Exploring Virginia State Parks

With 38 state parks across the Commonwealth, Virginia has plenty to offer to the outdoor enthusiast. Right now, these parks provide a refuge for safe, social-distance-friendly activities for everyone, from the avid anglers to the weekend campers to the casual trail walkers.


Since the first six state parks were founded in 1936, Virginia has seen a growth in both parks as well as the facilities offered at each. Campgrounds have gone from tent sites to RV sites with water and electrical hookups. Single room unheated cabins now have separate bedrooms and air conditioning. Parks also have expansive trail maps and informative programming for visitors.


Virginia’s state park system continues to respond to the needs of the public with the assistance of the engineering and design community, including Glenn Telfer, P.E., who has worked in at least 20 state parks over the years.


Telfer’s work with Virginia State Parks started in 1996 at First Landing State Park designing the replacement of the sanitary pump station system that served more than 200 campsites.


Since joining Draper Aden in 2007, Telfer has continued his state parks work in 12 locations, including Widewater, High Bridge, and Staunton River State Parks.


Photos of Foster Falls State Park


Of all his projects, his favorite work took place at Powhatan State Park. He was the project manager for the initial development of the park before it was open to the public. Leading the project for Draper Aden, Telfer oversaw all new construction, including three canoe launches, roads, septic and water systems, a campground, and 12 buildings.


“What I enjoy about state park projects is that the projects preserve what is special about the place, but also allows people to access it,” Telfer said.


Working at so many state parks has taken Telfer all over the Old Dominion state.


“Every park is different and special. I hope to reach the point where I get a chance to work on every state park in Virginia.”


Currently, Telfer is completing construction administration services for sanitary sand filter and pump station repairs at Twin Lakes State Park. He designed the original system 20 years ago, and after almost two decades of use, it needs some repairs, but the major components are still operating!


For decades, engineers have played a significant role in Virginia’s state parks. At Draper Aden, we have provided specialty services, including construction materials testing and geotechnical inspections, to support construction at many parks.


Millions of people visit Virginia State Parks annually to learn, explore, and relax. We’re proud of how our work plays into their experience, exemplifying our commitment to leave a lasting, positive impact.


Photos of Powhatan State Park


Read more about our work at Powhatan State Park here.