Park Authority

Fairfax County, Virginia



Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-8700 | TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Sara Baldwin, Acting Executive Director

Fairfax County Park Authority


The Park Authority Mission is to enrich quality of life for all members of the community through an enduring park system that provides a healthy environment, preserves natural and cultural heritage, offers inspiring recreational experiences, and promotes healthy lifestyles.

Learn More

On January 1-3, 2021, the Fairfax County Park Authority joined America’s state parks including Virginia State Parks to encourage everyone to start 2021 with a hike. In Fairfax County, it’s a great way to appreciate more than 450 miles of trails and to set the bar for a new year of fitness and outdoor activity. This year’s contests included special prize amounts of $70 to commemorate the Park Authority’s 70th anniversary. Nearly 200 hikers submitted photos as part of the First Hike Fairfax 2021 Photo Contest presented by the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Fairfax County Park Foundation. The Park Authority Executive Director, a panel of Park Authority judges and a public vote have determined the following winners: Mike Crosby, Huntley Meadows Park People’s Choice: $70 Park Authority Gift Card OR a 6-Month FCPA RECenter Pass More than 1,000 people voted on the People’s Choice Winner. With 167 votes, this photo of the Huntley Meadows boardwalk received 16 percent of the vote, making it the most popular of the 30 finalists selected by the judges. Elaine Starr, Huntley Meadows Park Judges’ Choice: $70 Park Authority Gift Card OR 25-visit FCPA RECenter Pass A panel of judges thought the photographer did an excellent job of clearly capturing the detail of this action shot from a Northern pintail at Huntley Meadows Park. They felt like the photo transported them to the Huntley wetlands – home to so many beautiful birds and animals. Jack Ledgerwood, Folly Lick Stream Valley Park Director’s Choice: $70 Park Authority Gift Card Park Authority Executive Director Kirk Kincannon chose this photo of a woman with a mask and her dog using a fair-weather crossing to cross a stream, saying “This photo perfectly showcases the fact that so many people are using our parks and trails to stay healthy and have fun during a challenging year.” Heather Rabinowitz, Cross County Trail at Accotink Best in Show (Scenery/Landscapes): $70 Park Authority Gift Card Judges enjoyed this refreshing perspective of park trails. The tall,towering trees offer peace and protection to the trail users below – a stunning reminder of how grand and powerful nature can be. Living and fallen trees and an inclined landscape beautifully frame the photo. Sherry Schellenger Parker, Green Spring Gardens Best in Show (People): $70 Park Authority Gift Card Judges thought this photo highlighted how beautiful and peaceful parks can be in all types of weather. They thought the photo was framed nicely and that the umbrellas offered a fun pop of color on an otherwise dreary day. Nancy McDonough, Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Best in Show (Wildlife): $70 Park Authority Gift Card Judges selected this photo because they loved how the colors of the bird matched the colors of the berry. The photo is pretty enough for a holiday card and reminds us how fortunate we are to share our parks and trails with so many beautiful creatures. First Hike Fairfax kicks off a new year of Healthy Strides activities for the whole family. For more fresh ideas, visit the Healthy Strides web page and sign up for the e-newsletter with monthly tips to get you and your family energized. Find out more about how easy it is to support local parks by visiting the Park Foundation. For more information on First Hike Fairfax, visit the First Hike Fairfax web page Media Note: Click the photo to download See all First Hike Fairfax 2021 photos at:

Laurel Hill Park Volunteers Honored by Virginia House of Delegates

  Pictured from left to right are Delegate Tran and Team Leader Susan Laume   The Laurel Hill Park Volunteer Team (PVT) has been honored by the Virginia House of Delegates for its service work on behalf of parks. Delegate Kathy Tran proposed a resolution to honor the group for receiving the Park Authority’s Elly Doyle Service Award in 2019, and she presented it to the Laurel Hill PVT in a ceremony at the park on December 12, 2020.   House Joint Resolution No. 257 was offered on February 18, 2020, as an expression of the General Assembly's “ardent appreciation for their contributions to Fairfax County and the Commonwealth.” It commends the Laurel Hill PVT for being one of the first groups to collaborate with the Fairfax County Park Authority through the Park Volunteer Team Program and helping the county refine its model for coordinating park maintenance efforts between county employees and volunteers.  Members of the PVT conduct service activities throughout the year such as trash clean-ups, invasive plant removal and trail maintenance. The work is part of group’s mission to make Laurel Hill Park as beautiful and inviting as possible and to protect the park's pristine nature, wildlife, birds and plants.    For more information, contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662 or send an email to      See more photos at:    Media Note: Click photo to download

On Saturday, February 8, 2020, students from the Oakton High School Environmental Club spent two hours removing invasive shrubs from Difficult Run Stream Valley Park in Oakton, VA. The students removed 15 bags of Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) as part of the Fairfax County Park Authority Invasive Management Area (IMA) program. The Fairfax County Park Authority’s IMA program encourages restoration and tree preservation through the removal of non-native invasive species. There are roughly 60 IMA sites throughout Fairfax County dealing with various invasive species. To find out more information about IMA and sign up for future workdays visit our Invasive Management Area web page. For a complete listing of volunteer opportunities in Fairfax County parks, visit the Park Authority volunteer web page. Pictured in photo: On Saturday, February 8, 2020, students from the Oakton High School Environment Club removed 15 bags of invasive species from Difficult Run Stream Valley Park in Oakton, VA.   Media Note: Click photo to download

