Valley Conservation Council to protect land that Shenandoah National Park Trust acquired

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 4:22 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 4:23 PM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - More than 900 acres of woodlands in Page County will be donated to the Shenandoah National Park, but until the official donation takes place, a Staunton non-profit will be looking after the land.

The Shenandoah National Park Trust acquired 967 acres of land that borders the park, which includes most of Chapman Mountain.

“When you’re able to get to the side of the mountain with the overlook, it’s absolutely stunning,” John Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Valley Conservation Council, said. “And they will eventually convey it to the National Park Service, but they needed someone to basically take care of that property in the interim.”

That timeline could be anywhere from one to five years, so the Shenandoah National Park Trust called the Valley Conservation Council last summer and asked for their help.

“We’re supposed to maintain it in its present, natural state until the Park Service can take over,” Hutchinson said.

And the main focus will be maintaining the water quality of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River.

“That is producing very clean water to go into the Hawksbill Creek, then the Shenandoah River, then the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay,” Hutchinson said. “Everybody in northern Virginia drinks water that we produce and that this land is going to produce safely and cleanly forever... We don’t think this is just a local story or a local event, we think this is a national thing. It’s a national park, it’s the water for our nation’s capital and we’re very proud to be a part of it.”

Adding the land to SNP will also expand on the wildlife and their habitats, as well as be a place for people to enjoy the outdoors.

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