Governor McAuliffe Signs Agreement on Expanding Public Access to State Waters
~The MOU enhances the partnership among three state agencies to increase access to public waters~
RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed a memorandum of understanding that solidifies Virginia’s commitment to enhancing recreational water access throughout the Commonwealth.
The MOU, signed in a public ceremony at Gloucester Point Beach Park on the York River, directs three state agencies to work together to identify new potential public-access projects, particularly at bridge crossings and roads.
“Expanding public access to state waters is a concrete step we can take to help Virginians and visitors enjoy outdoor recreation here in our great Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Water-based recreation encourages physical activity and appreciation for Virginia’s natural resources and it is an important driver of our tourism sector and with it, the new Virginia economy.”
The three agencies mentioned in the MOU are the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The MOU formalizes the process by which the agencies will work together on new access projects.
Specifically, the MOU states:
- DCR, DGIF and VDOT representatives will meet at least annually to review bridge, road or ferry project sites for the potential to offer public access to state waters.
- DCR or DGIF will seek comments from adjacent property owners, local governments and other stakeholders for proposed access projects.
- VDOT will stabilize or leave in place any access roads or staging areas within its right of way that could be useful for the development of access projects.
Gloucester Point Beach Park was selected for the signing because all three agencies worked with Gloucester County to create public access to the river there.
New or enhanced access points for public recreational use can qualify as Virginia Treasures through the governor’s new initiative. The goal is to designate 1,000 treasures during the McAuliffe administration.
For more than 15 years, the Virginia Outdoors Demand Survey has ranked public access to state waters for recreation as one of the top 10 outdoor recreation needs in the state. The survey is administered widely to a cross-section of Virginia residents. To learn about the survey, visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/vop.