Assignments for Class 13: Telling Tourists Where to Go

Objectives for Class

Reminder: Online Course Evaluations Are Open Between November 28-December 9

Federal land ownership in Virginia, as of 2003
Federal land ownership in Virginia, as of 2003
(US Forest Service owns the majority of Federal land in Virginia)
Source: US Geological Survey National Atlas

  • What Makes a Place Special?
  • Parks, Forests and Tourism
  • "Personal" vs. Public Parks in Virginia
  • What's Where
  • Tourism in Virginia
    • strategy #1 in tourism requires Virginia to have a unique "brand" - potential tourists need to be stimulated to leave home, and those who leave home need to be encouraged to visit Virginia rather than Pennsylvania, California, Bermuda, wherever
  • Virginia Tourism and Virginia Business
    • Aviation World's Fair
      • grand plans for a 2003 extravaganza at Newport News airport, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first flight, were cancelled due to Virginia's 2002 budget crunch; when the state eliminate proposed funding to subsidize the event, the fair was cancelled
      • tourism is a business, every business has risks... and occasionally, elected officials chose to minimize risk by saying "no" to funding requests
    • Virginia is For Lovers?
    • Welcome Centers
      • if you drive into Virginia on I-64, I-77, I-81, I-85, or even cross the border on I-95 from North Carolina, how far must you drive before seeing a Welcome Center?
      • note the location of the closest welcome center on I-95 or I-66 in Northern Virginia to steer visitors in the DC-area to specific locations in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun...
      • only a small percentage of tourists go as far west on I-66 or as far south on I-95 to the locations of "Welcome to Virginia - spend money here" centers... but where would you put a visitor center closer to DC?
  • Article XI of the Constitution of Virginia (adopted 1970)
    • "To the end that the people have clean air, pure water, and the use and enjoyment for recreation of adequate public lands, waters, and other natural resources, it shall be the policy of the Commonwealth to conserve, develop, and utilize its natural resources, its public lands, and its historical sites and buildings. Further, it shall be the Commonwealth's policy to protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, for the benefit, enjoyment, and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth..
  • Nature-Oriented Tourism
  • History of Virginia State Parks
  • location of National Parks in Virginia
    • are they concentrated in any physiographic province?
  • Are Virginia's Parks Next to Virginia's People?
    • Land Patterns and Special Places
    • go to QuickFacts, select Virginia, and check out the Geography QuickFacts at the bottom to see "Land Area" and "Persons per square mile" (population density) in the year 2010
    • use those same Census statistics to identify how many "housing units" were in Virginia in 2010
    • select a county on the QuickFacts website. Assuming each housing unit has an individual place in which residents can play, determine the number of private play areas (i. e. backyards of housing units...) for the county that you selected. (Think that assumption is valid, or flawed? In your experience, do all housing units - including urban apartments - have a private backyard?)
    • think citizens in urban or rural areas are more likely to be in favor of using tax dollars to buy land for public parks? Check the results for Highland and Fairfax counties on the November 5, 2002 vote for Proposed Bond 2 - Parks and Recreational Facilities
    • Virginia Tourism Monitor (think the monthly trends would be different if we experienced global cooling that made skiing more attractive in Virginia? The Lego Corporation once considered building Legoland on the Cherry Hill Peninsula north of Quantico, to tap into the tourists that visit DC... but chose to build in Calsbad, California. The weather is warmer in the winter there, so the tourism season is longer.)
    • Where do Virginia's visitors come from? (a dated-but-still-relevant report)
  • note the location of state parks
    • are they evenly distributed, with just as many north of the James River as there are parks south of that river?
      • locate Twin Lakes, where two separate parks were merged into Twin Lakes State Park for a particular reason:
      • "Cedar Crest Conference Center is on the site of the former Prince Edward State Park for Negroes. In 1948, during an era of rigidly enforced racial segregation in the South, an African-American named M. Conrad Martin was denied admission to Staunton River State Park. Martin, a prominent banker from Danville, Va., then filed suit to challenge the validity of the commonwealth's policy for providing state parks only for whites. This legal challenge led to a decision by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Development to expand facilities at an existing recreation area for African-Americans in Prince Edward County and turn it into a full fledged state park. In January 1949, Governor William Tuck wrote a special appropriation totaling $195,000 for development of the new Prince Edward State Park for Negroes. The new park was opened to the public in June 1950, making it Virginia's eighth state park. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation. However, Prince Edward and nearby Goodwin Lake state parks continued as separate facilities the two merged in 1976. The resulting Prince Edward-Goodwin Lake State Park was renamed Twin Lakes State Park in 1986, and the concept of an overnight conference facility on the Prince Edward site came to fruition."1
reconstructed Governors Palace at Williamsburg
reconstructed Governors Palace at Williamsburg

