A 14-acre stand of trees on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg recently escaped destruction when the University agreed not to build an athletic practice facility on that spot.
Now a Virginia Senator wants to make protection of the parcel, known as Stadium Woods, permanent.
Senator John Edwards applauds Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors for voting to save Stadium woods from development – for now. But he’s introduced a bill that would make protection permanent with a conservation easement on the land.
“And that’s basically what this does it says to the university what you did is great we appreciate what you’ve done to preserve stadium woods on a temporary basis but let’s go ahead and make it permanent. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be permanent it’s just that important. So this is not a criticism of the university it just says let’s take what you’ve done and let’s just make it permanent," said Edwards.
But university officials are concerned this could set a bad precedent where land use decisions are governed by special interest politics. Numerous groups, on campus and off have worked to defend the small patch of woods near the athletic fields. They say that even in a state as forested as Virginia, the trees in this tiny plot are precious, not only because they are old but also because the woods are easily accessible to people at the university and the town of Blacksburg.
Students produced a video calling for preservation of Stadium Woods that has reportedly gotten 42,000 hits on You Tube.
A hearing on the bill to preserve Stadium Woods at Virginia Tech is set for next week in the higher education sub committee.