A significant section of the planned Clinch River State Park is now owned by the state.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation announced Monday that it acquired a 270-acre parcel in Wise County on Aug. 7.
The “Sugar Hill” property at St. Paul includes several miles of public day-use hiking trails that will remain accessible, according to a press release.
“As this park is under development, visitors are asked to practice ‘leave no trace’ principles — pack out what you packed in, stay on the designated trail and don’t park in non-designated areas,” the release states.
“We look forward to working with public and partner organizations as we develop this jewel in the Clinch River Valley,” said state parks Director Craig Seaver. “Clinch River State Park will provide some of the best recreational experiences that Southwest Virginia has to offer.”
Once opened, Clinch River State Park will be Virginia’s first “blue way” park, consisting of a few anchor parcels and several smaller parcels for river access, making a “string of pearls” along the Clinch River.
Two parcels, both in Russell County, were acquired earlier in 2019.
The new park will play a key role in the region’s ongoing efforts to conserve one of the most biologically diverse places on earth, according to DCR.
Once DCR is past the land acquisition phase, the master planning process will begin. This will include public input sessions and is expected to begin around fall of 2020.