Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mosby & Forbes July 6, 1864

24 Hours of Loudoun County History

On the 5th - 6th of July, 1864, Union and Confederate cavalry forces played a game of “cat and mouse” across Loudoun County and ended in a deadly confrontation at Gilbert’s Corner. The events of this 24-hour period bring in the interconnected histories of Regional Parks, including Temple Hall Farm, Aldie Mill, Ball’s Bluff, the new Regional Park in and around Mt. Zion (Gilbert’s Corner), and White’s Ford, which may be the next park in the Northern Virginia Regional Park system.

From the summer of 1863 to the summer of 1864, the dynamics of the war had changed. In the summer of ’63, Lee’s Army was on the offensive and seen as largely invincible. The Battle of Aldie had occurred that summer, as a result of the Confederate Army moving north towards Gettysburg. Gettysburg changed everything, and Lee’s Army was now in trench warfare outside of Petersburg, with Grant using the superior resources of the Union to crush Lee’s Army.

In an effort to shake up the dynamics of the war and cause the Union to pull troops away from Petersburg, Lee sent General Early on a mission to attack Washington.

So, it was in this setting that Col. John S. Mosby, famous Confederate Ranger, received word to assemble his force and disrupt communications between Washington and Harpers Ferry to assist with Early’s offensive. When Mosby put out the call for troops, he never knew whether he would wind up with fifty soldiers or three hundred and fifty. While he had a small group of regulars, many of those that came to join him were Confederate soldiers on furlough that were in the area. When he assembled his group in Upperville on July 3rd, they were 250 strong and even had one cannon. On the 4th and 5th of July, they attacked the Union base across the river at Point of Rocks. They cut the telegraph wires that ran between Washington and Harpers Ferry, and left with a number of wagons full of Union supplies. The battle at Point of Rocks included a victory by Mosby’s forces over the Loudoun Rangers, a group of Union Cavalry that came largely from the Waterford area.

On the evening of the 5th of July, Mosby ate dinner at Temple Hall Farm, home of Henry Ball. Ball had fought at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff three years earlier at the beginning of the war, and was unboundedly familiar with many in Mosby’s party. Elizabeth White, wife of Confederate Cavalry officer Elijah White, was living with her neighbors at Temple Hall Farm.

One of the interesting events of July 5, 1864 is that at the same time Mosby’s troops were camped in and around Temple Hall, the women of Temple Hall, Elizabeth White, Bettie and Kate Ball and their friend Annie Hempstone, went across the river at White’s Ford and were arrested. These women had been identified crossing the river the previous fall and summer without permission and were suspected of being spies. Major Thompson of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry noted “these ladies are bitterly hostile to the U.S. Government, have near relations in the Rebel Army, and are eminently disposed and capable of doing much injury to the Union Cause.” These friends were taken to Washington and held in the Capital Prison. Annie Hempstone wrote years later that they were actually on a mission to smuggle clothes and boots for some members of Elijah White’s 35th Battalion of the Virginia Cavalry who had family in Maryland. And, that after being released from prison, these women came back into Virginia with the boots and clothes tied up in their hoop skirts.
A Photo of the Women of Temple Hall Farm shortly after they were released from Prison. They are Posing with Col. Elijah White (with sword) and some of his officers.
A few hours after the women were arrested on the Maryland side of White’s Ford, Mosby heard the news that Union Cavalry forces under the command of Major Forbes were nearby in Leesburg.

Forbes’ forces, based out of Falls Church, were on a scouting mission of the Aldie area. After riding up Rt. 50 (known at the time as Little River Turnpike) and finding all quiet in Aldie, they proceeded up Rt. 15 to Leesburg, where they heard the news of Mosby’s raid on Point of Rocks, but did not know where his forces were.

John S. Mosby

Mosby moved his group to the Waterford area for the night and laid his plans to engage Forbes the next day. Knowing that Forbes was likely to retrace his steps and go back to Aldie before turning east to head towards their base, Mosby headed out in the morning of the 6th to get ahead of Forbes and ambush him along Rt. 50. From Leesburg, Mosby took the Carolina Road following the path of modern day Evergreen Mill Road. On the south side of Goose Creek, he took a route that brought him to Rt. 50, near what is Lenah Farm Road today.

Forbes’ group stopped at the field across the road from Mt. Zion Church (the property recently acquired by the Regional Park Authority) for several hours to make dinner. Growing impatient for the Union Cavalry to move towards his trap, Mosby’s force moved west to find Forbes.

The two forces were roughly equally matched with about 150 mounted cavalry each. As the Union forces saw the approaching Confederates, Forbes lined most of his group up on the south side of the road, with his advance guard on the north side. The first shot was fired by the one cannon Mosby had, which was in the middle of the road. The Union forces returned fire with rifles. Then the Confederates gave a yell and charged.
William H. Forbes
The fighting lasted about an hour, and in the course of the hand-to-hand combat that ensued, Mosby and Forbes fought each other with Forbes cutting through Mosby’s clothes with his sword. In the end, Forbes’ horse was shot by Mosby and pinned his leg, causing him to be captured. The Union line broke and fell into a disorganized retreat, with some of the Union Cavalry being chased for miles.

Three days later, General Early and his 15,000 Confederates attacked the City of Washington at Silver Spring, Maryland, and a nervous President Lincoln witnessed the fighting. As a result of the attack on Washington and, to a lesser degree, the skirmish at Gilbert’s Corner, General Grant ordered additional troops posted around Washington to help secure the Capital, pulling forces away from the front lines. The events of July 5th and 6th, 1864 in Loudoun County did not change the course of history, but do illustrate the important role our area played in the Civil War. The addition of public parkland at Gilbert’s Corner, where this skirmish took place, and the efforts to gain approval for new parkland at White’s Ford, will help round out the system of historic parks in Loudoun owned by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, that preserve today the important places and events of the Civil War in Loudoun County and help to make this area a center for historical tourism.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Addressing the Causes of Global Climate Change

With the climate summit in Copenhagen winding down, it is a good time to reflect on the environment. As disappointing as it is that no agreement was reached on reducing greenhouse gases, it is important to remember that agreements and targets alone do very little to get results. The real focus needs to be on actions. With carbon reduction, we need to change the way we have been lived and approached many issues for the last 100+ years. Since the dawn of the industrial age we have focused on burning fossil fuels to run our economy. We are now in a transition time where we are trying to both consume less fossil fuel and shift to more sustainable alternatives.

