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McCoart-to-Occoquan Trail: Thumbs Up from Lake Ridge Board

Contributed by Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association

At a special board meeting held on February 25, 2014, the Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association (LRPRA) voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation to lease LRPRA common ground as part of the McCoart-to-Occoquan Trail System.

Lake Ridge is a 42-year-old unincorporated planned community of 41,000 residents on the banks of the Occoquan Reservoir. With over 7,300 members and stretching over 4,000 acres, Lake Ridge is among the largest homeowners associations in the nation.

The planned trail travels approximately 8 miles, with the majority running through Lake Ridge common ground. In addition to several existing paved and gravel paths currently maintained by the association, there are many informal paths that crisscross throughout Lake Ridge. Many of these paths offer stunning views of the Occoquan Reservoir and traverse through hilly, undisturbed forested land.

Once in Occoquan, hikers may connect to several nearby foot and bike paths – such as the Fairfax Cross County trail, US 1 bike route, East Coast Greenway, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic trail, and the Occoquan Water trail. Occoquan is a destination for shopping and dining and the Town is currently planning a small park and amphitheater.

The concept of a McCoart-to-Occoquan trail has been discussed and supported by the LRPRA board for over 10 years. When the community was originally developed, connected walking trails weren’t considered. Several years ago, Prince William County approved an investment of over $700,000 to manage and improve this trail, which may include board walks, footbridges, and erosion control measures, in addition to lighting, trail markers, and kiosks. The trail has been divided into sections, and LRPRA members will have the opportunity to review and approve the specific location of the trail through each section.

The LRPRA Board has a history of successful joint projects with Prince William County. The recently opened dog park on Minnieville Road is situated on property owned by LRPRA and leased to PWC under an arrangement similar to that of the trail. The LRPRA board worked closely with Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May, Debra Andrew and Michael DePue of the Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation, and Earnie Porta, Mayor of Occoquan. The board also held many meetings and town hall style events to solicit feedback from members of LRPRA.

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