~ Press release issued by the Governor’s Office
WOODSTOCK, June 14 — Governor Glenn Youngkin officially dedicated Seven Bends State Park on Tuesday in Shenandoah County. The park consists of 1,066 acres situated in the geographically unique Seven Bends area of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.
“Seven Bends State Park is a wonderful addition to the Virginia State Parks system, and it provides much needed additional public access to the North Fork of the Shenandoah River,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “With 41 state parks across the Commonwealth, our dedication to preserving our unique geological, natural and historical resources endures, and state parks continue to provide a much-needed place to exercise, relax and gather with family and friends.”
The park had a soft opening in early 2020. Located near the town of Woodstock, it features two hand-carry boat launches, picnic areas, a single family-sized picnic shelter, restrooms and more than 8 miles of hiking and biking trails.
“The purpose of Seven Bends State Park is to provide water- and land-based outdoor recreational and educational opportunities, while protecting and interpreting the spectacular scenic viewshed,” said Acting Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles. “The diversity of habitats provides outstanding opportunities for nature study, outdoor classrooms and programming.”
The trails include access to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests trail system along the Massanutten mountain range.
“As a long-time area resident, I am pleased to see the local community as well as visitors afar experiencing the natural beauty and participating in the outdoor recreation opportunities here at Seven Bends State Park,” said Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Todd Gilbert. “I am committed to our Virginia State Parks and understand the importance of working together to support and further the mission of these critical assets of the Commonwealth.”
The majority of the park was amassed through several land donations. The town of Woodstock donated 85 acres of what was once the site of the town reservoir. Dr. James R. Myers donated the largest parcel adjacent to the reservoir, with approximately 674 acres.
“Virginians desire greater access to the Commonwealth’s rivers and public lands and Seven Bends State Parks, with its breathtaking viewshed, delivers,” said Senator Mark Obenshain. “The addition of this park to the tourist assets that already exist in this part of the Shenandoah Valley solidifies this area as a premiere travel destination on the East Coast.”
The last parcel of land, at more than 306 acres and known as Camp Lupton, was purchased by the state from Massanutten Military Academy.
“There is a large demand for nearby public access to open spaces and recreational water resources, and Seven Bends State Park is ideally positioned to help meet those demands,” said Matt Wells, Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which manages Virginia State Parks. “Developing a park is a partnership, requiring many players at the table – from concerned and interested citizens to our partners in other state agencies. Virginia’s master planning process allows everyone to have a seat at the table. The plan adopted for Seven Bends will protect these valuable natural and cultural resources for the generations that follow.”
Outdoor exploration has continued to be very popular, with nearly 84,000 visitors to the park in 2021.
“The park’s western boundary is the North Fork of the Shenandoah River where a 4-mile long shoreline provides exceptional water-based recreation opportunities,” said Dr. Melissa Baker, Director of Virginia State Parks. “The park’s eastern border is shared with the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, provided highly desirable connectivity between public lands and expanding the area’s recreational opportunities.”
“Partnerships with the community will continue to play such a vital role in the development of Seven Bends State Park and will build on the work already completed here,” Baker added.
Seven Bends State Park is distinctly positioned geographically and offers a variety of activities for all to enjoy.
“We are proud of the close partnership with the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and are thankful for the organization’s continued volunteer support of the park,” said Tom Stevens, Assistant Manager of Seven Bends State Park. “Community support and local partnerships are the difference between existing and thriving. With the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, we created the North Fork Conservation Corps, which is a summer program for teens that blends community service with outdoor exploration and education. Local partnerships have brought in over $100,000 in grant-funded projects, including River’s Way Natural Play Space and Outdoor Classroom, and the Dupont Waynesboro Grant, which helped fund the opening and maintenance of Gokotta and Bass Bright Trails.”
To learn more about Virginia State Parks, visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.