Some of the steps the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has taken include the following:

  • Since 2005 we have been tracking all of our energy consumption and working to conserve where ever possible.

  • We have an annual award that goes to the park that has had the largest percentage reduction in energy consumptions (carbon emissions). And every park has a site specific energy conservation plan.

  • NVRPA was the first park agency to sign on to the Cool Cities/Cool Counties initiative. These programs follow the guidelines of Kyoto Protocol, with no increase in carbon emissions past 2010, and a 2% reduction for every year from 2010 – 2050.

  • For years Bull Run Regional Park was the site of the largest holiday light show in the region. In 2006 NVRPA invested to create the largest all LED light show. This show uses just 10% of the energy of the old show and is hugely popular.

  • We have put electric utility vehicles at 5 of our parks. These vehicles have replaced gas vehicles.

  • NVRPA has an energy conservation policy that encourages us to look at the life cycle cost of any energy consuming equipment. This has led to the use of high efficiency pumps, heating systems and other equipment that has been replaced over the last few years.

The public looks to parks for environmental information and education. We want to lead by example and be early implementers of some of the new technology that will help us transition to a more sustainable model. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is either using or in the process of implementing the following technologies:

  • Photovoltaic Solar Energy Generation

  • Geothermal Heat Pumps

  • Electric Vehicles

  • Hybrid Vehicles

  • LEED Certified Buildings

  • Solar Hot Water Heaters

  • Recycling rain water to flush toilets

    As managers of over 10,000 acres of forests and other natural areas we are seeing the affects of global warming on our natural environment and we want to be on the leading edge of addressing the causes of global climate change.

No Child Left Inside

Richard Louv's best selling book Last Child in the Woods brought national attention to "nature deficit disorder." In brief children are spending less time outdoors, and particularly less time in unstructured interaction with nature.

At the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority we have been working to engage children with nature through the following actions:

  • NVRPA was one of the first park agencies to sign onto No Child Left Inside a coalition that is working to advocate for outdoor/environmental education.

  • In 2009 we initiated a program that would allow area youth to volunteer some of their time and effort in our parks in exchange for access to park facilities that have fees associated with them. This program was to reduce potential barriers that some youth might have to using facilities like waterparks, and hopefully provided some insight into the fields of park management and maintenance.

  • In 2009 we renovated the Nature Center at Potomac Overlook to enhance its appeal. It is now the only nature center we know of that is focused on energy, where it comes from, how it is used by people and the natural world, and what are the impacts of its use.

  • For the last several years we have had a roving naturalist program during our peak months. This program brings nature education to thousands, whether that is a waterpark, campground, or special event. In terms of reaching the largest numbers of public with environmental education this is our most effective program.

  • With the generous donation from a long-time park supporter, we are embarking on building a children’s garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens that will initially focus on Native American and early colonial settlers, mixing fun, imagination and historical and environmental education.

In the end the issue of children spending less time outdoors is less a child issue and more of a parent issue. As parents we need to look for opportunities to get our children outdoor and engaged with nature. If parents would make a new years resolution to take their child for a walk (hike) in the woods this year it would be a great start. Walking along surrounded by nature is a great time to bond and have the kind of conversation about school and life in general that it is hard to have during the hussel and bussel of daily life.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

155 acres Battlefield Preserved

Fairfax, VA (December 9, 2009) – The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) is pleased to announce the addition of 155 acres of new parkland. This land is made up of two adjacent parcels along Route 50 near its intersection with Route 15 in Loudoun County.

Eighty-eight acres of the land is property directly across Route 50 from Mt. Zion Historic Church. This property was owned by the Mt. Zion Church Preservation Association, and financed by the Virginia Resources Authority.

“At the urging of Supervisor Jim Burton and Delegate Joe May, we purchased this property so it could become public parkland,” remarked Su Webb, NVRPA Chairman. The second property is 67 acres that was purchased this year by Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) and is being leased by NVRPA to make a combined parkland area of 155 acres.This new area of parkland is rich with Civil War significance and is part of the study area for the Battle of Aldie which took place on June 17, 1863. It is an area that saw a lot of troop movements during this period.

The most heated action in this area happened nearly a year later on July 6, 1864 when a cavalry skirmish took place next to Mt. Zion Historic Church between the forces of Col. John S. Mosby, Confederate Rangers and Union forces (13th New York Calvary) under the command of Major William H. Forbes. Both sides had nearly 150 mounted soldiers.

The Union forces were on their way from Leesburg back to their base in Falls Church. They were unaware that Confederate forces had heard about them in Leesburg and were looking for an opportunity to engage them. The Union forces had stopped in this area to take a break when Mosby’s forces attacked.

During the course of the one hour battle, Mosby and Forbes came into direct contact. Forbes tried to strike down Mosby with his sword, but the blow was blocked by Thomas Richards, one of Mosby’s Rangers. Mosby shot Forbes’ horse from under him and in the end Forbes was one of the 57 Union prisoners captured that day by Confederate forces. Thirteen Union soldiers were killed and thirty-seven wounded in this battle, while the Confederate forces had one killed and five wounded.

This new parkland is also significant as the home site of Alexander G. Davis, a farmer originally from Connecticut who lived on this property during the Civil War. On October 18, 1861 he was attacked and beaten because he was a northerner. He was considered too old for active military service, but after this attack he served as a civilian scout for the Union throughout the war. At one point in the war Davis organized and led an unsuccessful attempt to catch Mosby with a wagon train that appeared to be unprotected.

In addition its Civil War history significance, the new parkland includes part of the Carolina Road which was an active route between Frederick, Maryland and the Virginia/North Carolina border. It was originally a Native American trail used by the Algonquin and Iroquois Indians and a popular north/south route during the 18th & 19th Century. It roughly follows the course that Route 15 is today.

