ALLEGHANY COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Part of a national park with a segregated past in Alleghany County will reopen under its old name on Friday.
The “Green Pastures Recreation Area” was established during the Great Depression in Clifton Forge. It was one of the few places families of color could visit during the Jim Crow era.
“We look forward to welcoming everyone to Green Pastures as the outpost of Douthat State Park,” said Virginia State Parks Director Dr. Melissa Baker. “Once restoration work is complete, visitors can once again gather with family and friends and enjoy a connection to the outdoors while learning about its important history.”
State and federal agencies are working together to help improve forest conditions as they face challenges such as fires, floods, insect and disease outbreaks, and invasive species.
“Restoring green pastures and signing a shared stewardship agreement provides a tremendous combination of benefits for our outdoorsmen and women and our wildlife resources,” said Ryan Brown, executive director of the Virginia Department of Wildlife. Resources. “This will enhance efforts under our agency’s cooperative agreement with the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, which is the oldest such agreement in the nation, and preserving green pastures will properly recognize the passion for the outdoors owned by all Virginians, past and present.”
During the 1960s the park was renamed “Longdale Recreation Area“, but it then closed in 2017.
On Friday, September 24, Governor Ralph Northam and a number of park and agriculture officials will hold a ribbon-cutting and ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring the historic signing of the shared stewardship agreement between the department American Agriculture and Commonwealth.
“Segregation affected every aspect of life for black people in Virginia, including when and where they could access recreational spaces,” Northam said. “People came from all over to Green Pastures for barbecues, church outings and celebrations with friends and family. Through this federal partnership, we will protect the lands of this historic site and share the legacy of Green Pastures with a wider audience.
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