- The Washington Times - Monday, May 2, 2016

Would-be buyers across Virginia and the country are keen on acquiring Foamhenge, the life-sized foam replica of Britain’s iconic Stonehenge ruins that has been displayed for more than a decade at Natural Bridge Park, Virginia.

The commonwealth is evicting Foamhenge from its 12-year home in anticipation of Natural Bridge becoming a state park this summer.

The art installation’s creator, Mark Cline of Rockbridge County, Virginia, said he already has received several phone calls and emails from people interested in displaying the huge Styrofoam attraction. He said the artwork is free, but he will ask the new owner to pay transporting the installation.

He has until Aug. 1 to decide where Foamhenge will go.

“I would like to keep it in Virginia somewhere because I’m really pro-Virginia tourism,” Mr. Cline said without a trace of bitterness. “I think it can continue to breathe new life into a community. It’s not really over, it’s just evolving somewhere else.”

Though the purpose of Stonehenge’s great rock formations remains shrouded in mystery, the origin of Foamhenge is well-known: It premiered as an April Fool’s Day stunt in 2004 and has since attracted thousands of sightseers to Rockbridge County and Natural Bridge. It also has been featured in travel magazines and TV shows.

“If someone has it on their property, they have to be prepared to have hundreds of tourists,” Mr. Cline said.

Jim Meisner Jr., a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, said that Foamhenge doesn’t quite fit the mold for a state park attraction.

“The mission of Virginia state parks is to expose people to those natural resources through recreational and educational opportunities,” Mr. Meisner said, explaining the state’s reason for discarding the artwork. “Foamhenge does not align with our mission.”

Mr. Cline said he understands that it is time for Natural Bridge to come under state management, but added that the move is “disappointing.”

“The state doesn’t have an interest in Foamhenge being [at Natural Bridge],” he said. “I’m not entirely sure if they know the strengths of it being there.”

Mr. Cline’s history with Natural Bridge goes as far back as 2001, when the local entrepreneur teamed up with the park to establish Dinosaur Kingdom and Professor Cline’s Haunted Mansion. Both of those attractions burned down in a major fire in 2012.

Mr. Cline already is preparing to open his next great creation in June. Dinosaur Kingdom 2, a fantastical storyland, will sit on the border of the Natural Bridge State Park.

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