In September 2009, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors took action to transfer the Mt. Zion Historic Church property to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The Church property as well as the new 155 acres of parkland will be managed out of Aldie Mill Historic Park, also owned and operated by NVRPA.

“This deal to expand parkland in the Gilbert’s Corner area included a lot of partners and stakeholders. We worked closely with the Commonwealth of Virginia, Loudoun County, PEC, and the Mt. Zion Church Preservation Association,” commented Su Webb, NVRPA Chairman.
“The primary goal of this new parkland is to preserve the historic and scenic values of the area. With this general goal in mind, we will be working with community groups and stakeholders like Journey Through Hallowed Ground, PEC and others to help create a vision and plan for the area,” continued Ms. Webb.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A great day for History

Sharon Bulova, Chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Addresses a crowd at the dedication of historic exhibits on the W&OD Trail
From tales of the role of the W&OD Railroad during the Civil was to tales of General Braddock and the his launching the French & Indian War from the dinning room of the Carlyle House, Yesterday was a big day for history at regional parks.

First, over 100 people showed up for the dedication of six historical displays along the W&OD trail. The turnout included half the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors including: Chairman Sharon Bulova, Cathy Hudgins, Linda Smyth, Michael Fry and John Foust. Congressman Gerry Connolly and Delegate Ken Plum were also on hand to mark this special event.

The Hunter Mill Defense League did most of the research on the historical markers, funded some of the signs and organized the event. The Friends of the W&OD and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority also payed for some of the exhibits. These displays focused on the role of the rail and the Hunter Mill Road area during the Civil War.

In 2007 the National Recreational Trails Association gave an award to NVRPA for the many (nearly 60) historical markers along the W&OD Trail. The new signs help tell new stories that will add to the experience of the over 2 million trail users every year.

From the Civil War, we stepped back in time over 100 years to the French & Indian War (1750's) and a book signing by author Thomas Crocker of his new book "Braddock's March" that gives considerable focus to the campaign preparation that took place at the Carlyle House Historic Park in Alexandria. Riding next to General Braddock, an arrogant British General, was a young George Washington, Col. in the Virginia Militia. Crocker makes the point that the seeds of the American Revolution were planted during this under-studies campaign.

Northern Virginia is an area that is steeped in our Country's early history, and a central focus of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is to both conserve our regions most significant natural areas as well as to preserve many of the most valuable historical resource of our area.

One of the goals of NVRPAs Strategic Plan is to make every park into a center of learning about our natural or historic resources, a goal that was advance during yesterday's events.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Take a hike and call me in the morning

This week the Health Section of the Washington Post had a great story about the health benefits of not just exercise, but being outdoors in natural surroundings (article is below). This makes so much sense, it is surprising more of the medical profession has not made this connections earlier.

Working out with weights or exercise equipment is great for your muscles but does only a little to bring peace of mind, relieve stress and ground you. If you can go for a hike in the woods, a bike ride along a wood lined trail, or a paddle on a scenic body of water, the result is both exercise and a relaxing and grounding connection with nature.

In addition to the story below, the Post had a side bar on some of the great trails in our area including the W&OD, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and others. Link to this section is below:

A trail they did not mention that is one of the very best for a nature hike is the Bull Run/Occoquan Trail that runs 18 miles along the southern boarder of Fairfax County along the Bull Run and Occoquan Rivers. More information on this trail can be found at: http://www.nvrpa.org/parks/fountainhead/?pg=trails.html

Take a hike and call me in the morning

By Daphne Miller

Special to The Washington Post Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"I have a StairMaster right in my own basement, but honestly it's been there for years gathering dust and making me feel guilty," said Miriam, one of my patients. "It wasn't until I started walking the three-mile trail in the park near my house that I got serious about exercising. I do it now rain or shine. I love the fresh air. The best part is that I get a great workout and don't even mind sweating."

At this point, I have heard enough variations on Miriam's story that I have started to make formal "park prescriptions." The prescribing instructions are considerably more detailed than ones you might get with a medication; they include the location of a local green space, the name of a specific trail and, when possible, exact mileage.

It turns out I am not alone. I've begun hearing about doctors around the country who are medicating their patients with nature in order to prevent (or treat) health problems ranging from heart disease to attention deficit disorder.

Eleanor Kennedy, a cardiologist in Little Rock, helped create a downtown "Medical Mile" with the support of local funders and the National Park Service's Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program. "If my patients feel that they can get outdoors, they are more likely to be consistent about exercise," she told me. "Whether you are waddling, walking or running, going out and exercising will help build your confidence, flexibility and adaptability." And it will also be good for your heart -- a particular benefit in Arkansas, where rates of heart disease and stroke, as well as obesity and diabetes, are among the highest in the country.

Other physicians, from New Hampshire to Texas, are sending their patients out to wade through streams and walk on beaches and trails. Earlier this year the city of Santa Fe, N.M., launched a Prescription Trails program to target the high rates of diabetes in the community. The program, partially funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes a trail guide that physicians can hand to their patients.

"Of course, this is not the only answer to the obesity epidemic," said Michael Suk, an orthopedic surgeon and former health adviser to the NPS, "but it sure is a good start. All these insurance companies focus on prevention, but no one thinks of the free public land resources that we have at our disposal."

Richard Louv, author of the best-selling book "The Last Child in the Woods" and coiner of the term "nature deficit disorder," is all for these prescribing patterns. "I think that physicians can do more [to get people out into nature] than any other professional," he said. Louv's book and Web site (http://www.childrenandnature.org/) cite dozens of studies documenting the positive impact that wilderness outings can have on mental and physical health. The fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics has invited Louv to deliver the keynote address at its 2010 annual meeting indicates that the larger medical community is starting to recognize the therapeutic value of time spent in the woods.

Fortunately, the custodians of nature are also on board. Howard Levitt, chief of interpretation and education at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, an NPS site in California, loves the idea of park prescriptions. In the near future, he and his colleagues hope to create a prescription "tool kit" for doctors, possibly in partnership with a large health organization such as Kaiser Permanente. "I see this as a mutually beneficial arrangement," Levitt said. "We know what parks exist to do and . . . doctors want to care for their patients."

