ROCKBRIDGE, Va. (AP) — Rockbridge County’s iconic Natural Bridge is Virginia’s 37th state park.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe celebrated the official opening of the Natural Bridge State Park on Saturday.

Natural Bridge supports Lee Highway along U.S. Route 11. The arch was once purchased by Thomas Jefferson and mentioned in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1998.

A subdivision of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will manage the new state park’s more than 1,500 acres.

The land is owned by a nonprofit, the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund. The state will assume ownership of the property when the roughly $9 million loan the nonprofit used to purchase the land is retired.

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