Category Archives: History

Summary of coalition activities, year by year.

History 2008

In 2008, the citizen group began by focusing on the Eastern end of Prince William County, planning events for Neabsco Creek Trails. Residents along Andrew Leitch Park as well as other volunteer organizations were approached by PWTSC to make this park the next property to benefit from a National Trails Day event.

This year, the group also realized a need for standardized trail etiquette. After some discussion and research, the group put forward recommendations for Trail Safety Reminders for Hikers, Joggers, Bicyclists, and Horse Riders; Stay on the Trail; Do Not Disturb Plants and Wildlife; Pack Out Your Litter; and Respect Private Property. These ideas were the basis of future planning for trail etiquette.

After much input, the long awaited Chapter on Open Space, Parks and Trails was unanimously passed by the BOS on 26 February with a number of changes. Although not as complete as envisioned, it serves as a foundation on which to stand, a triumph for the citizens of Prince William County.

The summer of 2008 showed great progress for this group. The decision was made to become a charity non-profit organization whose mission would expand beyond support of the PWCPA to reach the goals of establishing and promoting use of a County-wide system of trails connecting Parks with our communities, and stream recreation. Zoe Vitter of Woodbridge took the helm as President, with other members taking on prominent roles and responsibilities. The Inaugural Board Members consisted of:

President – Zoe Vitter
Vice President – Scott Helberg
Secretary – Neil Nelson
Treasurer – Earnie Porta
Director of Eastern County Trail Development – Eric VanNortwick
Director of Western County Trail Development – Duane Martin
Director of Stream Recreation – Ed Dandar
Director of Public Relations – Jim Hollis
Director of Education – Marian Hamamo
The PWTSC, now an incorporated organization with 501.(c).3 non-profit status, continued to coordinate multiple activities in Prince William County supporting passive trails for recreation and additional launch and retrieve locations for canoes and kayaks on Prince William County Streams. PWTSC became recognized by and coordinated trail planning, building, and maintenance activities with organizations such as the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, Nokesville Horse Society, Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, Friends of Conway Robinson, and Kingsbrooke Home Owners Association.

History 2007

The citizens action group continued into 2007 where they left off in 2006, meeting with Prince William County Park Authority (PWCPA) staff to address the needs of the citizens and develop planning for long range support. This original group consisted of citizens active in nature preservation, hiking, biking, horseback riding, canoeing, and kayaking. They understood the need and were cooperative to achieve common goals.

Over the course of the year, a periodic meeting schedule was decided upon where the PWCPA staff would brief the group on current events and answer questions and suggestions the group recommended. This would also serve as a forum for planning activities to support the citizens- goals.

This year also marked the early creation of a private Prince William Trails and Streams (PWTSC) website operated by the citizen group for the purpose of publishing information of interest to the public, a location where activities could be announced and where established trail maps could be maintained. This site continues to evolve today providing viewers detailed information on what is available in Federal, State, County and Regional Parks for passive recreational activities.

Another accomplishment of this citizen cooperation with the PWCPA was the establishment of participation in National Trails Day events. The PWTSC helped to coordinate groups to volunteer at Valley View Park on a planned system of multi-use trails, including clearing, trimming, and stream bank re-enforcing.

This year also marked the first organized citizen presentation to the Prince William County Park Authority Board. The presentation described the importance and need for trails and streams access, and announced the upcoming National Trails Day activity for Valley View Park. The Board was introduced to excerpts from the web site as well as briefed on recent activity. The Board was impressed with the PWTSC accomplishments since its establishment in December 2006, and Jay Ellington, PWCPA, stated “I want to thank our citizens who are working on the parks and open space comp plan amendment for coming forward at our recent budget hearings. Your interest, your support, and your dedication of time is greatly appreciated. As we seek to move Prince William forward let us continue to join together for our citizens. Thanks again.”

The other focus of the group was the development of a Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan on Parks, Open Space, and Trails. Prince William County had fallen behind adjacent counties in available trails for public use as well as the acreage of maintained open space per county citizen. Linear trail concepts were discussed and two of the citizens prepared the first draft chapter on Trails and Streams for review. This PWTSC group reviewed all subsequent chapter changes and strongly supported the chapter before the County Supervisors through its adoption.

The Beginning 2006

On December 14, 2006, the County Park staff met with concerned citizens regarding the future of establishing multi-use trails within Prince William County. -Up to this point there was no strategic vision for accomplishing such an endeavor nor were there any details for accomplishing such an effort in the County-s Plan.

Much discussion focused on the need for planning information on Parks, multi-use Trails, accessible streams, and other open spaces on maps that would be easily understood by County citizens. -The need for private, business and county government partnerships and building relationships among those and various existing organizations will be a key factor to future success.

At the end of the meeting, the citizens realized a real need for a citizen-s action group to assist Prince William County in developing a strategic vision and an achievable plan for County-wide network of trails and streams for passive recreation activities.