Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Proposed Text


Amend and Clarify the State Park Regulations
Stage: Fast-Track

4VAC5-30-10. Definition of terms.

Whenever used in this chapter, the following respective terms, unless otherwise therein expressly defined, shall mean and include each of the meanings herein respectively set forth.

"Bathing area" means any beach or water area designated by the department as a bathing area.

"Bicycle path" means any path maintained for bicycles.

"Bridle path or trail" means any path or trail maintained for persons riding on horseback.

"Camping Unit" means a tent, tent trailer, travel trailer, camping trailer, pick-up camper, motor homes or any other portable device or vehicular-type structure as may be developed, marketed or used for temporary living quarters or shelter during periods of recreation, vacation, leisure time, or travel.

"Department" means the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"Foot path or trail" means any path or trail maintained for pedestrians or handicapped disabled persons.

"Motor vehicle" means any vehicle which possesses a motor of any description used for propulsion or to assist in the propulsion of the vehicle.

"Owner" means any person, firm, association, copartnership or corporation owning, leasing, operating, or having the exclusive use of a vehicle, animal or any other property under a lease or otherwise.

"Park" means, unless specifically limited, all designated state parks, parkways, historical and natural areas, natural area preserves, sites, and other recreational areas under the jurisdiction of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"Permits" means any written license issued by or under authority of the department, permitting the performance of a specified act or acts.

"Person" means any natural person, corporation, company, association, joint stock association, firm or copartnership, an individual, proprietorship, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, syndicate, business trust, estate, club, committee, organization, or group of persons acting in concert.

"Regulation" means regulations duly adopted by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.


4VAC5-30-20. Construction.

In the interpretation of the Virginia State Parks Regulations, their provisions shall be construed as follows: (i) any terms in the singular shall include the plural; (ii) any term in the masculine shall include the feminine and the neuter; (iii) any requirements or prohibition of any act shall, respectively, extend to and include the causing or procuring, directly or indirectly of such act; (iv) no provision hereof shall make unlawful any act necessarily performed by any law-enforcement officer as defined by § 9.1-101 of the Code of Virginia or employee of the department in line of duty or work as such, or by any person, his agents or employees, in the proper and necessary execution of the terms of any agreement with the department; (v) any act otherwise prohibited by Virginia State Parks Regulations, provided it is not otherwise prohibited by law or local ordinance, shall be lawful if performed under, by virtue of and strictly within the provisions of a permit so to do, and to the extent authorized thereby, and (vi) this chapter are in addition to and supplement the state vehicle and traffic laws which are in force in all parks and which are incorporated herein and made a part hereof.


4VAC5-30-30. Territorial scope.

All Virginia State Parks Regulations shall be effective within and upon all state parks, historical and natural areas, natural area preserves, roads, sites, and other recreational areas in the Commonwealth which may be under the jurisdiction management or control of the Department of Conservation and Recreation and shall regulate the use thereof by all persons.


4VAC5-30-32. General.

Failure to comply with the Virginia State Parks Regulations, as well as other applicable laws and regulations, may result in revocation of permits, forfeiture of applicable prices paid, and prosecution.


4VAC5-30-40. Permits.

The department may issue a permit for activities otherwise prohibited in this chapter. A permit to do any act shall authorize the same only insofar as it may be performed in strict accordance with the terms and conditions thereof. Any violation by its holders or his agents or employees of any term or condition thereof shall constitute grounds for its revocation by the department, or by its authorized representative, whose action therein shall be final. In case of revocation of any permit, all moneys paid for or on account thereof shall, at the option of the department, be forfeited to and be retained by it; and the holder of such permit, together with his agents and employees who violated such terms and conditions, shall be jointly and severally liable to the department for all damages and loss suffered by it in excess of money so forfeited and retained; but neither such forfeiture and retention by the department of the whole or any part of such moneys nor the recovery or collection thereby of such damages, or both, shall in any manner relieve such person or persons from liability to punishment for any violation of any provision of any Virginia State Parks Regulation.

Permit applications may be obtained through individual parks, the department website, or through the park central office. Permits may be filed electronically in a manner specified by the department, including, but not limited to, electronic mail or by completing any forms provided online by the department.


4VAC5-30-50. Flowers, plants, minerals, etc.

No person shall remove, destroy, cut down, scar, mutilate, injure, take or gather in any manner any tree, flower, fern, shrub, rock or plant, historical artifact, or mineral in any park unless a special permit has been obtained for scientific collecting. Special permits may be obtained for scientific collecting. To obtain a special permit for scientific collecting in a state park, a Research and Collecting Permit Application must be completed and provided to the department at:

Department of Conservation and Recreation

203 Governor Street, Suite 306

Richmond, Virginia  23219-2010.