healthy strides

The weather is warming, and it is time to think about spring activities. In a normal year, plans for outdoor activities would be made. However, 2021 is shaping up to be another year of adjustment, due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We can’t let this stop us from doing the things we love,” said Liz Ittner, Fairfax County Park Authority’s Wellness Coordinator and Healthy Strides program manager, adding, “We can still be active in a smart and safe way, and still get outside to better our health.” Park Authority Fitness and Wellness staff have had to be innovative in their approach to the Healthy Strides 5K/10K, held annually on the first Saturday in May. “This year we’re bringing our runners and walkers together virtually, thanks to Zoom,” remarked Julie Frederickson, Fitness Director at Cub Run RECenter in Chantilly and the Healthy Strides 5K/10K Race Director. “We want people to feel like they’re part of something bigger, like how a race feels. At our race, the atmosphere is energized with excitement, music, and the thrill of being outside on a spring morning,” said Frederickson. “We want everyone who participates in our 2021 event to feel that still, even if it’s through a screen. It’s BYOB (Bring Your Own Banana) and run your own race, but we’ll be with you for every stride.” The Healthy Strides Virtual 5K/10K race and Kids Dash takes place May 1, 2021. The interactive event will be streamed live via Zoom to registered participants, beginning at 8 a.m. Warm up together, see the Kids’ Dash, and start and finish your 5K or 10K on your own course. Stay on the Zoom event to hear motivating music and coaching all the way to your finish line. Join featured runners and walkers as they traverse park trails, neighborhood streets and treadmills. There will be opportunities to win prizes, too! Invite family and friends from far away to participate and join in the virtual fun. Registered participants will receive a Healthy Strides 5K/10K tech tee and finisher medal mailed to their home before race day. Space is limited to the first 500 runners and walkers, so register early. The cost is $25. Children aged 2 to 10 can register for the Kids Dash for $15 and will also receive a kids-sized shirt and finisher medal. Healthy Strides is supported in part by Fairfax County Park Foundation, Inova, Cigna, Giant, Virginia Pediatric Group, the Valis Family Golf Learning Center at Pinecrest Golf Course, Glory Days and Move Your WaySM. Race sponsorships for 2021 are still available. A portion of race proceeds benefits trail maintenance and expansion. For more information on Healthy Strides, visit the Healthy Strides website. 

dog park study

  The Fairfax County Park Authority (FCPA) will hold a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 7 p.m. to present the study findings and gather public comment on the Dog Park Study Draft Report. Meeting registration information and instructions to access the meeting can be found at Dog Park Study website. You need not register to attend virtually. The Park Authority initiated a study of dog parks in Fairfax County in 2019. The purpose of the study was to assess needs and priorities for dog parks throughout the county, and to adopt strategies for long-term planning, development and management of dog parks. Public feedback was critical in the development of the draft report and continues to be an important component of this study. The Park Authority conducted a dog park survey, which was open from November through December 2019. More than 4,600 persons participated in the survey. The purpose of the survey was to collect information from the public to better understand use, concerns and future needs for dog parks in Fairfax County. The virtual public meeting will include a presentation of the study’s findings and recommendations followed by a public comment period. Participants will be able to provide comments through the online meeting platform or by phone. Instructions for accessing the meeting and participating are provided on the meeting registration page. Additionally, a recording of this meeting will be made available following the live event. The draft report is now available for review and comment through the Dog Park Study website. Comments will be accepted until April 23, 2021. Public comments may be provided via or through the comment box on the Dog Park Study website. For more information you can contact Public Information Officer Judy Pedersen at 703-324-8662 or via

board meeting

The Fairfax County Park Authority Board (PAB) is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 5 p.m. Due to the COVID-19 state of emergency, this is a virtual meeting. You can watch the meeting at, or listen by calling 855-925-2801 and entering the access code 8081. The Board will recess for closed session during the meeting and will return to complete the meeting. If you wish to provide comments, you can do so by emailing them to Please note PUBLIC COMMENT FOR THE PAB in the subject line to better identify the emails. You may also send written comments to 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 927, Fairfax, VA 22035; or contact the Public Information Office at 703-324-8662. The final PAB agenda will be posted online, along with the Board items, at the Park Authority’s Board meetings site. Please send an email to, or call 703-324-8662, if you have any questions or need additional information.


Did you know Fairfax County Park Authority operates two licensed preschools? Lee District and Spring Hill RECenters offer preschool classes for children 3 and older. The half-day programs nurture each child’s emotional, social and intellectual growth in a safe and inclusive environment. Since children learn best through creative play and a developmental approach, the preschools provide hands-on activities that enhance learning, promote independence and foster a positive self-image. The goal is to help each child reach potential with socialization and school-readiness skills. The preschool experience provides age-appropriate activities in art, science, circle time, outdoor play, centers, music and more. We welcome visitors to observe our schools on an appointment basis. The 2021-2022 school year registration begins Monday, March 8, 2021 starting at 8 a.m. Registration will be held at the two RECenters, not online. Space is limited, so reserve early to ensure availability. Staff has been working diligently to follow health and safety protocols while providing the best preschool experience for students. The Park Authority adheres to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and governing health agencies to ensure enhanced health and safety protocols are in place to maintain a healthy school environment for children, families and staff. If you are interested in learning more about these preschool programs, visit the Preschool website. You can also contact each preschool by emailing or calling: Lee District RECenter (Franconia) - 703-922-9841 or email Spring Hill RECenter (McLean) - 703-827-0989 or email
Our Stories and Perspectives

2020 Park Bond At A Glance

FCPA Nationally Acclaimed

FCPA Nationally Acclaimed


Fairfax Virtual Assistant