Rick Potts, the Park Service's chief of conservation and outdoor programs, echoed Levitt's enthusiasm: "Science is validating what moms have known for generations: Being outside is good for your health.

"I've never known a ranch kid on Ritalin," added Potts, who comes from rural Montana.
He expects support from the newly confirmed NPS director, Jonathan Jarvis. "We all see that the role of national parks in the 21st century is evolving. They are becoming more critical to our well-being as a society." As Potts continued talking, using such terms as "affordable prevention services" and "increasing access," he sounded more like a government official discussing health reform than one explaining park systems.

In fact, it's not too much of a stretch to think of our national park system as an integral part of our health care system; the NPS is already offering wellness services that are free and accessible to all, regardless of preexisting conditions. And according to Suk, the NPS wants to to expand that access by supporting public open space developments such as Little Rock's Medical Mile in communities around the country.

So don't be surprised if, at your next visit to the doctor, you are handed a trail map and itinerary along with your lab slip. In fact, if you are not offered one, you should demand it.
And once you set foot on the trail, how hard should you exercise? I like what Dr. Kennedy tells her patients: "Hard enough that you can still talk in sentences but not in paragraphs."

Miller is a family physician and an associate clinical professor at the University of California at San Francisco.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Korean Bell Garden @ Meadowlark

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has an MOU with the Korean American Cultural Committee(KACC) (a non-profit group out of the Annandale area) to build a bell garden at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna.

KACC has been working for several years to raise the funds necessary to build the bell pavilion and gardens that will be built on a hillside overlooking the main lake at Meadowlark. It is a very exciting project with the bell and pavilion being designed by Professor David Chung from the University of Michigan.

Recently I had the opportunity to go to Korea with several others that are working on this project. Our trip was funded by the Korea Foundation and included tours of many historic palaces, gardens and museums, in addition to meetings with numerous branches of the federal government in Seoul as well as officials from GyeonGi Province, which is a sister state to Virginia.

The trip was truly fantastic, and from it we all gained a much deeper appreciation for traditional Korean gardens and architecture.

These enormous cast iron bells have been made in essentially the same way since around 770 AD. I particularly like the rugged and natural look of Korean gardens.

2010 and 2011 are going to be the big years for developing this garden. Next June we will hold a ground breaking ceremony to correspond to the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

More information on this project can be seen at: http://kacc.us/

The partnership with KACC and its Chair, Ms Jeung Hwa Elmejjad-Yi has been fantastic. Our trip to Korea resulted in strong pledges of support from the Korean Government and others. That combined with the good local fundraising efforts of KACC are going to make this project not just a success, but a significant tourist attraction and symbol of the partnership between Korea and America and of the great contributions that Korean/Americans continue to make to our society. Virginia has around 45,000 people of Korean decent and nearly 35,000 of those live in Fairfax County, making Meadowlark Gardens an idea location of this bell garden.

Images of the trip can be seen on the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42732056@N02/sets/72157622563883469/

Friday, October 02, 2009

America's Greatest Idea

With the Ken Burns documentary on the National Park System running this week on PBS, it is a great time to reflect on parks. One point that comes through is the politics of parks, that these are common lands owned by and open to all people to enjoy.

Historically wealth meant land ownership. To provide large areas of land that is owned by the people and for the people is one way we demonstrate our democratic values.

Our National Park System is truely a national treasure.

Recently at the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority we have been in the process of acquireing several sites with significant Civil War history. One is the site of the opening shots of the Battle of Aldie near Gilbert's Corner, across Rt 50 from this site is Mt. Zion Historic Church (pictured above) that served as a hospital after the battle. Another is White's Ford property on the Potomac where Confederate forces crossed the river on their way to Antiedam. These are important places in American history, and important to our common heritage as Americans.

Not just National Parks, but parks in general, the common lands we all share, is the great idea. It comes from Medieval Europe where some land was set aside as "the commons" to be used by anybody to graze animals. Teddy Rosevelt took this ancient idea of open land that we all have a claim to and used it to create the National Park System. City parks had existed before that.

At their core, parks serve much the same purpose today that they did 100 years ago, a place where people can go to relax, explore, and play.

This summer that has just ended saw great use of parks. Our family campgrounds at Pohick Bay and Bull Run witnessed their best and busiest years in decades. Boat rental were up, picnic pavilions were booked, waterparks saw record turnouts, and our trails were heavily used.

When people spend time in parks, they value parks. You can not gain a deep connection with nature or history if you do not experience these things first hand, and parks is where this happens.

National Park, State Parks, Regional Parks and Local Parks, they are all part of the "greatest idea" and part of what makes America great!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fashions change with the times at Carlyle House

Sunday September 20th, the public had an opportunity to learn about the changing fashions from the 1750's to around 1800 at the Carlyle House Historic Park in Alexandria. This was a period of tremendous social and political change and fashions reflected the pace of rapid change.

A more complete collection of images from this show can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42732056@N02/sets/72157622425057628/

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hemlock Overlook Swings Back into Operations

Sharon Bulova, Chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Public/private partnerships are often praised as a model for better government. Last Thursday, elected officials, teachers, parents, children and neighbors gathered at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Clifton Virginia to celebrate a new public/private partnership with great promise. The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) and Adventure Links kicked off a new operating agreement for Hemlock Overlook Regional Park with a celebration that included Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova and Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity, flying through the canopy of the forest, on the parallel zip lines.

“The Regional Park Authority has moved at record speed to find a new operator for Hemlock Overlook after George Mason University announced that they would end their long operations here. We received the word from GMU on December 31st that they would cease operations by June 30th. NVRPA worked rapidly to put out a request for proposals, evaluate proposals from ten organizations and select Adventure Links as the right organization to run the programs at Hemlock Overlook. Adventure Links has over ten years experience in providing environmental education, team building and confidence building to children and adults. They are the perfect partner to take Helmock Overlook to the next level,” stated Su Webb, Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.

“Hemlock is just beautiful and offers a great backdrop for environmental learning. We are very excited to be operating Hemlock in cooperation with NVRPA and we look forward to a great partnership,” said Anna Birch, Adventure Links’ President.

