MPPAA Creates Solutions for Landowners and the Public
May 7, 2018
SALUDA, Va. – The Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority (MP-PAA) has earned a 2018 Governor's Environmental Excellence Award for its Coastal Land Giving for Public Access Program. The unique program leverages the generosity of coastal landowners to ensure coastal residents and visitors have sufficient public access to natural resources.The MP-PAA began accepting land donations in 2006. Since then the organization has increased public land availability along the coast by hundreds of acres, expanding the public spaces where Virginians and tourists can kayak, hike and participate in other outdoor activities.
The MP-PAA was one of five organizations to receive a gold medal during an award ceremony held at the 29th Environment Virginia Symposium in Lexington earlier this month. Through the MP-PAA’s Coastal Land Giving for Public Access Program landowners can easily donate their waterfront land for public benefit.
“Across Virginia’s diverse coastal zone, only one percent of the shoreline is publically owned, making it difficult for many people to get on the water,” said Lewie Lawrence, Executive Director of the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission. “We’re delighted that the Governor’s office has recognized the Coastal Land Giving for Public Access program, which is giving the public much greater access to wonderful Chesapeake Bay resources without burdening taxpayers or government resources.”
The Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards recognize contributions of environmental and conservation leaders in four categories – sustainability, environmental project, land conservation, and implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan. The awards are presented annually to businesses and industrial facilities, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies.
The MP-PAA began accepting land donations in 2006. Since then the organization has increased public land availability along the coast by hundreds of acres, expanding the public spaces where Virginians and tourists can kayak, hike and participate in other outdoor activities.
For example, in 2013 a landowner participating in the Coastal Land Giving for Public Access Program donated 97 acres on the Severn River in Gloucester County. The parcel, now known as Captain Sinclair's Recreational Area, features a mile of open shoreline, stands of dense forestry and tidal wetlands ideally suited to fishing, kayaking, waterfowl hunting and other outdoor activities. Outbuildings are available on the property, which is also used by the Gloucester High School crew team as a practice and equipment storage facility.
A 274 acre-parcel of land within the pristine Dragon Run Watershed has also been made available for public use under the program. The Browne Tract features nine public hunting zones available for big game, small game and waterfowl hunting, and each zone can be reserved online for $10.
For their generosity, land donors participating in the Coastal Land Giving for Public Access Program can receive tax benefits and fulfill desires to leave a legacy, inspire future generations and support the local economy.
A map of properties available for public use can be found on the MP-PAA Property and Facility Reservations website.
To learn more about the MP-PAA’s Coastal Land Giving for Public Access project, click here: http://www.virginiacoastalaccess.net/landgiving.html
For more information on the Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards, click here: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/PollutionPrevention/GovernorsEnvironmentalExcellenceAwards/GovernorsEnvironmentalExcellenceAwardWinners.aspx
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