A new state forest on the Middle Peninsula
Tue, Mar 24, 2009 at 05:11 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
Dragon Run State Forest is Virginia’s newest – a 1,811-acre property on the Middle Peninsula that borders a major tributary to the Dragon Swamp, which feeds into the Piankatank River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.
State Forester Carl Garrison said, “The Dragon Run State Forest enhances VDOF’s ability to demonstrate to the public the scientific application of sound forest management practices while protecting nearby sensitive wetland areas. Once it is developed for public recreational pursuits, Dragon Run State Forest will include opportunities for hunting, hiking and horseback riding, as well as sites for wildlife viewing.”
The VDOF acquired the property from The Nature Conservancy utilizing federal funding through the USDA Forest Legacy program. Funding for the property was approved in 2003 and 2004 with the support of Sen. John Warner, former Sen. George Allen, as well as Rep. Jim Moran, and the late Rep. Jo Ann Davis.
Michael L. Lipford, Virginia state director of The Nature Conservancy, said, "The Nature Conservancy is proud to partner with the Virginia Department of Forestry in our collective efforts to protect not only wildlife, but forest land that is essential to water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.”
Larry Mikkelson, VDOF’s Forest Legacy program manager, said, “Acquisition of this property as a state forest is an excellent example of how cooperation among the state, The Nature Conservancy and the federal government can result in the conservation of open space in the Commonwealth and the provision of forest resources and recreation opportunities for Virginians.”
The lowland areas of Virginia’s 18th State Forest contain forested swamps that are protected under an open-space easement with Virginia Outdoors Foundation. In addition, The Nature Conservancy placed restrictions on some riparian areas of the property to further protect the water resource. Buffers along the waterways will protect the waters of the Dragon Swamp – one of the most significant forested areas in the Chesapeake Bay Lowlands Eco-region.
The upland areas of the property had been managed for growing southern yellow pine pulpwood and saw-timber. Prior to acquisition of the property by The Nature Conservancy, the property was owned by Chesapeake Forest Products, and then the John Hancock Life Insurance Company.
The Dragon Run State Forest is located near the intersection of state routes 614 and 602 in King and Queen County. The management of this and other State Forests are supported exclusively by receipts from timber sales and hunting permits – no tax dollars are used. For more information about this state forest, contact the Virginia Department of Forestry at 804.443.2211.
MNN is working with The Nature Conservancy to bring you state-by-state environmental information.
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