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Horses Receive Warm Welcome at Frying Pan Farm Park

Horses Receive Warm Welcome at Frying Pan Farm Park

On April 23, 2017, officials, donors and park visitors met at Frying Pan Farm Park to welcome Jeff and Charlie, the new team of Belgian Draft horses. Donor Susan W. Becker was honored for her generous contribution, which made possible the purchase of the beautiful horses. This event also recognized the cooperative work of Friends of Frying Pan Park, the Friends Group Executive Board and the Fairfax County Park Authority.

The weather cleared in time for the welcome reception, and the cameras began clicking as Jeff and Charlie arrived pulling a wagon. Children and adults had lots of questions for the horses’ handlers. Draft horses were an essential part of farming in our county’s past and are now permanent residents of Frying Pan Farm Park. Visitors to the park for generations will be able to observe and get to know these draft horses.

Pictured, (from left to right): Timothy B. Hackman, Park Authority Board (Dranesville District); Roberta Longworth, Executive Director, Fairfax County Park Foundation; William G. Bouie, Chairman of the Park Authority Board (Hunter Mill District); John M. Pitzer, Chairman, Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park; Donor Susan W. Becker; Yvonne Johnson, Manager of Frying Pan Farm Park; Sara Baldwin, Deputy Director, Fairfax County Park Authority.

Officials Recognize Spring Hill RECenter's Earth-Friendly Design

Officials Recognize Spring Hill RECenter's Earth-Friendly Design

On April 22, 2017, Earth Day, local officials and member of the community unveiled the LEED Silver Certification plaque at Spring Hill RECenter. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification is granted by the U.S. Green Building Council to buildings that are resource efficient – those that use less water and energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save money.

At Spring Hill, the expansion and renovation project added a two-story fitness center, new multi-purpose fitness rooms, and a gymnasium with an elevated running track to the RECenter. This was accomplished while reducing the addition’s energy usage by 27 percent over conventional facilities.

Pictured, along with other members of the community (from left to right): State Senator Barbara A. Favola (31st District); State Delegate Kathleen J. Murphy (34th District); Ian & Finn Niemira, grandsons of Fairfax County Park Board Member Timothy B. Hackman (Dranesville); Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Member John W. Foust (Dranesville); Hackman; Director of Park Planning and Development Division David Bowden; Irv Auerbach, President of the Lewinsville Coalition; Spring Hill RECenter Manager Marcellous Cooper; Fairfax County Park Authority Deputy Director Sara Baldwin.

For more pictures from the event, please visit the Flickr gallery at

Local Students Compete in 2017 Envirothon

Local Students Compete in 2017 Envirothon

Hidden Pond Nature Center opened its attempt to reclaim its state Envirothon title on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Hidden Pond’s Team joined top-ranked Thomas Jefferson High School in advancing from local to area competition.

Envirothon is North America’s largest environmental education competition for high school students. Some 50,000 people from 4,000 public and private high schools across North America participate annually.

Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Annandale hosted two squads from Hidden Pond as well as teams from South Lakes, Langley, Thomas Jefferson, George Marshall, Fairfax and Madison High Schools in a first-round competition. Thomas Jefferson placed first and Hidden Pond’s teams placed second and third. The top two teams will advance to a 13-county Area competition on April 26 at Graves’ Mountain Lodge in Syria, Va. Area winners will advance to the state final on May 21 and 22 at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Va. State and provincial winners compete in the North American championship, which will be held July 23 through 29 in Emmitsburg, Md.  Hidden Pond won state Envirothon titles in 2013 and 2015.

Virginia Dominion Envirothon is sponsored by Virginia’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Competing students have already participated in trainings presented by science, park and government professionals in fields relating to environmental sciences.

