas and 13 natural preserves.

At the end of November, the state was about 15,000 acres short of the 400,000-acre goal. In the last month, however, 26,234 acres were put into conservation easements, and the state purchased 9,584 acres.

Many of the state’s recent acquisitions were done with a Virginia Public Bonding Authority bond that was approved by the General Assembly in 2008. All of these areas purchased will include recreational opportunities for the public.

Other projects expand the state’s protected forest. An acquisition added more than 5,300 acres to the Dragon Run State Forest in King and Queen County. The state bought 2,353 acres in Rockbridge County to establish a new state forest.

Acquisitions that are still being completed include 4,400 acres in Sussex County called Big Woods and 4,232 acres in Rockbridge and Botetourt counties called Short Hills. Short Hills will become a wildlife management area and Big Woods will be devided into a state forest and wildlife management area.

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