Thursday, February 17, 2011

Occoquan Re-visioning

The creative juices where pumping when a group of nearly thirty local citizens and community leaders started coming up with great ideas for the future of Occoquan Regional Park. This was the first step in a redevelopment effort that will make Occoquan Regional Park a wonderful destination location in Northern Virginia.

The ideas from this frist meeting are posted on the website for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority at:

The community input meeting was truely a great experience. Everyone was positive and engaged in the task of creating a new vision for the future. The Lorton Patch did a great article about the meeting that can be seen at:

Whatever combination of creative ideas take shape at Occoquan Regional Park, the future has never looked brighter.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

2011 Special Park Districts Forum

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is hosting the 2011 Special Park Districts Forum an annual meeting of independant park organizations from all over North America. Registration for this conference is now available through this link:

A Look at the Forum Themes

With registration now available, we wanted to offer you some insight on what you can expect in regards to course content. Essentially, we’ve laid out the Forum in a series of different themes, each meant to try and emulate the major areas of interest of our attendees. Each theme has certain classes that fit, creating a more complete experience for the attendee. Please note that these themes and subsequent class selections are merely suggestions. Attendees can choose to follow any path they choose, including a random class schedule.

The themes for the 2011 Special Park Districts Forum include Nature/Environment, Organizational Issues, Park Management, History and Recreational Opportunities. Here’s a look at the class subjects being offered for each. During the online registration process, we ask that you choose the classes you’d like to take. This list is not binding, and may very well change between now and the actual event. By completing the agenda form, we’ll know what classes most interest you and be able to tailor our offerings accordingly.


► Connecting Children with Nature (Roving Naturalist Program & REI)

► Fertilizer/Pesticide Use Policy & Golf Course Certification

► LEED Certified Buildings

► Reducing the Carbon Footprint of your Agency

Organizational Issues

► Multi-Jurisdictional Opportunities and Challenges

► Trends in Public Sector Retirement Plans

► Public/Private Partnerships

► Repositioning Your Agency Towards Tourism

► Connecting your Budget to your Strategic Plan

► Park Agency Liability

► Cultural Partnerships

Park Management

► Watertrail Management

► Aquatic Theming

► Campground Management

► Tours of 5 Regional Parks


► Tour Manassas National Battlefield

► Tour Balls Bluff Battlefield

► Tour Mt. Vernon

► Tour Carlyle House

► Leadership Lessons from the Civil War

Recreational Opportunities

► Canoe the Marsh at Pohick Bay

► Temple Hall Corn MAiZE

► Guided Hike of Bull Run/Occoquan Trail

► Guided Hike of Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail

► Tour Udvar Hazy- Smithsonian Air & Space Museum

► Golf Outing at Brambleton

If you have any questions, suggestions or remarks, please feel free to email one of our session coordinators Blythe Russian ( or Chris Pauley ( If you experience any issues with the registration site, please contact Brian Bauer at

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

See George Washington Live...Almost

This Saturday, February 12th, from noon until 4:00 p.m. you are invited to Carlyle House in Old Town Alexandria (on Fairfax Street, across from City Hall) for an amazing historical re-enactment. Colonel George Washington and his family will be visiting the Carlyles for the day.
The year is 1760, when the real Washington Family spent the day with the real Carlyle family. While we do not have a time machine like Jules Verne or Dr. Who, the re-enactment is the next best thing.

All over the house you will encounter men, women and children all doing what they would have been doing on that day in 1760. Virginia is still a colony of England, slaves and indentured servants are still a big part of society. While some things have changed, others are the same. People still gossip, talk politics, and try to impress their neighbors and friends.

Usually 400-500 people come through the Washington Comes to Carlyle House re-enactment each year. It is a fantastic experience where people young and old can learn and be entertained at the same time. Enjoy all the fun of Old Town Alexandria for the day and make this annual re-enactment a new tradition for you.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Special Park Districts

The January 2011 issue of Park & Recreation Magazine has an article written by me on how to set up a Special Park District and what are the issues a local park agency might want to consider before seeking to be an independent park agency.

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is in a class of park agencies called "Special Park Districts." What makes them "special" is that they are not owned by a state or local government, but are independent. They are much like port or airport authorities. These are special purposes governmental agencies that are authorized by a state government.

In the fall I gave a presentation on this with two others (Tom O'Rourke from Charleston County Park District, and Larry Blackstad from Three Rivers Park District) at the National Recreation and Park Association's annual Congress. Many local agencies were interested in exploring this option, and the article grew out of that presentation.
Park & Recreation Magazine