Virginia Governor Ralph Northam proposed a two-year budget that will include nearly $245 million for outdoor recreation and Virginia’s natural lands. The new funding will help significantly expand Virginia’s network of regional trails, state parks and the Office of Outdoor Recreation, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association website.
Outdoor recreation employs more than 197,000 people and contributes an estimated $22 billion to the Virginia economy. The industry also generates $1.2 billion in state and local tax revenues. Visitation to Virginia state parks increased 13 percent in 2020, with nearly 8 million visits. Some of the Commonwealth’s natural area preserves doubled the number of visitors compared to pre-pandemic numbers, and these increases have continued in 2021.