Birch, members of the Adventure Links staff, as well as Bulova and Herrity offered their words in the shade of the forest, each noting the importance of the facility to the area. Sharon Bulova talked about the role of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority in conserving natural resources, and how conservation needs to be done from a regional perspective. NVRPA was founded 50 years ago with a mission to conserve the region’s most important natural and historic resources. Today NVRPA owns over 25 miles of contiguous parkland along the Bull Run and Occoquan Rivers, and over 13 miles of shoreline along the Potomac River. Hemlock Overlook is one of a string of parks that NVRPA owns on the Bull Run along the southern border of Fairfax County.

Supervisor Pat Herrity referring, to the famous zip line at Hemlock Overlook said, This is always something I’ve wanted to do. As a chaperone many years ago, I watched the kids zip down this line. But as a chaperone, we were never able to go. I’m going to change that today.” Then, in the moment of the event, Sharon Bulova and Pat Herrity went down the zip line together, to the applause of everyone there.

Pat Herrity, Springfield District Supervisor

The fun spectacle was a great way to open the new partnership to the public.
Hemlock Overlook has been a mainstay for students in area schools for years and a right of passage for 5th and 6th graders for decades.

“We knew we needed to find a new, dynamic partner,” said NVRPA Executive Director Paul Gilbert. “Anyone who visits Hemlock Overlook knows what a special place it is. We are thrilled to have found an organization with the energy and vision of Adventure Links. Adventure Links is offering field trips for area schools that incorporate Standards of Learning (SOLs) into a day of fun, adventure, and teambuilding.” Adventure Links is also offering teambuilding events for adult groups (companies and organizations) as well as summer camps and other programs for children.

“We are looking forward to a great year and are excited to have Adventure Links as a partner to bring new ideas and fresh, creative programming to Hemlock,” Gilbert added.

For more information or to schedule a program at Hemlock Overlook, visit http://www.hemlockoverlook.org/ or http://www.adventurelinks.net/

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Green Greens

At Pohick Bay Golf Course we had reduce fertilizer use on the fairways to just 10% of the normally recommended levels. The key to this has been getting the soil chemistry just right. The soils are tested twice a year and kept in balance. According to Tony Blevins "we feed it only what it needs." Some of the side affects on using so little fertilizers is less fungus that would need to be treated and less demands on mowing. And because the soils are healthy the grass is very green, and the course looks and plays better than ever.

This year we also put in a new irrigation system at Pohick Bay that controls where and when the water goes much more precisely and as a result water and energy consumption is down significantly.
These are all parts of being an Certified Wildlife Sanctuary by Audubon International. All three of the courses owned by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority: Algonkian, Brambleton, and Pohick Bay are certified. These were the first publicly owned golf courses in the Mid-Atlantic region to achieve this status. It was a great deal of work to get these courses certified by Audubon International but it was the right thing to do. As a natural resource conservation organization we need to be in the business of demonstrating best management practices in all of our land management.

Audubon International

Another great example of the changes we have made over the last few years has been the Bermuda grass fairways we put in at Algonkian Golf Course. Because of the qualities of this grass we have virtually eliminated the use of fungicides at that course. Since all of our courses are on or near major waterways it is very important to use as little chemicals as possible to protect our water quality.

Next time you want to hit the greens, choose on of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority courses and know that your green is actually green.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Environment, Exercise, Fun = Bike to Work

Whether it is a better world or a better you that you are looking for. Riding a bicycle to work some of the time may be just what the doctor ordered.

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation to the Green Breakfast Group in Fairfax County about simple ways to reduce your personal carbon footprint, or the air pollution resulting from our lifestyles. I was building on the efforts that the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has been working on for several years to reduce the carbon footprint of our agency.

Coming from a park agency with over 100 miles of trails, including the famous W&OD Trail that offers a paved rails-to-tails path for 45 miles from the most urban areas of Arlington County to the still rural western areas of the trail, I had to put a plug in for biking as an alternative to some of the trips you would normally take in a car. The W&OD while built for recreation, is increasingly being used as a commuting route for those that are finding the joys of biking to work.

A great article about the W&OD Trail just ran this week in the Leesburg Times:

For the last year I have set a goal of biking to work at least one day a week, so long as the weather is not too extreme. My commute, about 7 miles each way does not include the W&OD trail, but I have found a good route that I think is safe.

In addition to reducing your impact on the environment, cycling is very good for you. Every hour you cycle you are burning around 300 calories, and when you build your muscle mass (become more tone) you increase your metabolic rate so you burn more calories even at rest. How great is that!

And in addition to benefiting the environment and your health, biking is just fun, and a good way to relieve stress.

In terms of gear for commuting on your bike, there are many different approaches. My approach was to take the bike I already had (a mountain bike) and make a few modification to improve its performance as a commuter bike. Here are some of the things I did:

  • Took the bike to a shop for a good tune up.

  • Replaced the knobby tires with smooth tire that have less rolling resistance on the pavement.

  • Added a rear-view mirror on my handlebars so I can see the traffic coming up from behind me.

  • Added a flashing light on the seat post so cars will see me better.

  • Added clip peddles and shoes to improve the efficiency of peddling. This has a remarkable affect improving you peddle power by 10-30%.

  • Added a rack on the back to hold items that you need to carry.

Every spring there is national bike to work day. I would suggest that if you think you have a safe route to take to bike to work, or any other destination of your choice, that you pump up the tires, put on your helmet, and make it happen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

National Capital Regional Land Conservation Act

There is an exciting bill in Congress that would create a funding source to help acquire more parkland in the greater Washington Metropolitan Area. Bill Dickinson (photo above), who is a Board Member and past Chairman of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority came up with the idea for this legislation when he was researching some of the funding sources that help create parks in this are in the first half of the 20th Century.

Below is some additional information written by Bill Dickinson on this bill.