Garden Week at Mt. Airy on the Northern Neck
Garden Week at Mt. Airy on the Northern Neck
  • some nationally-significant natural areas, such as Luray Caverns, are private... and managed for business more than for preservation
    • All Green Spaces Are Not "National Parks"
    • if Luray Caverns was a national or state park, would the park managers allow construction of a Stalacpipe Organ?
    • Natural Bridge
    • Crows Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County
      • It's not Federal land. It's not a state park with a campground or cabins. It's not a county recreation site, with soccer fields and lights. In fact, it's not even open to the public yet.
      • Do we need more "special places" that do not get developed, or do we have enough for the current and future population? If we need more areas, should the government purchase them? What is your priority - active recreation (ballfields), passive recreation (hiking/birdwatching), or resource preservation areas with no human use allowed?
        • Purchase of Bird Refuge Is at Issue in Campaigns (Washington Post, September 11, 2005)
        • compare Reasons to Save Crow's Nest with Public money to buy Crow's Nest? Where will it end? (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, January 25, 2005). Which of these do you find to be most convincing?
        • A number of different local, state and federal resources were used to block plans for development, and to fund the initial acquisition. Just saying "the government ought to buy it" is a simplistic, and unrealistic, approach to land conservation - snapping fingers for TinkerBell to appear with a blank check is now good for only financial fairy tales. Assembling a partnership to purchase land for conservation is hard work, and requires a solid understanding of the priorities of different agencies in the local, state, and Federal government.
  • Virginia Natural Area Preserves
    • "preserves" are purchased for a different purpose than "parks," and managed for resource protection rather than for visitor enjoyment (some are even closed to public use)
    • what percentage of "preserves" are near the population centers of Northern Virginia, Richmond, and Hampton Roads?
    • if you were running the land acquisition program to conserve natural areas, would your priority be to purchase the greatest number of acres (perhaps in Southwestern Virginia) or to purchase natural areas near the greatest number of potential visitors?
cave formation at Grand Caverns (near Grottoes), first commercial tourist cave in Virginia
cave formation at Grand Caverns (near Grottoes), first commercial tourist cave in Virginia

Web Exercise:
Check out the Virginia Wildlife and Birding Trail and explore the Eastern Continental Divide loop. As a refresher, look again at the location of Craig Creek, and find that location using the Geographic Names Information System. Use Virginia Hydrography and your Atlas and Gazetteer to find Craig Creek, and review the drainage basins of Virginia. (Is Craig Creek located in the watershed with the largest acreage in Virginia?)

Map Exercise:
Count the number and size of parks vs. urban areas along the state's borders. In the Virginia Atlas and Gazetteer, start at Cumberland Gap and go east to Virginia Beach. Note how many parks vs. urban areas (with the distinctive color identified in the legend) are present in each border county/city. Return to Cumberland Gap and go northeast to Frederick County, making the same count. Then start at Loudoun County and go southeast along the Potomac River to Northumberland, cross the Chesapeake Bay to Accomack County, and complete the loop by going south to Virginia Beach again. Finally, look at the maps on page 55 and page 56, the geographic center of the state. If Virginia had developed according to the idealized "central place theory," would there be parks on the periphery and Dillwyn would be the largest city in Virginia?

Site Visit:
Find a historic building near your home or office that you have not described already for this course. You can use the Virginia Landmarks Register to help, or check the website of your county historic society. Identify:
- what makes that site historic? elaborate on what happened there to make the place "special"?
- why would you consider that site to be worth designating? if you think the site is not historic or appropriate to label as "special" in some way (in your opinion), why not?
- what else was happening in Virginia at that time, that you have learned about in this class since August? For example - "Bacon's Rebellion happened ten years before this parcel in Stafford County was first acquired by the Brent family" or "the Proclamation of 1763 was issued 2 years after Robert Carter III bought this house in Williamsburg." (Hint: you can use the Virginia Timeline of State History.)
- name and describe 2-3 other places in Virginia that are associated with the times/event that occurred at your site. For example, if your site is associated with Massive Resistance to desegregation, decribe 2-3 other places related to civil rights are also located in Virginia.
- based on the date of whatever historic event occurred there, where were your relatives? how many generations back would you have to go in your family genealogy, before a relative of yours was alive at that time? (Assume a generation is 30 years, unless you know the family history. For example, you may know that your great-great grandfather was living in Germany, back when Alexandria was occupied by a Union force and Confederates withdrew from the intersection of Prince and South Washington streets on May 24, 1861.)

church at Jamestown
church at Jamestown


1. "Cedar Crest Confeference Center," Virginia State Parks, (last checked November 27, 2011)
2. 2009 Statistical Abstract and 2010 Statistical Abstract, National Park Service, and (last checked November 27, 2011)

Geography of Virginia (GGS380)
Virginia Places