I can picture Richard Dawson saying "and the Survey says" on Family Feud as I write this. Instead of the results of some wacky survey though, the results I am sharing today come courtesy of our Department of Conservation and Recreation Division of Planning and Recreation Resources and their quinquennial (aka every five years) Virginia Outdoors Survey.
Cape Henry Trail, First Landing State Park
When asked what they thought were the most needed recreation opportunities in Virginia, over two-thirds (67.6%) of respondents indicated hiking and walking trails.
DCR conducts a survey every five years to identify the types of outdoor recreational activities in which Virginians participate. Even if some Virginians don’t get outdoors for recreation very often – or at all – it is important that we hear from such households to get a complete picture of our citizens' recreational preferences. This survey plays a pivotal role in the development of the Virginia Outdoors Plan. Click here (PDF) to download the 2011 Virginia Outdoors Survey executive summary. Click here to get a copy of the actual survey (PDF). The survey was sent to nearly 14,000 adults; about 3,100 responded.
The 2011 VODS was designed to obtain information on approximately 50 outdoor recreation activities. The survey also included specific questions to assist with future planning for local and regional parks, Virginia State Parks and Natural Area Preserves.
Beach at Hungry Mother State Park
Over half the respondents said access to fishing,
swimming and the beach (59.6%) were needed.
The survey is part of the Virginia Outdoors Plan, the state’s official document regarding land conservation, outdoor recreation and open space planning. It helps all levels of the public and private sectors meet needs pertaining to those issues. The plan provides guidance for the protection of lands through actions of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation (VLCF), and the plan is required in order for Virginia to take part in the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program. The 2013 Virginia Outdoors Plan is in process now. and will be the tenth edition of the plan.
It comes as no surprise to me that public access to nature and outdoor recreation are considered vital to so many people. We are proud that our Virginia State Parks are the premiere venue for outdoor recreation in Virginia.
James River State Park
Two thirds of respondents (61.1%) were in favor of
developing public campgrounds in Virginia’s State Parks.