The goal of the Clinch River State Park action group is to create a state park sited within Russell, Wise, and/or Scott County in order to provide for public recreation and education along the Clinch River while protecting its sensitive and internationally significant biological diversity.
Economic Analysis Update:
The Friends of Southwest Virginia and The Clinch River Valley Initiative jointly commissioned an economic impact analysis for a possible new State Park on the Clinch River. The Clinch River State Park, as envisioned by CRVI, will include one or more “hub properties” totaling at least 700 acres and located adjacent to the Clinch River. These main properties will be complemented by multiple public river access points both upstream and downstream. The park and facilities will primarily be managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and any land acquired for the park will be from willing sellers. Under these assumptions, Chmura Economic and Analytics recently completed an economic impact study with these key findings:
- The park would provide improved public access to the Clinch River- a world class biological and educational resource.
- The park could help alleviate growing healthcare costs by providing a new option for outdoor recreation and physical activity.
- The park will complement Southwest Virginia’s existing cultural and outdoor tourism base. It can be helpful to the regional economy as part of a larger strategy that utilizes recreation as an economic development engine.
- A Clinch River State Park would attract over 100,000 visitors by its 3rd year of existence.
- In its first 5 year construction and development phase, the park could bring an annual impact of $3.58 million and sustain 31 local jobs.
- Beyond its initial 5-year period, the park is expected to have an on-going annual impact of $2.53 million and help create 23 local jobs.
- To download a full copy of the Economic Impact Study, click here: Clinch River State Park Economic Impact Study 2013.
Updates (June 2014):
- Despite the strong leadership of our Southwest Virginia legislators, the budget amendment requesting $2.5 million for the initial development of a Clinch River State Park was not contained by the final version of the budget.
- State Park funding is a challenge that can and will be overcome! Thank you to everyone who contacted a representative! Please thank Delegates Kilgore and Chafin for their leadership, as we will need their support as we move forward. Stay tuned as the Action Group revises their strategy. We will need outspoken citizens and dedicated legislators in the future as we work together to make the park a reality.
- It is still important to encourage your representative to remain supportive of the state park. Click here to contact your representative and encourage their support.
Updates (April 2013):
- The State Park Action Group has been working with CRVI Steering Committee members to gain new organizations and entities to sign the CRVI Resolution of Support (and is seeking additional signatories).
- The group is happy to announce that the economic impact study has been finalized. The study revealed that the park would bring $3 million a year to the area starting after phase I of the plan.
- The action group has been focusing on a meeting with southwest Virginia delegates that will be held in Lebanon on April 18, 2013 to discuss potential funding and support for the Clinch River State Park.
- Following up on our successful meeting with some of the legislators regarding a possible Clinch River State Park, a letter confirming the legislators’ support for the park and willingness to pursue an initial appropriation to secure land and public access points is being sent to the steering committee for approval. The State Park Action Team is seeking approval from the CRVI Steering Committee to send this letter to all our legislators.
- Group members have been developing a plan for outreach and potential funding for the action group. A few ideas that will help with outreach and funding include promoting the health aspects of the park, collaborating with medical and health organizations, creating press releases and photo competitions in the local newspapers, and educating legislators and other leaders in the community about the Clinch River and the State Park concept.
Updates (Feb. 2013):
- The State Park Action Group recently acquired funding for a Clinch River State Park Economic Impact Analysis. Chmura Economics and Analytics conducted the analysis through a contract with the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) and the Friends of Southwest Virginia.
- The location of the park will be not be decided as part of the study. It will focus on what it will cost to build a 600 acre park with visitor centers, camping sites, and river access points.
- The study will also include and potential economic contributions to the region from a state park.
- Chmura will be looking at the impact of canoe access points in addition to the park. Its goal is to characterize the benefits across the region.
- VTC is contributing $5,900 toward the economic impact analysis, and rest of the funds will come from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant.
- The Clinch River Valley Initiative (CRVI) Resolution of Support is being circulated widely for signatures and signed Resolutions.
- A revised funding strategy will be created so state park development can move forward.
Next State Park Action Group meeting: TBA
For more information about the Clinch River State Park effort, please contact Steve Lindeman of the Nature Conservancy at 276-676-2209.
Most Recent Meeting Summary: October 2011