To obtain a special permit for scientific collecting in a natural area or natural area preserve, a Research and Collecting Permit Application must be completed and provided to the department at:

Department of Conservation and Recreation

Division of Natural Heritage

217 Governor Street, Third Floor

Richmond, Virginia  23219.


4VAC5-30-70. Disposal of refuse, garbage, etc.

No person shall deposit in any part of the park any garbage, sewerage, refuse, waste, cigarette or cigar butts, vegetables, foodstuffs, boxes, tin cans, plastics, paper, or other litter or other waste material or obnoxious material, except in containers designed for such purposes.


4VAC5-30-90. Disorderly conduct prohibited Lawful orders.

No person shall disobey a lawful order of a Virginia State Park manager, caretaker, ranger, or patrolman; nor commit a nuisance; nor use abusive, profane, or insulting language; nor unreasonably disturb or annoy others; be under the influence of intoxicants, do any act tending to or amounting to a breach of the peace nor conduct himself in any disorderly manner whatsoever conservation officer.


4VAC5-30-100. Gambling. (Repealed.)

Gambling in any park is prohibited and no person shall bring into the park or have in his possession while there, any implement or device commonly used, or intended for gambling purposes.


4VAC5-30-110. Intoxicating liquors or beverages. (Repealed.)

No person shall be or become intoxicated, or under the influence of intoxicants, in public while in the confines of any park. Public display or use of beer, wine, whiskey or other intoxicating liquor or beverage or the containers thereof is prohibited.


4VAC5-30-120. Opening and closing hours.

No person except employees or officers of the department shall be allowed within the park between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. except cabin guests and campers unless participating in special park affiliated sanctioned activities, hunting and fishing.


4VAC5-30-140. Picnic area.

Picnicking in any park is allowed only in the areas designated as picnic areas.


4VAC5-30-150. Camping.

A. Permit. Camping will be conducted only under permit, issued on the basis of a valid application, after payment of fee and at the campsite designated. Application for camping permit shall be made on the prescribed campsite application forms. A permit is obtained by completing a valid Virginia State Parks Camping Permit Form or Honor Camping Application and submitting payment in accordance with all applicable prices and payment policies. A camping permit can only be issued by the park management. Only an individual 18 years of age or older who is a member of and accepts responsibility for the camping party may be issued a camping permit. The act of placing a reservation through the state parks reservation center does not constitute a camping permit.

Camping may only be performed in strict accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit. Any violation of the permit by the permittee or any member of the party shall constitute grounds for permit revocation by the department, or by its authorized representative, whose action shall be final. In case of revocation of any permit, all moneys paid for or on account thereof shall at the option of the department be forfeited and retained by the department.

B. Registration. Registration by an adult, 18 years of age or over, who is a member of and accepts responsibility for, the camping party, is required before setting up camp.

C. B. Occupancy. Occupancy of each campsite shall be limited to not more than six persons or one immediate family, except by special permission from designated park officials. The term immediate family shall mean relatives living at the same common household of residence.

D. C. Number of Camping Units. No camping unit can be used except that which is shown in the campsite application. Camping units, equipment, and vehicles. All camping units, equipment, and vehicles shall be placed within the perimeter of the designated campsite without infringing on adjoining campsites or vegetation. Where high impact areas have been designated, all camping units, equipment, and vehicles shall be placed within the defined borders of the high impact area.

E. D. Camping Periods periods. No Camping camping shall be permitted in excess of 14 consecutive days nights within a 30-day period. The minimum camping period shall be one day. Park managers shall have the authority to increase the number of nights.

Check-in time shall be 4 p.m. Check out Check-out time is 4:00 p.m. 3 p.m. Campers may be permitted to occupy campsites prior to 4 p.m., but no earlier than 8 a.m., if campsites are available. No camping units, vehicles or other Any personal property shall be left or allowed to remain on at the campsite after the duration or termination of the permitted camping period reservation period check-out time shall be removed by park staff at the owner's expense.

F. E. Motor Vehicles vehicles. Only one two motor vehicle vehicles in addition to the camping unit allowed under subsection D above may be C of this section are permitted on a campsite at any time with no additional prices. All other motor vehicles must shall be parked at in the designated parking areas area of each campsite. Any additional vehicles beyond two are subject to daily parking prices and shall be parked at designated overflow parking areas.

G. F. Visitors. All campers, at the time of registration, shall inform the designated park official of the names of any visitors who are expected to arrive at the campsite during the the permitted camping period. No visitor shall be allowed at the campsite unless so identified. All visitors shall register on the visitors register. No visitor shall be allowed before 8:00 a.m. 6 a.m. and all visitors must leave the campground area by 10:00 10 p.m. All visitors shall be charged the appropriate daily parking or admissions prices prior to entering the park.

