Virginia's 38th state park, Widewater State Park, in Stafford County, covers 1,100 acres, including two miles of water frontage along the scenic Potomac River and Aquia Creek.
Governor Ralph Northam recently opened it to the public.
Originally purchased by Dominion Energy as a site for a proposed power plant, the property was later approved for development of 700 residential units, a resort conference center and extensive infrastructure.
Dominion changed its plans and sold the property for $1 million less than the assessed value in 2013 and the Trust for Public Land and Stafford County assisted in the transaction.
“The development of a low-impact state park on waterfront property significantly reduces the possibility of increased water quality degradation,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler. “More than 73,000 acres of Virginia are protected as state parks, and only a small fraction of the property is ever improved or developed. We are pleased that this land will be protected for generations to come.”
The Department of Conservation and Recreation will make four hunting blinds at Widewater State Park available to the public for this year’s waterfowl seasons Blinds will be rented at $200-a-week for use on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Funding for the $6.1 million property was from Virginia Public Building Authority bonds, and a federal appropriation of $225,000, secured by Virginia’s congressional delegation through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will make four hunting blinds at the park available to the public for this year’s waterfowl seasons.
Blinds will be rented at $200-a-week for use on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Permit holders are allowed to bring along two hunting partners, but the permit holder must be present at all times.
The blinds are located off the shores of the park - two in the Aquia Creek and two in the Potomac River. The blinds are approximately 8x8 feet and accessible by boat. No dogs are permitted.
“Virginia’s state parks attract millions of visitors each year, serving as affordable vacation destinations and adding to the economic vitality of the communities where they are located,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “With the dedication of this new state park, we build upon Virginia’s legacy of conservation and environmental stewardship and expand opportunities for the public to experience our Commonwealth’s natural beauty and renowned system of state parks.”
“This has been a long journey, from purchasing the property to adding nearly $7.5 million in improvements - roads, buildings and other infrastructure,” said Clyde Cristman, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which manages Virginia State Parks. “So many partners have contributed along the way to make this park a reality.”
“State parks host 10 million visitors each year,” said Virginia State Parks Director Craig Seaver. “Widewater State Park allows us to provide water access in one of the most heavily populated areas of Virginia while maintaining the serenity people expect when they visit one of our 38 state parks.”