2012 was an amazing year for Scenic Virginia. Some of the highlights included:
- Preserving “The View That Named Richmond”: In Virginia’s Capital City, we have worked tirelessly to showcase and preserve the historic panoramic vista of the James River from Libby Hill that is the reason Richmond is named Richmond. Our efforts to garner attention are paying off: In May of 2012, Preservation Virginia designated ‘The View’ as a 2012 Endangered Historic Site, and in August 2012 the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) honored it as a National 2012 Iconic Landscape. On November 26 of the year, our coalition-building paid off with the passage of a new Richmond Riverfront Plan that we believe will be transformational for the entire region. Thanks to your efforts, language protecting the historic Libby Hill View was included in the final version of the Riverfront Plan. Well done, all!
- Protecting Eastern Henrico County: We joined forces with Preservation Virginia, Historic Richmond Foundation, and numerous other groups to oppose the wholesale four-laning of the historic New Market Corridor (Route 5), the second-oldest highway in the U.S. and a Virginia Scenic Byway. The coalition is pushing for a lower-density land-use model that accentuates the area’s rich agriculture and tourism — Virginia’s two largest industries, by the way — while calming traffic and preserving scenic viewsheds.
- Uniting Two Richmonds: As a result of our work to preserve ‘The View That Named Richmond,’ we were introduced to Lord Alan Watson, CBE of Richmond upon Thames, England. This new friendship led to our hosting a May 8, 2012 event at the Capitol to celebrate the publication of The Queen and The U.S.A., his beautiful new book that examines our ‘special relationship’ and that was timed to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. In honor of Queen Elizabeth II, who has visited our beautiful Virginia more than any other U.S. State, and in celebration of her 60 years as Monarch, Scenic Virginia hosted a special tree-planting (of a London plane tree) that morning in Capitol Square with Lord Watson, Governor McDonnell, Speaker Howell, and other dignitaries.
- Event Fit for a Queen: A week after the Queen’s visit to Virginia, at Lord Watson’s invitation, Cessie and Bill Howell, Leighton Powell, and incoming Trustee Ellen LeCompte traveled to the U.K. to represent the Commonwealth at an official Queen’s Diamond Jubilee tree-planting event at Richmond Park in Richmond upon Thames. There, Lord Watson presented us individually to Her Majesty and strongly praised our efforts to preserve the Richmond, Virginia vista that is so strikingly similar to their beloved English view.
- 2013 Virginia Outdoors Plan: Trustee Richard G. Gibbons, FASLA and Executive Director Leighton Powell were asked to serve on the Technical Advisory Committee for the 2013 Edition of the Virginia Outdoors Plan, our Commonwealth’s planning guide for outdoor conservation and recreation. Because of Scenic Virginia’s presence on this committee, we have secured additional attention for our Commonwealth’s incredible scenic resources in the upcoming edition, due in Spring 2013.