Saturday, March 23, 2019

Virginia Outdoors Plan Now Recognizes Dark Skies as Scenic Resource

Every five years the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation produces an updated comprehensive plan for land conservation, outdoor recreation, and open space planning known as the Virginia OutdoorsPlan.  Government agencies, nonprofits, and the private sector look to the Virginia Outdoors Plan for guidance in meeting the needs of communities throughout the commonwealth,  Participation in the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund program requires such a state plan and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation also turns to the VOP for direction.

For the first time in its history, the Virginia Outdoors Plan includes dark night skies in its Scenic Resources chapter and a dedicated appendix on Natural Nightscapes and Dark Skies.  Virginia IDA's Laura Greenleaf began working with DCR staff in 2016 to address the need for inclusion of night sky conservation in the new VOP.  Janit Llewellyn and Robbie Rhur of DCR (Janit has since moved on to Chesterfield County Parks and Rec) were instrumental in championing this effort and seeing it through the long VOP process. Many thanks to them both!

Find the entire Virginia Outdoors Plan here. Chapter 10: Scenic Resources and Appendix 10: Dark Skies.