G. Quiet hours. Quiet hours in the campgrounds shall be from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Generators, amplified music, or other disturbances that can be heard outside the perimeters of the user's campsite are prohibited during the designated quiet hours.

H. Pets. Domestic and household pets are permitted in campgrounds only with payment of all applicable  prices. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and for ensuring their pets do not disturb other campers. Horses and other livestock are not permitted unless facilities are specifically provided for them.


4VAC5-30-160. Cabins.

Cabin reservations are made for a minimum period of one week, and, when space is available, for a maximum period of two weeks. If a vacancy exists at the termination of the rental period, the occupant may extend his stay. Reservations begin on Monday and run until the following Monday. Use of state park cabins shall only be permitted pursuant to established department regulations (4VAC5-36) and policy dealing with reservations, registration, occupancy, prices, length of stay, and rental period.


4VAC5-30-190. Boating.

Boating of any kind in a bathing area is prohibited except such boating as is necessary to keep such areas properly protected and policed.


4VAC5-30-210. Explosives. (Repealed.)

No person shall bring into or have in any park any explosive or explosive substance.


4VAC5-30-220. Fires and lighted cigarettes.

No person shall kindle, build, maintain or use a fire other than in places provided or designated for such purposes except by special permit in any park. Any fire shall be continuously under the care and direction of a competent person over sixteen years of age from the time it is kindled until it is extinguished. No person within the confines of any park shall throw away or discard any lighted match, cigarette, cigar, or other burning object. Any lighted match, cigarette, cigar, or other burning object must be entirely extinguished before being thrown away or discarded.


4VAC5-30-230. Smoking.

No person shall smoke in any structure or place in any park where smoking is prohibited. Smoking may be forbidden by the department or its authorized agent in any part of any park when it is deemed the fire hazard makes such action advisable.


4VAC5-30-240. Hunting.

No person within the confines of any park, shall hunt, pursue, trap, shoot, injure, kill or molest in any way any bird or animal, nor shall any person have any wild bird or animal in his possession within the park, provided, however, that this regulation shall not apply in areas designated for hunting by the Department of Conservation and Recreation department. At such time as the department director deems it in the best interest of the safety and welfare of the public and other persons authorized to be in the area, he shall close the area to hunting and post boundaries to that effect.


4VAC5-30-250. Fishing.

Fishing The taking of fish by hook and line, the taking of bait fish by cast net, and crabbing by line and net is permitted in the designated areas in each park, the only stipulations being that persons fishing taking fish by hook and line must have a state fishing license where required by law and comply with the applicable Department of Game and Inland Fisheries or Marine Resources Commission rules and regulations. This is intended to be a complete list of authorized fishing activities in parks and does not allow other activities requiring fishing licenses such as bow-fishing or the taking of amphibians, which are prohibited.


4VAC5-30-260. Animals at large.

No person shall cause or permit any animal owned by him, in his custody, or under his control, except an animal restrained by a leash not exceeding six feet in length, to enter any park, and each such animal found at large may be seized and disposed of as provided by the law or ordinance covering disposal of stray animals on highways or public property then in effect at the place where such stray animals may be seized. No animal shall be left unattended by its owner in any park at any time, except for animals in designated stables. Animals shall not be allowed in bathing areas under any circumstances, except for service or hearing dogs identifiable in accordance with § 51.5-44 of the Code of Virginia.


4VAC5-30-270. Sports and games; when permitted.

No games or athletic contest shall be allowed in any park except in such places as may be designated therefor.


4VAC5-30-274. Foot path or trail use.

Persons shall only use paths, trails, or other designated areas in any park. No person shall engage in an activity expressly prohibited by a trail safety sign.


4VAC5-30-276. Bicycle path use.

No person shall use a bicycle or similarly propelled devices in any area other than designated bicycle paths in any park. No person shall engage in an activity expressly prohibited by a trail safety sign.


4VAC5-30-280. Horses Bridle path use.

No person shall use, ride, or drive a horse or other animal in any park except to, from, or along a bridle path, to or from a parking area associated with such bridle path, or other designated area. No person shall engage in an activity expressly prohibited by a trail safety sign.


4VAC5-30-300. Parking.

A. No owner or driver shall cause or permit a vehicle to stand anywhere in any park outside of designated parking spaces, except a reasonable time in a drive to receive or discharge passengers.

B. No owner or driver shall cause or permit a vehicle to stand in any space designated for use by the handicapped in any park unless the vehicle displays a license plate or decal issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles of Virginia under authority of § 46.2-731 or § 46.2-739 of the Code of Virginia, or a similar identification issued by similar authority in some other state or The District of Columbia.


4VAC5-30-310. Obstructing traffic.