National Capital Region Land Conservation Actamendment to the
Capper Cramton Act of 1930 (Chapter 354; 46 Stat.482)
HR 2986 (Sponsor - Moran with Norton, Wolf, Wittman, Connolly, Hoyer, Van Hollen, and Edwards as co-sponsors – introduced June 19, 2009 – referred to the House Committee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands )
S 1525 (Sponsor - Cardin with Mikulski, Webb and Warner as co-sponsors – introduced July 28, 2009 – referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resouces)

“The increasing tempo of urbanization and growth is already depriving many Americans of the right to live in decent surroundings. More of our people are crowded into cities and cut off from nature. Cities themselves reach out into the countryside, destroying streams and meadows as they go…people move out from the city to get closer to nature only to find that nature has moved farther from them ….The Potomac River, rich in history and memory should serve as a model of scenic and recreational values for the entire nation” - President LB Johnson – Message to Congress – 2/8/1965


Encourage multi-State and multi government long range cooperative regional planning identifying particular lands in the National Capital Region (“NCR” as defined by the US Census Bureau) to be conserved for a variety of enumerated environmental, cultural, historic and recreational purposes.
Stimulate open space land conservation acquisition and leverage funding by State, regional, and local governments through a Federal cost share grant program designed for the unique requirements of the NCR. Encourage donations, bargain sales, etc. for land conservation purposes.
Revive the partnership between Federal, State, regional and local park, land conservation, planning, environmental agencies and stakeholder groups to focus on land conservation and green open space needs in the region. This process, established under the Capper Cramton Act of 1930 and led by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) for almost four decades, was disrupted in 1966 when the National Capital Planning Council was abolished by executive order. NCPC’s responsibilities to represent the Federal interests in the region’s planning and development remain. The existing elements of the Capper Cramton Act – last amended in 1958- would be unaltered by the NCRLCA.


The National Capital Region (NCR) includes the District of Columbia, Calvert, Montgomery, Prince Georges, St. Mary’s, Charles, and Frederick Counties, MD, Jefferson County in WVA, Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Clarke, Warren, Stafford, Fauquier, and Spotsylvania Counties, VA and all the cities contained within those geographic areas. It also includes the City of Alexandria.
NCR will expand as the Bureau of the Census periodically redefines the Washington DC statistical metropolitan area.
Virtually the entire region is within the Potomac River watershed, an area of national concern given the national status of the Potomac River and the fact that it is one of the primary pollution sources flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.


Increasing public demand for natural area land conservation, green infrastructure and outdoor recreation given the NCR population which is now about 5.3M and expected to grow an additional 3 M by 2030.
The urban planners of the late 19th and early 20th century understood that protecting green open space is most efficiently accomplished by aggressive forward looking regional planning and setting aside by zoning, easement or acquisition environmentally important lands that should be conserved. Between 1990 and now, the regions population grew by 10% and the level of impervious surface grew by 40%.
The outlying counties such as Stafford, Calvert or Jefferson, where much new growth is being experienced, are woefully underserved with publicly protected and accessible green space.
· Opportunities for land conservation acquisition in the NCR region remain including property along the Potomac River and its tributaries, mountain ridgelines, farmlands on which conservation easements agreements are near to expiration, brownfields and old industrial properties.


Authorization of appropriations of up to $50M/year for 5 years from date of enactment for up to 50-50 cost share with State, regional and local land conservation agencies for purposes enumerated in the act.
Funding request would be desired via a line item request in the President’s annual budget for USDI.
In 1930, the Capper Cramton Act authorized $9 M for land acquisition in MD and VA and $16M in DC. The 1958 amendment increased the authorization primarily for the George Washington Parkway extension.
The NCRLCA funding is not anticipated to be offset from Land and Water Conservation Act appropriations given those funds are allocated to the States under a defined formula, awarded to eligible applicants by the States to localities based on the State’s Outdoor Plan priorities and can provide for park facility improvements. NCRLCA would be only for land acquisition.
· A portion of appropriated funds may be used for to covered States, local governments and nonprofit organizations for planning and evaluating acquisition proposals.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Jim Mayer Leaves a Legacy of Good Will and Contribution

I am sad to note that James I. Mayer passed away today. Jim served on the Regional Park Authority Board from 2001 – 2009 and was the Chairman from December 2007 – February 2009. Jim was a person of high intelligence and integrity, but he is perhaps best known for being good natured. His friendly demeanor and ever present humor had a positive effect on everyone around him.

Jim loved the parks. He was proud of having played all the mini-golf courses in the regional park system. He was particularly attached to Potomac Overlook and the W&OD Trail. As Chairman he helped plan the extensive renovation made at the Potomac Overlook Nature Center that have transformed it into a center for energy education. During his tenure as Chairman, NVRPA saw expanded use of our parks, bold steps to acquire new lands, as well as good financial management. NVRPA won the highest awards for both the budget and audit from the Government Financial Officers Association during this period.

Jim had a career in the Air Force and Federal civil service, was Chairman of Arlington’s Industrial Development Authority, Secretary of the Arlington United Way Board, Chair of the Arlington Committee of 100, and a Board Member of the Dominion Brewing Company.

Jim lived a life of contribution to his community, and we are all enriched by those gifts.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tremendous Growth in Camping

Is it the “Staycation” phenomenon driven by the recession, or is it a desire to reconnect with nature? Either way, local residents are turning to camping in record numbers. In just the last year, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has seen a jump in camping of 10 percent increase over last summer, and an astonishing 75 percent increase since 2004.

“Part of the recent interest in camping is likely driven by the economy and camping being a low cost form of vacation. However, since it has been on an upward trend over the last five years I have to think part of it is a desire to spend more time outside,” said Paul Gilbert, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. “Richard Louv made the idea of ‘nature deficit disorder’ popular in his best selling book ‘Last Child in the Woods.’ This growth in camping may be partially driven by a desire of families to spend more time exploring the outdoors,” Gilbert continued.

For Pohick Bay in Lorton and Bull Run in Centreville - the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s two family camp grounds – it has proven to be one busy summer.

“We haven’t seen this kind of traffic in decades,” said Todd Benson, Park Manager at Pohick Bay. “Typically, you might see crowds of this size on a holiday weekend, or if it should coincide with some kind of local event. This summer, you’re talking about your average weekend from Thursday to Sunday.”

