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Virginia State Parks Round Up program pays big dividends

From the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

RICHMOND – A small program is paying big dividends in Virginia State Parks. The Round Up For Parks program is simple. Guests make a purchase in a Virginia State Park and the employee asks if they’d like to round up to the next dollar. Those reserving a cabin or campsite online also may round up.

Last year, park visitors donated more than $30,000 through the program, allowing park officials to install bottle-filling water stations in 31 state parks, and in-park headquarters in Richmond. The new water stations are expected to save more than 200,000 plastic water bottles annually.

“The program has been a real win-win since we rolled it out in the summer of 2016,” said Virginia State Parks Director Craig Seaver, who came up with the idea. “People donate a few cents or dollars and help the state parks they love and enjoy because the money is used to improve the parks. The bottle-filling stations allow us to better serve our mission to preserve protect the environment and keep hundreds of pounds of plastic out of landfills or recycling centers every year.”

In 2017, the first full year of the program, more than $12,000 was donated, and projects to enhance the experience of visitors were completed in Grayson Highlands, Twin Lakes, High Bridge Trail, and Bear Creek Lake state parks.

“Although this program doesn’t solve major backlogged maintenance issues or operational and staffing challenges facing our parks, it does allow us to enhance the visitor experience in impactful ways,” Seaver said. “The next time you’re in a state parks gift shop or snack bar and you’re asked if you’d like to round up, remember that your decision can make a difference in the parks for years to come.”

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