This year’s Hidden Pond roster includes: 

Standing in back: Jacob Brown, Sophomore, West Springfield HS

Standing, L to R:

  • Carleigh MacDonald, Freshman, West Springfield HS
  • Jennifer Ochs, Sophomore, Lake Braddock HS
  • Aaron Abalos-Green, Sophomore, Lake Braddock HS
  • John Abalos-Green, Sophomore, Lake Braddock HS
  • Stuart Murdoch, Senior, West Springfield HS
  • Annabella Massimino, Senior, West Springfield HS
  • Grace Murdoch, Freshman, West Springfield HS
  • Maddy Sita, Senior, Lake Braddock HS
  • Sitting: Noah Goldfarb, Sophomore, Robinson HS

Thomas Jefferson’s roster includes:

  • Coaches: John Woodwell and Varsha Kapadia

Team members: Amee Kapadia, Kristen Halper, Will Baxley, Abigail Shoemaker, Serena Xia, Shawin Vitsupakorn (alternate)

Officials, Players, Coaches Cut Ribbon for McNaughton Ball Fields

Officials, Players, Coaches Cut Ribbon for McNaughton Ball Fields

On April 8, 2017, sunny skies looked down on the much-anticipated ribbon cutting for the renovated McNaughton Park ball fields in Alexandria, Va. Attending the ceremony were members of the Woodlawn Little League, which has used these fields since the 1960s.

A presentation of the colors by the Fairfax County Public Safety Honor Guard was followed by the National Anthem sung by Genevieve Kirk. Speakers included Mount Vernon District Supervisor Daniel G. Storck, Park Authority Board Member Linwood Gorham (Mount Vernon), Lee District Supervisor Jeff C. McKay, President of the Woodlawn Little League Dennis Dunn, Director of the Park Planning and Development Division David Bowden, and Senior Director of Community Relations for the Washington Nationals Shawn Bertani.

Pictured, along with players, coaches, and other members of the community (from left to right): David Bowden, Dennis Dunn, Shawn Bertani, Jeff C. McKay, Daniel G. Storck, Linwood Gorham, Deputy Director of the Park Authority Sara Baldwin, and Park Authority Board Member Michael W. Thompson, Jr. (Springfield).

Ribbon Cut on Danbury Forest Drive Trail in Springfield

Ribbon Cut on Danbury Forest Drive Trail in Springfield

On Saturday, October 29, 2016, officials and community members cut the ribbon on the Lake Accotink Park Danbury Forest Drive Trail in Springfield, Virginia. This new $104,000 trail is part of the very popular Lake Accotink Loop trail and is designed to enhance safety for users. The eight-foot-wide asphalt trail runs for 270 linear feet and replaces an old trail that was narrow, steep and in extremely poor condition. The Fairfax County Park Authority project was designed in cooperation with the Danbury Forest Community Association and built by McGee Civil Construction, LLC, of Purcellville, Virginia. Funding was provided by the 2012 Park Bond. Required easements for the project were provided by the Danbury Forest Community Association.

Pictured among the community members, left to right: Sean Roberts, Danbury Forest Civic Association; Anthony Vellucci, Braddock District Representative, Fairfax County Park Authority Board; Kelly McGee, Owner, McGee Civil Construction, LLC; Sharon Bulova, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; David Bowden, Director of Planning and Development, Fairfax County Park Authority; Frank Divita, President, Danbury Forest Civic Association; Ed Richardson, Area 4 Manager, Fairfax County Park Authority; Kirk Kincannon, Director, Fairfax County Park Authority; John C. Cook, Braddock District Representative, Fairfax County Park Authority Board; Meghan Walker, President, Friends of Lake Accotink Park.

Ribbon Cut on Upgraded Baseball Complex at Trailside Park

Ribbon Cut on Upgraded Baseball Complex at Trailside Park

On Saturday, October 22, 2016, Central Springfield Little League (CSLL) organizers, public officials, players and members of the public gathered at Trailside Park to celebrate the recent improvements to the baseball complex, which now meets the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as current athletic field standards. 

The $370,860 improvement project included demolishing existing dugouts and bleacher pads and the construction of new accessible dugouts and bleacher pads at the diamond fields. Fencing and backstops also were replaced to meet ADA requirements. In addition, the project included repaving of the asphalt drive lanes and parking areas to ensure accessibility to the park facilities and correction of the drainage problems.

CSLL, the park’s primary user group, provided $39,200 which included a $19,200 grant from Little League Baseball to help fund the upgrades. The Park Authority provided a $20,000 Mastenbrook Grant to match the funds contributed by CSLL for the project.

