Planning and Improvements

Fairfax County, Virginia


TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy., Suite 204
Fairfax, Virginia

Andrea Dorlester,
Manager of Park Planning

Lake Accotink Park Master Plan Revision


February 15, 2018

We are very pleased to see robust discussion and interest regarding options for Lake Accotink!  Throughout the master planning process, our goal has been to maximize community engagement and to hear from as many people as possible.  After first presenting the lake management options to the community in May 2016, we received only a smattering of comments from residents.  Subsequent to the January 22, 2018 community meeting, attended by more than 100 citizens, we have received more than 400 responses to our online survey and nearly 50 individual emails from citizens sharing their preference and perspective.  Each person’s input is valuable in determining the management of the lake which, in turn, will influence the character of Lake Accotink Park in the future.

We recognize that this is a very complex issue, and so, with that in mind, we have decided to keep taking public comment about the future of the lake through Monday, May 28, 2018. This extended comment period will allow more residents to consider the options and share their thoughts before any decisions are made.

If you have not shared your opinion regarding the lake management options, please review the options under consideration described in the meeting presentations below.  We ask for your response to a quick online survey that will indicate your preference for the future of the lake. You can also share additional comments through the survey page or send your comments separately to
Help us spread the word!  Lake Accotink Park is a countywide resource, providing recreational opportunities and the chance to connect with nature to all county residents.  All of us can help shape the future vision for this well-loved park, so please share this link to the project page.

As always, thank you for your continued interest and participation in this important community discussion.


January 25, 2018

The Park Authority held a community meeting on January 22, 2018 to continue the discussion about alternatives for managing Lake Accotink. Our thanks to the more than 100 people who came out to learn more and share their opinions! If you weren’t able to attend, the presentation and information boards from the evening have been added to this webpage. After reviewing the meeting information, you also have an opportunity to voice your preference for the management of the lake as well as your opinion on the potential to establish a permanent vehicular connection between the upper and lower parking lots through a survey on this webpage.

You can also review the options being considered by viewing the presentation that was shared with the community on January 22, 2018 and the meeting information boards.

Once you have evaluated the options and are ready to share your opinion, click on the blue box below to take you to the Lake Accotink Planning survey.

Comments on your preference for the management of Lake Accotink must be received prior to May 28, 2018 for consideration. Thanks for helping to plan your park!

Lake Accotink Park provides opportunities for outdoor recreation and enjoying nature across its 449 acres.  Central to the park is a 55-acre lake which is surrounded by wetlands and forest.  As one of Fairfax County's three lakefront parks, Lake Accotink Park attracts visitors from across the county but feels like a neighborhood park to the many residents who live nearby.  Lake Accotink Park offers opportunities to hike and bike miles of trails, fish from the shoreline, and observe the changing of the seasons. From May through October, the park offers bike, canoe, and paddle boat rentals as well as tour boat rides around the lake to expand on the ways to explore the park.  A 9-hole miniature golf, historic carousel, and playgrounds provide family amusements.  Lake Accotink is a great place to enjoy a family picnic or social gathering – among the trees, on the grass, or in a covered pavilion.  A concessions stand and restrooms add to the comfort of a visit to the park.  Lake Accotink Park also serves to build a sense of community through hosting summer concerts and camps as well as perpetual favorites such as the Bark in the Park pet events and the yearly Cardboard Boat Regatta.  Whether young or old, active or a little more laid back, two-legged or four, Lake Accotink Park continues to provide enjoyment to thousands of visitors each year.

The Park Authority's history with Lake Accotink Park began in 1960 with the leasing of 242 acres of land that at the time was owned by the federal government. The modest development of boating facilities and concessions were soon followed by the addition of trails, picnic shelters, and a playground.  Through the early 1960s, numerous smaller acquisitions expanded the park by nearly 50 additional acres.  In 1965 through the Federal Lands to Parks Program, the Park Authority was given the opportunity to purchase the land area that had previously been leased for $88,250.  As the neighborhoods of Springfield and Annandale sprouted in the 60s, Lake Accotink expanded recreation opportunities close to home for the many families moving to the expanding suburbs.  Additional property was added to the park from the mid-1960s until the mid-1970s, bringing the total Lake Accotink Park acreage to 449 acres.

Historic Features
Of the tens of thousands visitors to Lake Accotink Park, few immediately recognize signs that speak of our county's heritage.  But if one looks closely, the clues start to become evident.  The presence of Accotink Creek would have been attractive to prehistoric and Native Americans to establish their homes.  The name "Accotink" is derived from an Algonquian word meaning "at the end of the hill", referring to the name of the largest village in the area.

The area of Lake Accotink Park was once crossed by the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, chartered in 1849, connecting Alexandria with Gordonsville.  During the Civil War, the railroad was used to transport troops and supplies, with its wooden trestle over Accotink Creek being a prime target for saboteurs.  The Orange and Alexandria Railroad was purchased by Southern Railways in 1894. The route of the old rail line is still visible within the park and provides service access to the park from Rolling Road.  In several locations, stone culverts built with the railroad in the 1850s are still visible and functional.

The Lake Accotink dam also tells the history of the area.  Accotink Creek was first dammed in 1918 after the land was purchased by the War Department.  Originally referred to as the Springfield Dam, the structure caused the formation of Lake Accotink for the purpose of providing safe drinking water for the Army Corps of Engineers.  This same structure was dismantled shortly thereafter in 1922 due to concern that the dam threatened the structural integrity of the railroad trestle.  The dam was reconstructed in 1943 and the lake reformed to provide a potential source of drinking water to what is now Fort Belvoir.

Natural Resources
Lake Accotink Park is situated in the middle of the 51 square mile Accotink Watershed.  Runoff from as far north as Chain Bridge Road in the Town of Vienna passes through Lake Accotink on its route through Fort Belvoir and into Accotink Bay and ultimately the Potomac River.  The lake and its surrounding forests provide habitat for a myriad of birds, mammals, insects, amphibians and fish.  The consolidated tree cover in the park helps protect water and air quality and provides critical wildlife corridors and safe havens.

Meeting Presentation and Notes

January 22, 2018 Community Meeting

April 24, 2017 Resources Meeting

December 5, 2016 Trails Workshop

October 27, 2016 Facilities, Programming & Usage Workshop

May 16, 2016 Lake Sustainability Meeting

March 14, 2016 Public Information Meeting


Comments regarding the Lake Accotink Master Plan Revision can be shared through

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