Tom Doyle, Vice President of Information and Research at the National Sporting Good Association, says the increase in visitation is no fluke. “In our last national survey, we found that camping has dramatically increased, from 46 million campers (nationally) in 2005 to 49.4 million last summer.”

Those figures show no sign of slowing either. Camping, hiking, kayaking – all three areas remain on the rise according to Doyle. Meanwhile, tent sales nationally have been trending up the last few years.

“I fully expect the increase in camping to continue,” Doyle said. “People are foregoing expensive travel.”

That increase in the park’s regular weekend population has caused a swell in other areas as well. Pohick Bay’s boat rentals – especially kayaks - have boomed as eager campers take to the waters for fishing and a glimpse of nature.

Meanwhile, while many prefer to enjoy the great outdoors the old-fashioned way, recent surveys have also shown that vacation cabin rentals at Pohick Bay and Bull Run have increased dramatically, increasing 23 percent in a one year period.

“I think for lots of folks the cabins are a great compromise,” Benson added. “You can spend your day in the park, boating, fishing, hiking or swimming at the waterpark, then bunk for the night in a weather-controlled, temperature-controlled cabin. For many, it’s the best of both worlds.”

In addition to the social and economic factors driving more people to camp, the facilities at both Bull Run and Pohick Bay Regional Parks have seen significant improvements over the last few years including: updated restrooms, new playgrounds in the campgrounds, renovated waterparks, improved trails, additional power and sewer connections available at some camp sites, and new cabins. All of these new amenities make for a great camping experience.
As for the latter, Pirate’s Cove Waterpark at Pohick Bay and Atlantis Waterpark at Bull Run were both renovated, in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Both provide just one more great amenity for overnight park visitors, a great way to spend the day cooling off and enjoying the sun with family and friends.

“Honestly, I think our campgrounds are the complete package,” Gilbert added. “There’s something for everyone, and you don’t even need to leave the park.”

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Connect with Nature on Pohick Bay Marsh

Rent a canoe or kayak or launch your own at Pohick Bay Regional Park and in just 10 minutes of paddling you can be in the Pohick Bay Marsh. This is one of the best places in Northern Virginia to reconnect with nature.

I paddled it today and saw 17 White Herons perched in a couple of dead trees at the edge of the water. I had two large Great Blue Herons swoop out in front of my kayak as I paddle near the shore. Red Winged Black Birds, dragon flies and butterflies darted over the surface of the water and hydrilla. I saw a Bald Eagle soring overhead, and an Osprey catching fish for lunch.

With the water only a few feet deep in the marsh and very little effect of tide and current, this is a wonderful place to go paddling with the whole family. The distance is not far from you launch site and no real technical ability is necessary. Pohick Bay has a great inventory of rental boats, so you do not need any gear other than sunscreen, hat and water bottle. And if you have your own boat Pohick Bay offers a great launch area.

If you would like to reconnect with nature an hour on the bay will give you a great experience.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Bull Run Occoquan Trail and the Civil War

I recently hike sections of the Bull Run Occoquan Trail in search of history. In addition to being designated as a National Recreational Trail, this 18 mile path is also the site of many Civil War actions.

The Bull Run served as as a defensive line for both the North and South during the Civil War. The second battle of the war was fought while crossing the river at Blackburns Ford (the site of the current day Rt. 28 bridge). All along the high bluffs overlooking the river, earthen forts and defensive positions were created.
If you want to interact with nature, get some exercise and learn about history the Bull Run/Occoquan Trail (aka the Blue Trail) is for you. I encourage you to get out and do some exploring of your own.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bull Run the perfect family vacation site in Northern Virginia

Camping at Bull Run Regional Park has never been better for families. The award winning campground has a great variety of camping options, from rustic cabins with AC/Heat, a refrigerator and microwave, to full hook up sites for RVs to beautiful wooded tent sites.
There is no better way to connect to nature than to camp. Bull Run is an huge park with miles of flat paved roadways inside the park that have light traffic at slow speeds, making it a perfect place for bike riding.
New this year is the Atlantis Waterpark at Bull Run Regional Park. This Greek themed waterpark is fantastic for children of all ages, with a large dumping bucket feature with slides and water cannons, a great tot pool and sand play area, and an enormous pool area with giant slides for those over 48 inches tall.
Bull Run Regional Park is an ideal place for a week of vacation or just a weekend get away close to home.
A review of Atlantis from a seven year old's perspective was posted on Our Kids web site by Amy VanDenburg. She writes:
Breaking news! The Lost Continent of Atlantis has been discovered in Bull Run Regional Park. Well, maybe not quite, but the existing pool at the park has been remodeled into an enormous, incredibly fun re-imagining of the mythical island. Our recent weekday visit elicited the remark “This is the BEST DAY EVER!” from our 7-year-old Our Kids reviewer, which prompts Our Kids to strongly suggest including a visit to NVRPA’s Atlantis Waterpark on your must-do list this summer.
Big Splashes
We were sure that Atlantis was lost again, or that we were, on the long drive (2 miles) through the park to get to the pool area. Just when we were certain it had sunk back to the bottom of the sea, it rose grandly through the trees in front of us. The Atlantis Waterpark has an Ancient Greece theme that uses Greek architecture and images of Neptune, tridents, mermaids and sea creatures to portray the Lost Continent. The theme was quickly lost on our group of reviewers as we entered the pool area after check-in and were happily overwhelmed by the vast size of the facilities and the choices it offered. The complete review is at: http://www.our-kids.com/static/?f=atlantis

Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton VA also offers a great campground with rustic cabins and features Pirate's Cove Waterpark as well as many other features. Another perfect destination for your close to home vacation.

For more information on Pohick Bay see: http://www.nvrpa.org/parks/pohickbay/index.php

Michael Nardolilli Appointed to NVRPA Board

Michael Nardolilli, President of the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust has just been appointed to the Board of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority by Arlington County. Michael will join Paul Ferguson as the representatives of Arlington County.