Pictured, among the many Central Springfield Little League players and coaches: Sara Baldwin, Deputy Director, Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA); Jeff McKay, Lee District Representative, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors; Marc Dolphin, President, Central Springfield Little League; David Bowden, Director of Planning and Development, FCPA.

Local Players Head to the U.S. National FootGolf Championship

Local Players Head to the U.S. National FootGolf Championship

The American FootGolf League (AFGL) U.S. National Championship held its Virginia Regional Championship Tournament at Pinecrest Golf Course earlier this month.

The tournament was made up of the top 30 percent of players who played in the Virginia Regional Qualifier in August, also held at Pinecrest, attracting nearly 70 registrants – making it one of the largest in attendance nationwide.

Father and son duo John and Stephen Jordan from Fairfax County took the first place titles in the Men’s and Senior divisions in the tournament and will move on to represent the Virginia Region at the AFGL U.S. National Championship, held in November at Desert Willow Golf Resort in Palm Desert, California.

“Soccer and golf are two of my all-time favorite sports, the combo lends itself to fun with family and friends,” said John Jordan.

FootGolf, which is played on a traditional golf course, involves the kicking of a soccer ball down the fairway of the course, with the intention, similar to golf, of reaching the hole in as few “strokes” (kicks) as possible. In FootGolf, the hole is increased to 21” in diameter in order to accommodate a regulation soccer ball.

The hybrid sport is growing in popularity across the nation, “AFGL has worked for the last four years to create a network of nearly 500 FootGolf courses in the United States,” said U.S. National Championship Director Julia Barajas, “and the National Championship is the next logical step in the growth of the sport and its integration into the competitive sports landscape.”

FootGolf is available at Pinecrest Golf Course, Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 1:30 p.m.

For more details on FootGolf, the American FootGolf League, and the U.S. National Championship, please visit or call Julia Barajas at 760-501-0100 ext. 135.

Pinecrest Golf Course is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority. For more info or to reserve a tee time, visit online at Pinecrest FootGolf or call 703-941-1061. Pinecrest Golf Course is located at 6600 Little River Turnpike in Alexandria, Va.

Discovery Trail Map Winners Receive New Bikes and Park Passes

Discovery Trail Map Winners Receive New Bikes and Park Passes

On October 7, 2016, the grand prize winners of the Fairfax County Park Authority's 2016 Discovery Trail Map contest received new bicycles and a prize pack full of tickets to park amusements.

Discovery Trail Maps encourage children to visit multiple parks throughout the Fairfax County park system each summer. Those who get stamps from eight or more of the 12 sites featured on the maps may be entered into the bicycle drawing. In this presidential election year, the map highlighted park sites with a connection to the nation’s presidents.

This year’s grand prize winners were selected in a drawing from 657 finalists. The prize-winners pictured left to right are Luke Ewell, 10, of Washington, D.C.; Orson Matheson, 3, of Falls Church; and Maya Raza, 10, of Springfield. They are posing with Joseph Chaale, manager of Spokes, Etc. in Fairfax, which donated the bicycles and safety helmets through the Fairfax County Park Foundation. The ticket prize packs for park amusements are valued at $93.

'The Pines' Honored at Historic Marker Dedication

"The Pines" Honored at Historic Marker Dedication

Community members, officials and families who once called “The Pines” home came together to unveil a historic marker at Pine Ridge Park on Saturday, October 15, 2016. “The Pines” was once a close-knit African-American community in Annandale. The 1960s brought significant social change to Fairfax County, and when this land was purchased through eminent domain to provide property for a school, members of this community were scattered. Today, many from “The Pines” still remain connected to the land.

The marker stands at the entrance to Pine Ridge Park located at 3401 Woodburn Road in Annandale. This popular Fairfax County Park Authority facility provides gardens and athletic fields for countless residents’ use. The park’s 42 acres provide a recreational oasis of sorts in a busy neighborhood. However, for some African-American families, “The Pines” brings back both warm family memories from their youth and a sense of loss at the dissolution of their community. The Johnson, Robinson, Sprigg and Collins families were the first to purchase lots, and they cleared pine trees to enable truck farming and saw mill operations. Residents created a vibrant community and many worshiped at First Baptist Church of Merrifield, taking part in school functions and social gatherings. Next to the park is the Liberty Lodge Cemetery, where church members are buried.

