The Virginia Outdoors Foundation was created by the General Assembly in 1966. It was established in the Code of Virginia under § 10.1-1800, which states:
The creation of VOF was among the recommendations of the 1964 Virginia Outdoor Recreation Study Commission, which also suggested the creation of a Historic Landmarks Commission, a system of scenic byways, and an enlarged state park system. On June 13, 1968 the first VOF easement was recorded – 102 acres in Goochland County on a property used by the University of Richmond as an outdoor classroom.
Although VOF has been in existence for more than five decades, the vast majority of the current acreage protected by VOF easements has been achieved since 2000, when the state created the Land Preservation Tax Credit Program, one of the strongest tax incentives for land conservation in the nation. VOF’s biggest year ever was in 2006, when we protected approximately 70,000 acres. Our largest easement project to date—more than 11,000 acres on Carvins Cove in Roanoke and Botetourt counties—was recorded in 2008 and 2009.
Thanks to the generosity of landowners, the strength of our partnerships, and the support of legislators, VOF will continue to fulfill its mission of preserving our shared natural and cultural resources for future generations.
In 1981, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation was given the Aldie Mill Historic Site in Loudoun County. Private funds were raised and the mill was restored as an example of 19th century manufacturing. In 2006 the mill was given to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, who continues to keep the mill open to the public.
On May 1, 2002, the VOF-owned Bull Run Mountains land was formally dedicated as the 34th State Natural Area Preserve. In this highly developed area, the Bull Run Mountain 2,500 acres is one of the largest, relatively intact and unfragmented natural landscapes east of the Blue Ridge in Northern Virginia.
For information about other properties owned by VOF, visit our owned-land page.
Open Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund
In 1997, the General Assembly created the Open Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund to assist landowners with the costs of conveying conservation easements. The fund has helped protect land by providing grants to reimburse a portion of the landowner’s costs of donation, as well as grants which purchase a portion of the value of the landowner’s easement.