It is the 75th Anniversary of Virginia State Parks.
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Virginia state park, circa 1930
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On June 15, 1936 the Old Dominion became the first state in America to open a statewide park system. What originated as six parks built by the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) has grown to more than 30 scattered all over the Commonwealth. Last year more than eight million people visited Virginia State Parks—a seven percent increase over the previous year.
This year, in June, the Virginia State Park system is celebrating its 75th birthday. While each of the 35 parks will mark this milestone a little differently, all will be offering free admission and parking to visitors from June 13 to 19, and all will be serving cake!
Of course, free dessert isn’t the only reason to visit Kiptopeke or Lake Anna, Belle Isle or Sky Meadows or any of the other state parks. In fact, on its website the park system lists exactly 75 things one can see and do in the parks. Those who visit any state park between June 15 and September 5 can enter the “75 Days of Summer” contest—there is a grand prize—and there are also daily online contests and sweepstakes with winners selected on all 75 days.
The iPhone generation might appreciate the park system’s new game, called Geocaching. It is a global electronic treasure hunt that park system officials say teaches young people about nature using a medium they love and understand. There is another way that kids can interact with nature—and it actually involves getting outside: the Junior Ranger program. What a concept! VirginiaStateParks.gov