© Bruce McNitt/Panoramic Images (Virginia)

Virginia Outdoors Foundation

Created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1966, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is the only state-mandated land trust in the country. This unique 

holder of most of the largest conservation easements in the state

VOF-Owned Lands

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.

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.

The 21st Century

In the year 2000 the Virginia Outdoors Foundation had its biggest year, in terms of number of projects. The number of acres conserved by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation jumped nearly 40% from the year 1999; over 28,000 acres were conserved in the year 2000 alone. Since 2000, the number of acres conserved has stayed above 20,000 per year. 2006 has seen VOF’s biggest year so far, with approximately 70,000 new acres put into conservation easement, a nearly 60% increase from the amount of land accepted into VOF easement in 2005. In January 2005 VOF operating expenses were completely state supported, partly due to a new one-dollar recordation fee on real estate deeds in counties and cities where there are conservation easements.

In 2007 the Virginia Outdoors Foundation was mentioned in Governor Tim Kaine’s State of the Commonwealth Speech, given at Jamestown on January 10, 2007. Gov. Kaine stated, “In 1612, reflecting on the phenomenal natural beauty of Virginia, Captain John Smith said: "[H]eaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation. . . ." Every Virginian has a special place—a trail, a river, a lake, a beach, a mountain, a forest, a beautiful view—that restores the soul. One of our greatest responsibilities is to protect our natural heritage so that our children and our grandchildren can look on these places with the same awe and wonder we feel. In honor of our 400th anniversary, I have made it a goal to protect 400,000 acres of open space by 2010. Together, we will reach that goal. Since January of 2006, we have conserved 93,000 acres, the vast majority of which has been preserved through the Virginia Outdoors Foundation – for whom this has been a record year.”

Quick Facts

Virginia Outdoors Foundation
101 North 14th St., 17th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Contact Information

Phone: (540) 347-7727

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