Social Media Icons DEQ Facebook DEQ Twitter DEQ Instagram DEQ LinkedIn

Virginia Outdoors Plan Implementation

Applications for the 2021 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards are now being accepted. The application period will end at 5 p.m. on December 9, 2020. 

This category is intended to recognize outdoor recreation accomplishments meeting the 2018 Virginia Outdoors Plan goals and objectives. 

Outdoor recreation supports healthy living, a healthy environment, the health of Virginia’s economy and the health of the Commonwealth’s residents and visitors. It is often the avid outdoor recreation enthusiast who influences environmental initiatives and programs. Without personal outdoor experiences and opportunities for environmental education, many accomplished professionals, the public and our elected officials would not prioritize environmental protection. Spanning generations and including all races and physical abilities, outdoor recreation is a top contributor to Virginia’s tourism and economics.  


  • Entries in the Virginia Outdoors Plan category may be submitted for projects completed in Virginia by (a) Virginia businesses and industries; (b) government entities that own or manage land; (c) regional planning offices; (d) non-profits or (e) individuals. 
  • Projects must be complete prior to submission of the award application. If the project is a trail or water trail project, trail access and parking should be constructed and open to the public.   
  • Complete the online application and provide a 120-word or less executive summary. 
  • Judges may not evaluate an application for an organization or individual with which they are associated. 

Judging Criteria for Virginia Outdoors Plan Implementation:

Virginia Outdoors Plan Project Evaluation

Community goals [5 points maximum]:

  • How does this project meet regional outdoor recreation needs identified in the 2018 Virginia Outdoors Plan?
  • How are the outdoor recreation activities integrated with community goals for healthy living and economic sustainability? 
  • How does this outdoor recreation project support the protection of wetlands and other sensitive lands?

Public access [10 points maximum]:

  • What kind of public access to outdoor recreation is made possible by this project?
  • Describe educational programs or interpretive signage that is associated with this public access.
  • What is the involvement of your employees and the community in the management, enhancement and educational outreach associated with this public access?

Trails [10 points maximum]:

  • What kind of trails were developed as part of this project?
  • Describe educational programs or interpretive signage that is associated with the trails.
  • What is the involvement of your employees and the community in the management, enhancement and educational outreach associated with the trails?

Planning and management [10 points maximum]:

  • Is this project in the county’s comprehensive plan or outdoor recreation plan?  
  • Is there a written management plan and how does it address:
    • Carrying capacity of the recreation facility? 
    • Protective measures for indigenous plants and wildlife? 
    • Irrigation, fertilization and harvesting practices based on environmental protection? 
    • Identification, protection and management of wetland areas in accordance with all applicable requirements and regulations? 

Leveraging funds and involving partners [10 points maximum]:

  • How were funds leveraged for implementation?
  • How have partnerships advance funding efforts? 
  • How was community support and awareness generated?
  • How is long term maintenance addressed?

Protection of rare, threatened, or endangered species or exemplary natural communities [10 points maximum]:

  • Are lands adjacent to streams and water bodies protected and being managed as wooded buffers?
  • Are there rare, threatened, or endangered species or exemplary natural communities on the property?
  • If there are rare, threatened, or endangered species on the property, how are they protected and managed?
  • Describe protection of wildlife habitat.

Scenic resources [10 points maximum]:

  • Does this project advance scenic resource protection?
  • Can this scenic resource be viewed from a state highway, Virginia Byway or other public facility?
  • Is this scenic resource protected by an easement?
  • Has this resource received state recognition as a Scenic River or Virginia Byway?

Virginia Outdoors Plan Project Implementation & Results

Technical value and transferability [9 points maximum]:

  • Describe how this project may help others implement outdoor recreation. Identify the types of groups, facilities and/or entities that might duplicate all or some of your efforts.

Efficiency and cost effectiveness [9 points maximum]:

  • Describe the project's efficiency, cost effectiveness and ways this project is a model.  

Economic benefits [9 points maximum]:

  • What are the economic benefits to your community resulting from this project? 

Alternative transportation [8 points maximum]:

  • Does this outdoor recreation enhance alternative transportation and reduce transportation impacts? Explain. 


Contact Meghann Quinn with questions.

footer divider
footer divider
footer divider
Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

Some resources on this website require Adobe Reader and Flash Player, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel. If you wish to receive this content in an accessible format pursuant to Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. ยง 794 (d)), please call 800-592-5482. In addition, this website includes hyperlinks to websites neither controlled nor sponsored by DEQ or the Commonwealth of Virginia. Links may open in a new window. If you wish to receive content from a website which is neither controlled nor sponsored by DEQ or the Commonwealth, please contact the host of that website directly.

Privacy Statement | Terms Of Use | WAI Compliance | Contact Us