No person shall cause or permit a vehicle to obstruct traffic by unnecessary stopping in any park.


4VAC5-30-320. Speed limit. (Repealed.)

Rate of speed in excess of twenty-five miles per hour is prohibited.


4VAC5-30-330. Excessive loads.

No person shall operate an excessively loaded vehicle anywhere in any park. The determination of whether a load is excessive will be made by the park manager management and will be based upon the load and the condition of the road.


4VAC5-30-340. Commercial enterprises.

No person shall, in any park, without a permit, sell or offer for sale, hire, lease or let out, any object or merchandise, property, privilege, service or any other thing, or engage in any business or erect any building, booth, tent, stall or any other structure whatsoever for a commercial purpose.

No person to whom property of any park has been entrusted for personal use shall hire, lease, let out, or sell the same to any other person.


4VAC5-30-350. Photographs. (Repealed.)

No person shall, without a permit, take photographs or moving pictures within the limits of any park for the purpose of selling the negatives thereof or the prints therefrom.


4VAC5-30-360. Commercial vehicles.

No person shall operate a bus, taxicab or other commercial vehicle designed or used for the transportation of passengers or property within any park without a permit, except for the arranged pickup or delivery of park users.


4VAC5-30-370. Advertising.

No sign, notice or advertisements of any nature shall be erected or posted at any place within any park, nor shall any musical instrument, radio, talking machine, or drum be operated or any noise be made for the purpose of attracting attention to any exhibition of any kind without written permission from the Department.


4VAC5-30-380. Meetings and exhibitions.

No person shall in any park erect any structure, stand or platform, hold any meeting, or exhibition, perform any ceremony, or make any speech, or address except by permit if it limits or impacts the ability of the general public to utilize the park for the purposes for which is was established, may cause injury or damage to park resources, or impairs the operation of the park facilities or delivery of services.


4VAC5-30-390. Alms and contributions.

No person shall within any park solicit alms or contributions for any purpose, without special permission from the department director.


4VAC5-30-400. Aviation.

No person shall voluntarily bring, land or cause to descend or alight within or upon any park, any airplane, remote control model aircraft, flying machine, balloon, parachute or other apparatus for aviation except under permit. "Voluntarily" in this connection shall mean anything other than a forced landing.


4VAC5-30-410. Importation of firewood.

A. The Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation may prohibit the importation of firewood or certain types of firewood into any park or allow such entry only under specified conditions when such firewood may be infected or infested with a species of concern. Any firewood transported to the park by a person found to be in violation of such prohibition shall be confiscated and destroyed. Should any person charged under this section be found not guilty, the person shall be reimbursed for only the cost of the firewood.

B. When the director makes a written determination to implement subsection A of this section, the following minimum requirements apply:

1. Such determination shall be posted to the department's website and posted at the park where applicable.

2. Firewood to be used by any person within a park must be purchased from the park, must be proven to be from a certified source in accordance with subdivision 3 of this subsection if transported to the park, or may be collected from within the confines of the park in accordance with park policy. The department may allow for the sale or distribution of firewood within the park with prior written agreement that it has been treated in accordance with subdivision 3 of this subsection. Firewood includes all wood, processed or unprocessed, meant for use in a campfire. Such ban shall not include scrap building materials, such as 2x4s; but may extend to wood pallets as determined by the director.

3. Firewood certified to be sold and distributed within the park by a firewood dealer shall be subject to at least one of the following conditions:

a. Exclude all ash tree material from the firewood production area. Dealers will have to demonstrate ability to identify and separate firewood species.

b. Remove bark and outer half inch of sapwood off of all nonconiferous firewood.

c. Kiln dry all nonconiferous firewood to USDA specifications.

d. Heat treat all nonconiferous firewood to USDA specifications.

e. Fumigate all nonconiferous firewood to USDA specifications.

f. Offer conclusive proof demonstrating to the satisfaction of the department that the origin of the wood was from a noninfected area.

g. Offer conclusive proof demonstrating to the satisfaction of the department that the wood containing the infecting or infesting species of concern has been properly treated and the species is controlled by an alternative control mechanism.

The director may eliminate or restrict conditions offered in this subsection as determined to be necessary to properly address the infecting or infesting species of concern to the satisfaction of  the department.


4VAC5-30-420. Release of animals or wildlife on park property.

No person shall release animals or wildlife captured or propagated elsewhere into any park.


4VAC5-30-422. Feeding wildlife prohibited.

No person shall feed wildlife in any park, except for park sponsored programmatic activities.


FORMS (4VAC5-30)

Natural Area Preserve Research and Collecting Permit Application, DCR 199-003 (11/07).

Research and Collecting Permit Application, DCR 199-043 (12/00).

Cabin & Camping Permit (1/10).