Delegate Bobby Orrock’s legislation that seeks to address funding issues for Virginia’s state parks has reported favorably from Committee and will now head to the House floor for consideration.
HB 1804 (Orrock) requires the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to develop recommendations for one or more dedicated, stable sources of funding for the state parks system. DCR shall convene stakeholders to study the issue and develop recommendations and shall submit its recommendations to the Chairpersons of the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, and the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee no later than November 1, 2021.
A 2019 study by the Virginia Tech Pamplin School of Business reported that in 2019, visitors to Virginia’s state parks spent approximately $286.2 million in the Commonwealth, nearly 45% ($130.2 million) of which was spent by out-of-state visitors. The report further noted that the total economic activity stimulated by Virginia State Parks during 2019 was approximately $437.7 million, an estimated $343 million of which is considered “fresh money,” funds that likely would have not been generated at all in the absence of the park system. In terms of the park system’s impact directly on counties, the report details millions of dollars of economic activity in counties that are above state averages.
VACo supports HB 1804.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.