Leave no trace spotlight

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Shenandoah National Park has been honored as a 2024 Leave No Trace Spotlight destination!

The newly launched Spotlights program aims at addressing the environmental challenges faced by areas by engaging proactive communities.

Be a part of this initiative and join the Subaru/Leave No Trace Team from June 14th to 16th for a range of activities.

To learn more about this event and to view the full schedule of weekend events, visit our
website at www.nps.gov/shen or check out https://lnt.org/…/leave-no-trace-spotlightshenandoah.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

A new duo is coming to DC

Giant pandas are making a comeback in Washington D.C.!

Through their enduring 52-year conservation collaboration with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, the Smithsonian National Zoo is gearing up to embrace two new bears, Bao Li (Bow-lee) and Qing Bao (Ching-Bow), before the close of 2024.

Boa Li, whose name means energetic treasure, has roots in the area.

His mother Bao Bao was born at the National Zoo in 2013, and his grandparents, Tian
Tian and Mei Xing lived at the zoo for 23 years.

Interior renovations are revolutionizing and enhancing the pandas’ living space and structural framework.

Ongoing efforts involve the installation of innovative climbing structures, engaging
water features, and intricate rock formations to stimulate the bears’ physical activity and
recreational behavior.

A revamped ventilation system ensures superior air quality and temperature regulation, while an enhanced smoke evacuation network enhances safety measures for the pandas in unforeseen emergencies.

Moreover, upgrades to the Giant Panda Cam are underway, facilitated by a dedicated team of skilled volunteers.

The replacement of 40 centrally operated cameras, three console machines,
and monitors in the Giant Panda Cam control room with cutting-edge technology marks a
significant advancement in monitoring capabilities.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

VT gray fox study

In the last twenty years, gray fox populations in North America have been declining.

While there haven’t been any official studies on gray foxes in Virginia, reports from various sources suggest fewer sightings, vocalizations, and camera captures in the state over the past decade.

To address this worrying trend, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is backing the Virginia Gray Fox Project led by Virginia Tech (VT).

The project’s main goal is to map where gray foxes currently are in Virginia and assess if their numbers are dropping by analyzing historical data over the state.

To achieve this, researchers plan to do a thorough camera survey all over Virginia.

To carry out this large-scale survey effectively, the research team needs volunteers who:

1. Already have trail cameras set up on their property.
2. Are willing to use and watch project cameras (if provided) on their property.
3. Are okay with letting researchers access their land to set up additional cameras.

Volunteers will need to follow specific rules for where to put cameras and how to collect data.

Checking the cameras to make sure they’re working and have enough battery life will be required.

The survey will take three years, with the focus of the 2024 field season being on the Appalachian Mountain region.

If you want to get involved with the Virginia Gray Fox Project, you can contact Victoria Monette by email at vmonette@vt.edu or leave a voicemail for Dr. Kelly at 540-231-1734.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

News Maker Todd Jones with a WCBS meeting recap

As we do every Thursday we check in with Warren County in our latest news maker.

News makers are sponsored by Warren County.

Experience Warren County Where History, Nature, and Family Come Together.

Todd Jones the County Director of Technology has a complete run down of the budget situation and recap of the April 9 special meeting of the Warren County Board of Supervisors (WCBS).

He tells us that one of the most important things about the budget is that it is not final yet.

Todd also tells us another important thing is that our voice can be and are heard with a verity of ways to let your thoughts be known.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

SNP issues ticketing program for Old Rag

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Following a two-year pilot program, Shenandoah National Park (SNP) will apply a permanent ticketing system to access Old Rag Mountain from March through November.

The system will improve visitor enjoyment, congestion on the trail and public safety, and better protect the environment and wildlife.

Potential visitors can find more information, including where tickets are required and how to obtain them at https://go.nps.gov/oldragticket.
The permanent system will closely follow the pilot program. Beginning March 1, 2024, all visitors
are required to have a day-use ticket, in addition to a park entrance pass, to access the Old Rag area.

Day-use tickets for Old Rag Mountain for the 2024 season will be available starting February 17, 2024, at 10 a.m.

Tickets cost $2.00.

A total of 800 tickets will be available each day from March 1 to November 30, and 400 will be released 30 days in advance and the remaining 400 will be released five days in advance.

Tickets are valid for the day of arrival only and are not transferable.

A day-use ticket does not guarantee a parking spot.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

 

Governor Youngkin recommits to Virginia vets

Governor Glenn Youngkin repeated his commitment to Virginia’s veterans with the celebration of  the extended tax-exemptions for military retirement pay through Virginia state budget.

After enacting a state tax exemption for military retirement pay in 2022, this expanded benefit will apply to all military retirees regardless of age and takes effect beginning January 1, 2024.

The Governor noted that after commendable years of service and sacrifice, our Virginia veterans deserve the best treatment.

Youngkin went to say he is working to make Virginia the number one state in America for veterans and military retirees to live work and raise a family.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Farm use tag update

commercial license renewal

Beginning July 1, 2024, unregistered farm use panel trucks, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles must display a DMV-issued permanent farm use plate.

Previously, an unofficial farm use tag, not issued by DMV, was sufficient.

A DMV-issued farm placard will be required for unregistered farm use for any of the mentioned vehicles.

The DMV-issued permanent farm use plate is nontransferable and is valid for as long as the owner uses the vehicle exclusively for one of the farm use purposes.

It must be returned to the DMV within 30 days of the vehicle being sold or if the vehicle is no longer being used exclusively for one of the purposes listed above.

For more information about permitted uses, please visit the Virginia DMV website.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

VDOT expands lanes near Staunton

Traffic Update

Two additional travel lanes will be constructed on Route 262 (Woodrow Wilson Parkway) in Augusta County near Staunton starting Monday, August 14.

The project will provide Route 262 motorists with two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes between the interchanges with Route 613 (Old Greenville Road) and Route 252 (Middlebrook Avenue).

Contractors will build two new northbound lanes parallel to the existing road, which currently has a single lane in each direction between Route 613 and Route 252.

When construction is complete, northbound traffic will utilize the new lanes and southbound traffic will use both existing lanes.

During stages of construction, northbound and southbound motorists should be alert for traffic-lane shifts and occasional single-lane closures.

The Virginia Department of Transportation will share details of those traffic restrictions as they become available.

The project has a contract completion date of May 24, 2024.

All work is weather permitting.

or more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.