National Parks Chair
State Parks Chair
Recognizing the potential for strengthening volunteer park support organizations in Virginia, the Virginia Association for Parks (VAFP) was launched at a statewide park volunteer training conference held in Fredericksburg in November 1997.
Since 1997, VAFP has grown to become the nonprofit umbrella organization for the respective citizen support groups (Friends Groups) and individual volunteers supporting the 36 state parks, 61 state natural areas, and the 22 national parks, monuments, and historic sites located across the Commonwealth.
VAFP is unique in that we know of no other organization that is working towards the goal of a "seamless" park system from a user perspective. Our view is that a "park is a park" regardless of the funding source - national, state, regional, or local.
In keeping with that view, VAFP is supportive of all parks within the Commonwealth. We advocate for park issues at local, state, and national levels. We also offer free technical advice and assistance to those who wish to form a new support organization(s). And, we conduct semi-annual conferences that include training sessions and networking opportunities for attendees to exchange ideas.
VAFP is an all-volunteer effort and has been granted tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. Dues and contributions are fully tax deductible.
Many parks have citizen support organizations (CSOs), also called friends groups, made up of volunteers who help shore up park projects, programs and management. Many of these groups have formed to advocate for specific state parks. Funds raised onsite by these friends groups - through gift shop sales, special events and other activities - are used for improvements and programs at particular parks. There are 24 parks with a friends group. The parks are: