The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is soliciting public input through October on proposed updates to Smith Mountain Lake State Park’s master plan.
A meeting was held Monday night at the Huddleston park’s visitor center to kick off the public comment period.
“If there are any serious concerns, we’ll definitely take that into consideration,” Julie Buchanan, DCR’s senior public relations and marketing specialist, said of the public comments.
All Virginia state parks have master plans that guide long-range planning and development, and plans are updated every 10 years, Buchanan said. The most recent updates to Smith Mountain Lake State Park’s master plan were made in 2011.
“Master plans outline the desired future condition for a park when it is fully developed,” said DCR Park Planner Bill Conkle. “We welcome public input in the planning process.”
Proposed updates to Smith Mountain Lake State Park have been divided into three phases based on priority, according to a DCR information sheet.
Phase I upgrades include adding a fuel station and a second dock with 10 boat slips, a campground with 60 sites, five small fishing piers and a picnic area with a large shelter, a conference shelter, 10 picnic pads, a comfort station, a transient dock, a playground and 60 parking spaces.
Eight three-bedroom and two six-bedroom cabins are listed as priorities in phase II of the plan, along with a covered boat dock with lift and a storage shed. A staff residence and a paved, off-road, multi-use path connecting the cabins to the beach are included in phase III.
Each phase also includes resurfacing parking areas, protecting the shoreline and repaving and widening park roads to accommodate bicycles.
There were no cost estimates provided for the proposed upgrades. “We don’t do cost estimates until after the public meeting,” Conkle said in an email.
After the public comment period closes, Buchanan said the plan will be presented at a Board of Conservation and Recreation meeting for additional comment, before being circulated to the Virginia General Assembly.
“The key is that any funding [for park upgrades] ... does have to be approved by the General Assembly,” Buchanan said. “What it takes is a local legislator to put into a budget bill.”
Comments about the master plan update will be accepted through Oct. 30 by emailing Conkle at firstname.lastname@example.org.