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Staunton River State Park Earns Spot Among The Best

Summer camping season is here, and ReserveAmerica, one of the largest providers of campground reservation services, has announced the 2010 “Top 100 Family Campgrounds” list, a guide to help campers and families plan camping trips at great locations across America’s outdoors.

For the eighth consecutive year, the 35 Virginia State Parks operated by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation have been recognized among the nation’s best. Included in the Top 100 Family Campgrounds list are Staunton River State Park in Scottsburg and Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville.

In addition, Staunton River was listed in 13 other categories, while Occoneechee was listed in nine other categories.

Both parks were included among the Top 25 in Amazing Locations, Canoeing Spots, Educational and Historical Facilities, Picnic Areas, Romantic Spots, Unique Cabins, and Tours and Events, and among the Top 50 Fishing Spots. Staunton River also ranked in the Top 25 Biking Trails, Bird Watching Spots, Scenic Views, and Water Recreation Parks, and Top 50 Hiking Trails, while Occonneechee ranked among the Top 50 Kid-Friendly Parks.

According to Tim Vest, district manager for Virginia State Parks, “Community support has been an essential element in the success of these parks.”

Josh Ellington, park manager at Staunton River State Park, added, “It is really an accomplishment I wish I could take the credit for, but the staff, community, and park volunteers have helped make Staunton River State Park the award winning facility that it is.”

“The Top 100 Family Campground list highlights some of America’s finest campgrounds that not only provide convenient services, but offer beautiful scenery and ensure that outdoor enthusiasts and families have a great camping experience,” explained David Dutch, general manager for the Active Network’s Outdoors division. “We congratulate all our winners on receiving this great award.”

To determine the top campgrounds and locations, over 3,000 parks were evaluated based in part on testimonials from park rangers, regional park management and campers, as well as specific family-friendly criteria including kid-friendly parks, scenic views, hiking trails, children’s activities and more.

Virginia State Parks was honored with 101 awards in 17 categories.

A dozen parks were named in the Top 100 Family Campgrounds including Staunton River, Occoneechee, Chippokes Plantation, Claytor Lake, Douthat, Fairy Stone, First Landing, James River, Kiptopeke, New River Trail, Smith Mountain Lake and Westmoreland state parks.

“In the past few years, we’ve hosted record numbers of visitors as more and more people recognize the beauty and affordability of our parks, as well as the many activities our parks have to offer. We are honored to have Virginia State Parks recognized again this year by ReserveAmerica,” said DCR Director David Johnson. “I know park employees take great pride in their work, and it’s rewarding to have their dedication nationally recognized.”

A part of the Active Network, ReserveAmerica is North America’s leading camping reservation and campground management solutions provider.

ReserveAmerica manages the Virginia State Parkelectronic reservation system.

“Our parks play an important role in the lives of our visitors,” said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. “Virginia State Parks are a tonic for the mind, body and spirit, and they are places people return to year after year, generation after generation.”

In 2009, 7.5 million people visited Virginia State Parks. Attendance through May 31 of this year was 2.2 million, 8.8 percent more than the same time last year.

“Each year outdoor enthusiasts look forward to ReserveAmerica’s annual list of the nation’s finest campgrounds that provide convenient services, offer beautiful scenery and ensure families have a great camping experience,” explained Dutch. “We hope families find this diverse list of camping locations and attractions useful as they make their summer plans.”

Campers can find anything from a weekend retreat to an extended vacation by browsing through more than 300,000 campsites, cabins, day use facilities, and picnic areas at www.ReserveAmerica.com.

ReserveAmerica, part of the Active Network, is a leading camping reservation, campground management and marketing solutions provider.

For the complete list of specific winners, visit:http://www.active.com/outdoors/Articles/2010-Outdoor-Awards-Americas-Top-Campgrounds.htm .