The Fairfax County Park Authority is beginning the process of revising the master plan for Lake Accotink Park.
A public meeting on the plan revision will be held March 14, 7 p.m., at Cardinal Forest Elementary School. Fairfax Board Chair Sharon Bulova; supervisors John Cook (Braddock), Jeff McKay (Lee), and Pat Herrity (Springfield); and members of the Park Authority Board are expected to attend.
The master plan was first developed in 1964 and had been revised several times, most recently in 1993. According to the Park Authority, the plan needs to be amended to reflect population growth, an increase in the average age of residents, changing recreational preferences, and aging park facilities.
“Examination of options for addressing the continued accumulation of silt” caused by upstream suburban development, will be a key focus of the master plan revision process, the Park Authority states.Siltation has reduced the surface area and depth of the lake, resulting in decreased populations of fish and invertebrates and more pollution and has made the lake less attractive for boating and recreational fishing. The lake was dredged in 1984 and 2004 and will need to be dredged again within the next decade.
Friends of Lake Accotink Park “is eager to begin the Lake Accotink master plan revision process,” says FLAP President Meghan Walker. “Lake Accotink Park is a beloved neighborhood park that is utilized by many for both recreational and conservationist purposes. It’s very important that the community’s needs are considered while determining the future direction of the park. We look forward to working with the Park Authority during this process.”
Tony Vellucci, the Braddock District representative on the Park Authority Board, urges residents of the communities surrounding Lake Accotink Park to get involved in FLAP during the plan revision process.
“There are about 13 distinct entrances to this park and even more communities that surround it,” Vellucci says. “I am hoping that the citizens from those communities come together and use FLAP as a vehicle to organize themselves into committees to address specific needs and wants. For example, those who would like to see a dog park should get together to help move that initiative along, the same for trails, outdoor fitness equipment, and the like.”
"We’re going to need lots of committees and volunteers; it’s a big park,” he says.
Friends of Accotink Creek (FACC) believes the fundamental principle in revising a master plan for Lake Accotink should be “to defend natural resources over development and improvements.”
“The demand for active recreational and sports use of parks is infinite, but our remaining natural areas are finite. Destruction of irreplaceable habitat to satisfy demands for active recreation is an unwise course,” FACC states.
The group’s recommendations for the Lake Accotink master plan also include these elements:
- Any new construction should result in no net increase in impervious surfaces and no increase in runoff.
- The revision process should consider whether all or part of the parking lot by the dam should be relocated, as it’s been damaged by storm flooding several times.
- The plan should consider removing the dam, as it leads to sediment build-up and blocks the natural migration of aquatic wildlife.
- Removal of invasive alien plant species should be integrated into all maintenance and planning.
- The park should be a showcase for watershed-friendly practices, providing inspiring examples for property owners.
- Requiring parks to produce revenue is inconsistent with the concept of parks as a public benefit.