This news release is from the previous Governor's administration.
For Immediate Release: November 18, 2015
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy, 804-225-4260, | Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation: Julie Buchanan, 804-786-2292,

Virginia Treasures Application Available Online

~Recreational lands opened to the public during McAuliffe administration may be submitted for recognition~


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that recreational projects may be submitted for Virginia Treasures designation through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) website. 

Information and an online application are available at

Virginia Treasures is Governor McAuliffe’s initiative for conserving land and expanding access to public outdoor recreation across the Commonwealth. The goal is to conserve 1,000 treasures during this administration. 

“Virginia Treasures places our focus on what’s important for public outdoor recreation and quality land conservation,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I encourage individuals and agencies that own or manage publicly accessible recreational areas to apply for Virginia Treasures recognition to help the Commonwealth reach and surpass its 1,000-treasure goal.” 

To qualify as a Virginia Treasure, properties must meet established criteria and have been opened to the public or conserved during Governor McAuliffe’s time in office. Applications will be reviewed by DCR staff. 

The initiative has two categories: 

Natural, Cultural, Scenic and Recreational Treasure: A tangible project that provides a new opportunity for the public to access or experience a natural, cultural or scenic outdoor recreation resource. Examples may include trails, water-access points, parks, scenic byways, rivers and viewsheds, public gardens and wildlife-viewing areas. All must offer public access and have been opened during the McAuliffe administration. 

Land Conservation Treasure: A permanent fee-simple, conservation or open-space easement (or amendment to an existing easement) that protects a significant natural resource. Examples may include important agricultural lands, important forestlands, wetlands, forests that provide water-quality benefits, The Nature Conservancy focus areas, Virginia Outdoors Foundation special project areas and Natural Heritage conservation sites. All must have been conserved during the McAuliffe administration. 

Land Conservation Treasures are vetted through a separate process. Permanent land protection happens via landowners working with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, land trusts, and local state and federal agencies working in partnership with DCR, and determining if the project meets the quality criteria set for the treasures goal. 

Criteria for both categories are listed on the Virginia Treasures webpage. 

The owners or managers of lands that qualify as Virginia Treasures will receive a letter and certificate from the governor. In addition, they will have the option to purchase a Virginia Treasures sign for their property. 

As of October 29, more than 300 Virginia Treasures had been recorded.