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VOF Adds to Protected Open Space in Counties Surrounding Charlottesville

Albemarle and surrounding counties gained nearly 3,500 acres of protected open space thanks to 23 conservation easements donated by area landowners to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in 2012.  VOF protected 650 acres in Albemarle, 79 acres in Fluvanna, 144 acres in Greene, 100 acres in Louisa, 1,288 acres in Nelson, and 1,183 acres in Orange.

Highlights include:

  • A 164-acre farm that straddles the Albemarle-Greene county line with broad views of open farmland along nearly a mile of road frontage. 
  • Two adjoining easements along the Moormans River in western Albemarle.
  • Three adjoining easements protecting 800 acres on the Rockfish River in Nelson County.
  • A 473-acre easement near Wintergreen.

In a press release announcing VOF’s statewide totals, Governor McDonnell applauded the work, noting, “VOF is a key player in working to conserve Virginia’s many beautiful open spaces.”

Sherry Buttrick, assistant director for easements in VOF’s Charlottesville office, added, “VOF is grateful to all landowners who donated easements on their property this past year and increased the amount of rural land that will remain forever in open space in the Piedmont. This part of Virginia, with its rivers and streams in the Bay watershed, its beautiful views, its rolling farms and forestlands, and its historic importance, is rich in natural and cultural resources. The large number of easements in the area will help to ensure that these resources will be available to future generations of residents and visitors.”

The six-county area surrounding Charlottesville contains a dense concentration of VOF easements donated by landowners. Albemarle County, which has 64,240 acres under VOF easement, has the second-highest number of VOF-protected acres in the Commonwealth after Fauquier County. Orange County ranks fourth in the state, with 30,921 VOF-protected acres.

Statewide, VOF now protects about 675,000 acres— more than 1,000 square miles—across 107 localities. That is an area twice the size of Orange County. Seventy-five percent of the acreage protected by VOF’s easements lies within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The easements help to protect nearly 3,500 miles of streams, 300,000 acres of high-quality farm soils, 250,000 acres of high-quality forests, 200 miles along designated scenic roads, 100 miles along designated scenic rivers, and 90,000 acres in state and federal Historic Districts.

Conservation easements are voluntary agreements between private landowners and a qualified land trust such as VOF that restrict future development while allowing compatible uses such as farming, forestry, and recreation. Landowners who donate easements can receive state and federal tax benefits.  For more information on easements, contact VOF’s Charlottesville office at (434) 293-3423.

About the Virginia Outdoors Foundation
VOF was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1966 to encourage the preservation of the Commonwealth’s natural and cultural heritage lands. It operates seven regional offices in Virginia and holds more conservation easements than any land trust in the nation. 

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