Wakefield Run: A New Name for a Tributary of Accotink Creek

Local residents were invited to suggest a name for an unnamed tributary of Accotink Creek that will undergo a stream restoration this fall. The name selected for the stream is “Wakefield Run.”

The small stream starts on the grounds of Braddock Elementary School and flows through a culvert under the Beltway, over a fair weather crossing and under the Cross County Trail in Wakefield Park before joining Accotink Creek.

The Friends of Accotink Creek selected “Wakefield Run” from 27 names submitted to the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. The proposed names reflected the area’s history, geography, natural resources and the submitter’s imagination.

Don Waye suggested the name “Wakefield Run” because it “captures and builds on the place-name identity already established for this area.” He said it would encourage people who enjoy Wakefield Park’s tennis courts, skateboard park and swimming pool to “also care about the park’s natural amenities.” He recalls exploring that area when it was all woods before Wakefield was built and catching crayfish in the stream. “It was a magical place and can still be,” he says.

Stream Restoration

Wakefield Run’s bed and banks are eroding, sending sediment to Accotink Creek. The segment inside the park will be graded, stabilized and planted. Also, a 100 foot culvert outfall with riprap will be replaced with a shorter, more effective outfall and the fair-weather crossing will be rebuilt.

Partnering for this stream restoration project are the Fairfax County Park Authority, the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District, the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services and Dominion Virginia Power. The Friends of Accotink Creek are partnering to help promote awareness and stewardship, which includes selecting a name for the tributary. The Braddock District Supervisor’s Office is helping with getting the word out.  Other community groups will likely join the partnership.

Other Name Suggestions

The second and third place names were “Braddock Branch” to recognize Braddock Elementary School and “Scout Run” to honor the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts who work on cleaning up the stream.

Historical name suggestions included “Dickins Creek” for Francis Asbury Dickins, the planter at Ossian Hall, “Fitzhugh Run” because the land was part of the large tract owned by the Fitzhugh family, and “Sally Creek” for George Mason’s daughter Sally Eilbeck Mason. More recent history also surfaced, with “Foo Creek” proposed to honor former Accotink watershed residents Dave Grohl and Jimmy Swanson of the Foo Fighters band.

Many submissions reflected nearby residents’ personal connection with the stream and park. “Serenity” and “Butterfly Ridge” recognized the natural beauty of the park. “Bent Creek” was submitted by a six-year-old who noticed that the trees were bent because of ongoing erosion. The former athletic field manager proposed “Plank Creek” for the planks that were once taken from the park bleachers and used as footbridges. “Mountain Bike Fork,” “Ryan’s Stream” and “Lyzenga Creek” were suggested for the park’s mountain bike trails and for individuals who use and love them.

Portions of this article are reprinted from the Annandale Blog courtesy of Ellie Ashford.

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