The new marker chronicles the history of the land noting, “In the 1960s, during a period of school desegregation and population growth, the public school system purchased land through eminent domain, which displaced numerous families living in The Pines. A school was never built.”

Pictured: (Seated right to left, front row) Avonjeanette Hill and Shirley Robinson, former residents of “The Pines.”

Also pictured among many friends and family members connected to The Pines: Penelope A. Gross, Board of Supervisors, Mason District; Frank Vajda, Park Authority Board, Mason District; Naomi Sokol Zeavin, Fairfax County History Commission (FCHC), Mason District; Marion J. Dobbins, Historian; Mike Henry, Manager, Colvin Run Mill; Reverend Martin T. Pickett, First Baptist Church of Merrifield; Carol Herrick, Chair, FCHC

New Bicycle Facility Opens at Lake Fairfax Park

New Bicycle Facility Opens at Lake Fairfax Park

On Saturday, October 8, 2016, local officials, community members and biking enthusiasts gathered at Lake Fairfax Park to cut the ribbon on the Fairfax County Park Authority’s newest bicycling facility – a pump track. Bikers of all ages will enjoy this new amenity, which is a small looping bicycle trail system that riders navigate by pumping with their arms and legs, rather than pedaling.

The track was developed and funded by the non-profit Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE, Inc.), with significant contributions from The Bike Lane, and was designed and constructed by Elevated Trail Design, LLC. The project is also supported by the Fairfax County Park Foundation.

Pictured in the back row, left to right: Larry Cautilli, Virginia Advocacy Manager, MORE, Inc.; Aimee Vosper, Deputy Director, Fairfax County Park Authority; Frank Raiti, Lake Fairfax Trails Liaison, MORE, Inc.; William G. Bouie, Chairman, Park Authority Board; Ernie Rodriguez, President, MORE, Inc.; Dan Grulke, Manager, Lake Fairfax Park; Timothy B. Hackman, Dranesville District Representative, Park Authority Board.

New Window to the Skies Celebrated at Observatory Park

New Window to the Skies Celebrated at Observatory Park

Local officials, donors, staff and members of the public gathered in Great Falls, Va. on Saturday, October 1, 2016 to celebrate the opening of the new roll-top observatory at Observatory Park at Turner Farm. Despite the rain, a ribbon was cut outside the new facility, which will offer the public a chance to explore the night sky through permanently mounted telescopes.

Initiated in 2007 in collaboration with the Analemma Society, the million-dollar facility was funded in part by the 2008 and 2012 Park Bonds, telecommunications funds, Mastenbrook grant money and a generous donation provided by Jean and Ric Edelman through the Fairfax County Park Foundation. The facility was designed by Shaffer Wilson Sarver & Gray of Herndon, Va. and constructed by Brown and Root of Arlington, Va.

Pictured (left to right):

From left to right, Mary Cortina, At-Large Member, Park Authority Board (PAB), Ken Quincy, Vice Chairman, PAB; Alan Figgatt, Analemma Society member; Cecil Hardee, Project Manager, Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA); David Bowden, Director, Planning and Development Division, FCPA; Roberta Longworth, Executive Director, Fairfax County Park Foundation (FCPF); Steve McKeon, Diamond Bay Construction; Tim Eakin Walsh, FCPF Board; Jean and Ric Edelman, donors; David Bierlein, Brown and Root Services (behind the Edelmans); Charles Olin, Founding President, Analemma Society; Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust; Ace Walsh; Jacque Olin; Tim Hackman, Dranesville District Rep, PAB; Kirk Kincannon, Director, FCPA; Kathleen Murphy, Virginia Delegate, 34th District; Steve Thormahlen, Chairman, FCPF; Evelyn and Gale Alls, Northern Virginia Power and Sail Squadron. 

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