Richard Bliss is a Washington, D.C., attorney who has lived in Great Falls, Virginia, for more than 38 years. He is the founder of NVCT, and has served on its Board since 1994. He is a former Board chairman, is currently chairman of NVCT’s Land Stewardship Committee, and has been active in working with the Trust’s Board and staff on numerous projects since its first days, helping the Trust evolve into a regional land conservation leader.
Bliss went to high school in Arizona when it was still the “Wild West,” gaining an appreciation for wide open spaces, and issues related to natural areas and public lands.
After graduating from the University of Delaware with a BA in political science, he attended George Washington University Law School, graduating in 1967. His first job as a lawyer was in the Division of Mineral Resources in the Solicitor’s Office at the Department of the Interior. After several years he moved to the private sector as assistant general counsel of the American Mining Congress, then to the National Association of Electric Companies (now the Edison Electric Institute) as general counsel. He is a member of the D.C. and Supreme Court Bars.
Bliss opened his own practice in 1979, representing major corporations and trade associations before the U.S. Congress, Executive Branch agencies and the White House. His background gave him expertise in a number of environmentally sensitive areas, including mineral resource production, environmental protection laws and regulations, and nuclear facilities. He also has considerable expertise on national defense and foreign trade issues.
He was appointed to the Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) Board in 1992. His focus became preserving open space for future parks because of Northern Virginia’s rapidly growing population and its proximity to the Nation’s Capital. This led him to found NVCT (initially the Fairfax Land Preservation Trust) with the assistance of the Park Authority, Pat Coady, and David Karmol, in 1994. It became apparent to him early on that the issue of land conservation and its numerous environmental consequences would be best served by a broader regional approach. This led to “morphing” of FLPT into NVCT in 1999. Numerous notable local political and business figures have assisted the Trust and served on its Board along the way.
See Rich’s “founder’s message” for more about NVCT’s beginnings/