To slow the spread of COVID-19, the National Park Service closed the parking lots around Great Falls Park.
As of yesterday (April 6), people cannot to use the lots, the public bathrooms or water fountains at the park (9200 Old Dominion Drive), according to a press release. It is unclear if street parking will still be allowed.
Instead, people are expected to find other parking arrangements where they can obey the 6-foot social distancing guidelines if they choose to go hiking.
According to a state mandate, people can only leave their homes for essential purposes such as shopping for necessities, seeking medical attention or socially-distanced outdoor exercise.
For people who want to stay home, Reston Now complied a list of other ways they can still stay active and fit.
Photo via NPS/Facebook
As the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues, Fairfax County Public Schools is offering resources to furloughed government workers after most missed their first paycheck of the shutdown last Friday (Jan. 11).
FCPS plans to hold a second hiring event for furloughed federal employees interested in substitute teaching positions.
The hiring event last week hit capacity. The event is set for tomorrow (Jan. 15) from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the FCPS Administration Center at 8115 Gatehouse Road in Falls Church, Va. Participants are encouraged beforehand to register, complete an application for employment and bring original documents required for the I-9 form I-9.
FCPS’s “No Student Will Go Hungry” program is supporting families affected by the federal government shutdown by providing breakfast and lunch to all students regardless of their ability to pay or temporary financial circumstances. FCPS will also allow unpaid balances to accrue during the shutdown.
Furloughed workers can also look at Fairfax County’s resources online, including a Human Services Guide to seek assistance from nonprofits and a list of free or low-cost events at county libraries and parks.
The county also plans to have a “Stuff the Bus” event on Saturday (Jan. 19) where locals can bring food and cash donations to support local nonprofit food pantries. One of the collection spots will be the Fox Mill Giant (2551 John Milton Drive) in Herndon from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Food, utility and rent assistance is available from the county’s Health and Human Services agencies.
Fairfax County Public Schools is expediating the hiring of furloughed government workers as new substitute teachers for the district.
— Maya Shwayder (@MayaErgas) January 11, 2019
We are aware that the effects of a prolonged federal government shutdown may be having an impact on the lives of many families living in #FairfaxCounty. We are here to assist those families during this time: https://t.co/RWHzcDPgLV
— Fairfax County Government (@fairfaxcounty) January 10, 2019
FCPS offers support to families impacted by the partial federal government shutdown; will provide meals to all students regardless of ability to pay and plans hiring event for furloughed employees. https://t.co/Mb7d8Kaqmv
— Fairfax Schools (@fcpsnews) January 8, 2019
Having trouble with deer? Each year, Fairfax County officials hold a meeting on deer management in collaboration with the Fairfax County Authority and NOVA Parks.
This year’s meeting in Reston is planned for August 9 at 7 p.m. in the North County Government Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The deer management program is conducted will by the Fairfax County Police Department.
The program attempts to use safe and sustainable deer management techniques as permitted by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, including archery, managed hunts and sharpshooting.
Other meetings will be held on August 7 at 7 p.m. in the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax) and on August 16 at the Mount Vernon District Police Station (2511 Parkers Lane in Alexandria).
Photo by Twitter user @MrErrett
The authority will hold a public information meeting on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lake Drive) to discuss possible revisions to the park’s master plan. The process establishes the longterm vision for how the park will be used in the future and current unmet needs.
Updates come as demand for more recreation and park options grows, according to county officials. The current plan, which was launched in 2001, is outdated as additional parcels and structures have also been added to the park since its creation. Roughly five acres along Hunter Mill Road were also added to the park within the last decade.
“The plan will focus on the features of the added property, potential new facilities, and reevaluating existing facilities to see if they are still meeting the community needs and preferences,” said Judy Pedersen, the authority’s spokeswoman.
The meeting in November will introduce the project to the community and include time for community input as the authority assembles a draft concept plan. At a second meeting, staff will present the draft plan to the community and hear feedback, after which the Park Authority Board will make a decision about the final master plan.
The plan will also recommendations for land uses of recently acquired parcels and potential new facilities, Pedersen said.
“Ultimately, the purpose of the master plan revision is to determine how to best incorporate the newly acquired acreage and determined needs within the existing framework of the park,” she said.
While the master plans lays out a refined vision for the park, it requires capital funding for complete implementation.
The park, which was originally a dairy farm in the early 1900s, currently includes a 20-acre lake with fishing, boat rentals, a carousel, athletic fields, picnic shelters, a skate park and campgrounds. The authority acquired a 292-acre parcel in 1966 and a 129-acre parcel in 1972.
As of mid-October, the authority owns or cares for more than 23,000 acres or roughly nine percent of all open space in the county.
The authority is accepting public comments and questions through Dec. 1 via email at [email protected]. For more information on the planning process and for project updates, visit the county’s website.
The Fairfax County Park Authority has released the draft version of its latest Parks & Recreation System Master Plan and is inviting the public to give its feedback.
The park system master planning process was first initiated with the 1993 Recreation Demand Study. The plan has been revised several times over the years, most recently in 2011.
According to the Park Authority website, the revisions to the 2011 plan were deemed necessary because a “revision is undertaken when the park system or its surrounding community have notably changed. This is the case with the Fairfax County park system.”
The Park Authority says “[m]any of the strategies detailed in the 2011 plan have been completed despite funding challenges” and “[a]dditional improvements or system changes have also been made where possible in order to address emerging community needs.”
Principles in the “Great Parks, Great Communities” plan include to inspire a passion for parks, meet changing recreation needs, advance park system excellence, strengthen and foster partnerships; be equitable and inclusive; be great stewards; and promote healthy lifestyles.
The goals include to improve and promote natural resource protection and management; ensure protection, conservation, preservation and interpretation of cultural resources; improve access and opportunities for healthy and active lifestyles; enhance and maintain park system quality and condition; advance as an innovative, responsive and adaptable organization; and provide sustainable financial management to advance the Park Authority mission.
Residents are encouraged to read over the plan and submit comments by email to [email protected], the comment box on the Park Authority website during a public input meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 7-9 p.m. at Green Springs Gardens (4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria).
Comments can be submitted through Sept. 22.
Graphic via Fairfax County Park Authority
Pirate Fest is returning to Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Dr.) this Saturday, May 6, offering the area’s youngest pirates the chance to ride in pirate ships, sing pirate ditties, and hear tales of excitement on the high seas.
Kids — and parents — are encouraged to dress up in their favorite pirate costumes and practice their best “arrrrgh, matey” and head to Lake Fairfax Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other planned activities include the raingutter regatta, a treasure hunt for real pirate booty, the “Pirate Skills Challenge” with jousting and cannons, fun science and craft projects and more.
There were also be a marketplace full of “exotic treasures” to shop for.
Advance registration for the event is recommended, and required for the pirate boat tour. Visit the Pirate Fest page on the Parks and Recreation website to register and see more details about the event.
Images of Pirate Fest by Fairfax County Parks & Recreation