Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced Wednesday the purchase of approximately 1,200 acres in Albemarle County known as “Biscuit Run” to be held by the state as a site for a future state park.
“When developed as a state park, this extraordinary piece of land will benefit the citizens of Albemarle, Charlottesville and the Commonwealth for recreation, natural resource protection and the preservation of open space in a fast growing area,” says Kaine. “This property is a real jewel and I am very pleased to add it to the long list of properties preserved during my Administration.”
This purchase will add to the goal of 400,000 acres of open space preserved during Kaine’s Administration.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the state to acquire such a valuable property which offers spectacular mountain views, abundant flora and fauna and is in the view shed of Mr. Jefferson’s Monticello estate and farms,” says Secretary of Natural Resources L. Preston Bryant, Jr.
“The need for a state park in this region has been identified for more than 20 years in Virginia’s official Outdoors Plan,” says Joseph H. Maroon, director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which operates 35 Virginia State Parks, none of which are in the immediate Charlottesville area. “This purchase brings us closer to meeting the recreation and conservation needs of the region and the Commonwealth and will bring additional tourism and outdoor recreation dollars to the area.”
Funding for the purchase was provided by a combination of federal grants and existing state bond funds available through the Virginia Public Building Authority and the State Parks and Natural Areas bond, voted on by the public in 2002. The ability to apply for state land preservation tax credits allowed the sellers to offer the property to the state at a greatly reduced price.
The property is south of Interstate 64 between state Route 20 and Old Lynchburg Road, minutes from downtown Charlottesville and surrounds a stream named Biscuit Run. The property is also adjacent to polo fields owned by the University of Virginia.
In 2007, the property was approved to be the largest planned residential development in county history. However, the project stalled because of the economic downturn and declining housing market.
“I am delighted with the transfer of Biscuit Run to the Commonwealth of Virginia,” says Lindsay G. Dorrier Jr. of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. “Albemarle County has some of the most beautiful land in the state and with this transfer, nearly 1,200 acres of land will be preserved for generations to enjoy. We look forward to working with the state to plan the state park in the coming months.”
The property will not be open to the public until a master plan is developed with public input and funds are made available for development of park facilities and staffing.
In 2009, the Virginia State Park System received a record 7.4 million visitors and had a $180 million economic impact on localities.