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Riverbend Park Master Plan Revision

On April 24, 2013, the Park Authority Board approved the Master Plan Revision for Riverbend Park. This master plan revision was based on public comment received on the a draft Riverbend Park master plan revision which was presented at a Public Comment Meeting held on January 24, 2013. The meeting included a presentation, and a moderated public comment session. Public comments on the draft master plan were accepted until February 25, 2013. All public documents, including the master plan, maps, meeting presentations, and summaries are provided in electronic links at the right for public review.

The Park Site

At the edge of the Potomac River, Riverbend Park has over 400 acres of forest, and meadow. Please refer to the accompanying vicinity map. An extensive trail network includes a 2.5 mile portion of the Potomac Heritage Trail linking national and regional parkland. Kayakers and canoeists can enjoy exploring many islands in the Potomac River. Serious anglers and families can bring a boat or fish from the shady riverbank. Nature highlights include spectacular river views, beautiful wildflowers, and birds.

Riverbend Park is located in the Dranesville Supervisory District, and which is classified as a resource-based park. Park facilities include a visitor center, nature center, picnic pavilion, boat ramp, parking lots, and other structures surrounded by forested natural areas that contain cultural resources representing multiple periods of history.

Riverbend’s 1975 master plan guided the parks use and development for the last 40 years. As with many park master plans of that era, the master plan consisted only of a graphic conceptual plan representing the approved planned uses. In addition, management of the significant natural and cultural resources are guided by the Natural Resource Management Plan as well as the Cultural Resource Management Plan. The 1975 Master Plan and the resource management plans informed the master plan revision. These plans are centered on the Riverbend Park’s core mission:

Riverbend Park is a nature preserve managed to protect the biological communities and cultural resources of the Potomac Gorge, while providing a natural space for education, research and outdoor recreation that is compatible with preservation goals.”

Through the revision and update of the master plan the Park Authority will ensure that Riverbend Park continues to meet the park user needs in the modern age, while still achieving its mission.  The master planning process will engage park stakeholders through its public participation process to help the Park Authority determine the appropriate uses and facilities within the park. 

The Process

To start this park planning process, a public information meeting was held on February 21, 2012, at the Great Falls Grange.  This Public Information Meeting featured a presentation about the site’s existing conditions and the park master planning process.  Following the presentation, the meeting continued with an informal moderated public discussion session to identify community concerns, answer questions, and receive suggestions for future park features to be considered by the Park Authority in developing the draft Master Plan.  Using this input, the site conditions, along with the existing master plan, and resource management plans, a draft master plan was prepared by the staff team.

Public review and input on the draft master plan was encouraged at a public comment meeting followed by a 30 day public comment period. 

All public documents related to the Riverbend Park Master Plan Revision process are linked above for public review.  More information on the Park Authority Master Plan process can be found by visiting the Park Planning and Development homepage.

The Fairfax County Park Authority wishes to thank those who have participated in this planning process which yielded a constructive discussion of many community issues and concerns.

The Future Park

Features in the approved Riverbend Park Master Plan Revision include an Interpretive Center, Maintenance Facility, Picnic Pavilion / Outdoor Classrooms, Playground, Nature Watching Tower, improved parking and circulation, as well as supporting features. Subject to Park Authority Board approval, implementation may be funded through various capital funding sources, such as sponsorships, partnerships, and/or general obligation bond funds. No determination has been made as to when improvements will be funded or implemented. Site design and construction timing are also determined by the Park Authority Board through adoption of the Capital Improvement Program. In some cases, sponsorships and funds proffered from private developments may be available to provide park improvements.

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