Shenandoah National Park celebrates historic land donation

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 5:38 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2023 at 6:30 PM EDT
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STANLEY, Va. (WHSV) - Shenandoah National Park celebrated the donation of 1,000 acres of land to the park on Thursday. The new Tanners Ridge site is located just outside of Stanley. The Shenandoah National Park Trust purchased the land from three families and donated it to the park late last year.

“The primary purpose was conservation, Naked Creek flows through these lands, it’s a tributary of the Shenandoah River, so the ability to protect these lands, to protect the watershed for the long term was the primary goal,” said SNP Superintendent Pat Kenney.

The land donation is one of the largest the park has seen in recent history. It marks a big win for the National Park Service’s America the Beautiful Program which works with willing sellers to expand the footprint of conserved land in the U.S.

“The conservation mission is critical here and this area is ecologically important as watershed protection. So it adds to our overall land base here that will be really be important in the whole corridor of this park,” said Lauren Imgrund, Associate Director of Partnership and Civic Engagement for the National Park Service.

The Shenandoah National Park Trust purchased the land in 2021 for a total of around $3 million with funds from a settlement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Dupont Chemical Company. The trust and park said that they are grateful to the Bradford, Dean, and Graves families who sold their land so it could be preserved.

“We work with these willing sellers and partnerships to make it happen. It’s great news, a big land acquisition, 1,000 acres in the eastern United States is huge and it’s really exciting to add to this park footprint,” said Imgrund. “To help us meet our mission we need to have that local engagement, that local connection so that we can preserve the area for the future.”

The land is home to many native plant and animal species like black bears and brook trout, and the park will now work to keep it in pristine condition.

“We’ll be managing invasive species and things like that, providing wildlife habitat. The lands will be open to the public as part of the National Park but at this time we don’t have any plans for developing trails or things like that,” said Kenney. “As we look at climate change going on in the world the ability to preserve land will ensure we’re dealing with forest preservation and forest help. It’s just a great opportunity to conserve some land.”