Michael will make an outstanding addition to the NVRPA Board. He is an expert in land conservation as the chief executive of one of the first non-profit land trust organizations to be accredited by the Land Trust Alliance. He has spent most of the last 10 years conserving natural areas and historic sites in Northern Virginia. The Conservation Trust has also had a particular focus on conserving lands next to parkland, creating a much larger natural are for wildlife habitat and a much nicer park experience for the public. Under Mr. Nardolilli's leadership the Conservation Trust has conserved properties next to the W&OD Trail, Potomac Overlook Regional Park, in addition to numerous national and local parks in the area.

Mr. Nardolilli recieved his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from the College of William and Mary. In 2007 he was named Hometown Hero by WETA-TV for his long history of community service.

For more information on the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust see: http://www.nvct.org/

Michael Nardolilli succeeds James Mayer who served on the NVRPA Board starting in 2001 and was Chairman of the Park Authority in 2008.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pirate Day @ Pohick Bay Regional Park

Pirates Attack at Pohick Bay!

June 13, 2009

Since the summer of 2008 Pohick Bay Regional Park has been home to Pirate's Cove Waterpark, a fun and imaginative waterpark that has seen attendance double since the renovation.
Part of the excitement of Pirate's Cove is that one a year we now hold a special Pirate Day at the park complete with a naval assault on the park.
This year's Pirate Day featured 25 authentic living history buccaneers, a pirate camp by the waterfront, and the good ship Explorer, an authentic 17th Century shallop, complete with swivel gun. Twice in the early afternoon there were battles between the ground forces and the pirates aboard the ship. In the end the ship beached and the sailor engaged in sword fighting and hand to hand combat on the beach. Later that day, the pirates payed a visit to the waterpark and were able to find the buried treasure!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Children learn about farming

Every year Temple Hall Farm Regional Park outside of Leesburg is the site Ag Day, when nearly 600 elementary school children learn a little about where their food comes from.

In today's society, many people have only a vague notion where the food on their table or the cloths they ware comes from. At Ag Day children learn about farm animals and can see how fibers like wool can be spun and woven into cloth. This is an eye opening experience for many children.

On any warm weather weekend, the public can explore Temple Hall Farm. The farm features heirloom breed animals that were popular in farming a century ago. The Farm was established in 1810 by William Temple Mason, nephew of George Mason. Having a working farm is a great way to teach about both history and farming.

Friday, May 08, 2009

LEED Certified Eco Building

We will soon start construction on a new building at Temple Hall Farm Regional Park. This building will demonstrate some of the cutting edge features of modern environmentally designed buildings and yet still blend in perfectly with the setting of this historic farm.

The environmental elements connect with the wind, water, earth and sun. The heating and cooling will be done with a geothermal heat pump, that uses the cool in the summer, warm in the winter aspects of the underground temperature to help the heating and cooling system operate much more efficiently.

Water running off the roof will be captured and stored in underground cisterns. From there the water will be pumped using an old fashion farm windmill and use as the gray-water to flush the toilets. Hot water will be pre-heated using a solar hot water heater to further save on energy consumption.

This building will be an office for our farm staff, as well as providing a meeting room, rest rooms, and display stalls for animals and historic farm equipment. It will be made out of old timbers from two old barns that were each over 100 years old. Recycling building materials, and being energy efficient are some of the elements that should win this building a high LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

Building to such a high environmental standard is just one of the ways the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is trying to lead by example. Some of the other efforts include:
  • Audubon International Certification of all three NVRPA Golf Courses at Wildlife Sanctuaries. These were the fist publicly owned course in the mid-Atlantic states to achieve this status.
  • Participant in the Cool Cities/Cool Counties initiative to reduce carbon emissions. This includes a comprehensive energy conservation effort system wide.
  • A cutting edge policy on fertilizer and pesticide use that applies to all of our parks to reduce the impact of chemicals on our environment.
  • Making all of our parks places of natural and/or historic interpretation.

The Temple Hall building is funded from an endowment left to NVRPA from the late Mrs. Symington who donated Temple Hall Farm to the Park Authority. It is a fun and rewarding experience to be involved in creating a building that will exist in harmony with nature.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Scout Camping in Northern Virginia

Youth group camping, primarily from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is a great way for kids to have fun and learn great life lessons at the same time.

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority offers a number of wonderful places for scout camping. Our oldest site is Camp Wilson, which is part of Pohick Bay Regional Park in southern Fairfax County on Mason Neck. This site was owned and operated by the Boy Scouts from 1948 - 1969. In 1969 the Boy Scouts sold this land to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to help fund the purchase of Goshen. The Regional Park Authority has continued to run this site as a place for youth group camping, and it continues to be very popular with Scouts. This large site has accommodated well over 500 campers at one time. In the center of the site is a rest room facility with flush toilets, hot & cold water and showers. Camp Wilson offers a great trail network that connects it to the main park area which features boat ramp, and boat rentals (canoeing/kayaking the Pohick Marsh is always popular), Frisbee golf, and Pirate's Cove Waterpark. Mason Neck also features a great paved bike trail that connects Pohick Bay Regional Park with Gunston Hall Historic Site and Mason Neck State Park. Across the road from Camp Wilson is the Meadowood BLM facility with horses and miles of additional trails.
For some interesting historical infomation on Camp Wilson see: http://www.mnhc.net/wilson.htm

Bull Run Regional Park in Centerville VA has youth group camping at two sites that can each accommodate 35 campers and is adjacent to the family campground. These camp areas are served by a restroom with flush toilets, hot & cold water, showers, and laundry facilities. Bull Run Park is the trailhead for the 18 mile Bull Run/Occoquan Trail (Blue Trail). Coming this summer Bull Run will also feature Atlantis Waterpark, as well as playgrounds, open fields, and the Bull Run Shooting Center with skeet, trap, and archery.

Our newest youth group camping area is Blue Ridge Regional Park in western Loudoun County not far from Bear's Den and the Appalachian Trail. This site is more primitive than the other, and perfect for that authentic outdoor experience. The amenities include a well with potable water, porta-jon, central pavilion with stone fireplace, camp sites with fire rings, picnic tables, and level tent areas. This site also features fantastic views, and a growing trail network. There are three group areas, each can accommodate 35 campers.

All of these group camp areas must be reserved in advance by calling 703-352-5900.