Land Trust of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Historic Village Conservation Initiative
This project will build on the successes of LTV’s Historic Rural Village Studies and its Blue Ridge Study to further its land conservation efforts in areas of Loudoun and Fauquier Counties that are increasingly vulnerable to development. LTV’s Historic Rural Village program seeks to protect the character of villages by conserving the open spaces around them. These mapping studies concentrate on Loudoun and Fauquier Counties where most of LTV’s easements are located. LTV has previously studied Waterford, Hillsboro, Lincoln, Lucketts and Bluemont, and determined which properties within a 3-mile radius of those villages have the most conservation values.
LTV contacted landowners and presented the results at local community centers. The presentations included overviews of conservation easements, the easement donation process, and incentives for easements. In 2015, LTV completed its Blue Ridge Study, a $30,000 project funded by a $15,000 grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment and funds from LTV. The study area extends 40 miles from the Shenandoah National Park to the Potomac River, and covers 200,000 acres. Only 30,000 acres are conserved making it the largest unprotected area in the 600-mile length of the Blue Ridge. LTV acquired data for the counties within this area (Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke and Warren Counties), produced 21 maps showing natural resources and conservation values, and analyzed the data to identify properties with the highest occurrence of natural resources and conservation values. LTV identified 286 parcels (41,199 acres) that are its highest priorities for protection in the Blue Ridge.
LTV will break the Blue Ridge study area into smaller “communities”. The first phase, to be accomplished under this grant, will focus on the communities associated with six historic rural villages located on the eastern flank of the study area. These are Hillsboro and Bluemont in Loudoun County and Upperville, Delaplane, Markham and Hume in Fauquier County. Maps for each community will show the village in the context of the nearby mountainside since LTV will be targeting landowners in and around those villages, as well as owners of mountainside properties above those villages. The maps will show the natural resources occurring on individual properties and provide landowners with a better understanding of why their properties are worth protecting. LTV will make four presentations in 2017.
The Hillsboro, Bluemont and Upperville presentations will each focus on those “communities”. The Delaplane, Markham and Hume “communities” will be combined into one presentation. Scheduling will be done months in advance with community leaders and with other conservation groups working in those areas so that we can reach as wide an audience as possible.