Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition (PWTSC) is an all volunteer organization dedicated to establishing and promoting use of a county wide system of trails and stream recreation, connecting parks with our communities for the enjoyment of our residents and visitors.
Through charitable contributions and volunteer participation, PWTSC cooperates with both private and public organizations with similar goals. We work to educate Prince William County residents on the benefits to their fitness and wellbeing, and of the healthier environment resulting from the preservation of these natural resources.
Prince William County, through rapid growth, has fallen quickly behind in planning, developing, and advertising trails and stream recreation opportunities to the public for passive recreation. Beginning in December 2006, a small group of citizens from various recreational disciplines began meeting and working with the Prince William County Park Authority staff to fill this need in Prince William County. Since then, this same group of citizens has grown in number and successfully transitioned into an all volunteer charity organization dedicated to addressing the challenges faced by low manpower and budgets for recreational activities in Prince William County. Please come join us in achieving our goals. We can accomplish more together.
More History Highlights:
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.
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.
In January 2007, the concerned citizens group established an organization that later became “Prince William Trails & Streams (PWTS).” 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. By February one the members from the Nokesville Horse Society set up a PWTS Website to communicate with the Community.
The citizen’s action group later met with Prince William County Park Authority (PWCPA) staff to address the needs of the citizens and develop planning for long range support.
In March 2007, two PWTS members prepared and revised drafts for a Trails Chapter for review and inclusion in the Chapter of the County Comprehensive Plan on Parks, Open Space, and Trails. This PWTS group reviewed all subsequent chapter changes and strongly supported the chapter before the County Supervisors through its adoption.
In the spring of 2007 the PWTS group with the County Park Trail Planner marked and established the initial Valley View Park Trail. In June the County’s first National Trails Day was held at Valley View Park.
Since 2007, the PWTS, recognizing the challenges faced by low manpower and budgets for recreational activities in Prince William County, have worked hand-in-hand with the County Parks & Rec staff in building, extending, and maintaining trails in Locust Shade Park, Andrew Leitch Park, James S. Long Regional Park, Broad Run Linear Park and Trail System, and Nokesville Park.
In 2008, 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 served as a foundation for the citizens of Prince William County.
By 2009, more than seven additional miles of multi-use trails were built on Park property. Over two miles of public accessible trails were achieved through easements and key partnerships with County landowners. At the same time, the organization experienced exponential membership growth, more than tripling in number. With additional partnerships, the PWTS mission of establishing and promoting use of a County-wide system of trails connecting Parks with communities began.
2009 marked the inaugural year for fundraising within PWTS. Sponsoring the third annual Duck Splash at Occoquan, members of PWTS braved the rain on the river in boats, kayaks, and wave runners to raise funds for trails. Not a rubber duck escaped the dedicated crew collecting them as they crossed the finish line.
2009 also marks the year that PWTS made visible progress toward the long-pursued goal of establishing a public canoe/kayak launch site upstream on the Occoquan River below Lake Jackson Dam. The new canoe/kayak launch site provides a 9 mile paddling trip to the Bull Run Marina, as well as a 14 mile paddling experience to either the Lake Ridge Marina or the Fountainhead Marina in Fairfax County.
Later on in 2009, PWTC assisted in the opening and dedication of Silver Lake Regional Park on October 3, 2009.
In 2010, several members of the PWTS also served on the County’s newly established “Prince William Trails and Blueways Council” that was appointed by the Board of County Supervisors and Park Authority. Going forward, the Prince William Trails and Blueways Council will advise the bodies on priorities and funding for its trail projects. The Council will also heighten the awareness for the need of these trail systems throughout the county.
2010 saw an expansion and new name for PWTS as the Prince William Trails & Streams Coalition (PWTSC) with its designation as a 501(c) (3).
The first PWTSC Occoquan River Clean-up took place in 2010 from the base of Lake Jackson Dam to Riverview Estates (5 miles downstream) and was the beginning of a 11 year joint effort with the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District (PWSWCD), Parks & Rec, other civic organizations and businesses. In later years, the clean-up continued down river for another 15 miles with adjoining river neighborhoods supporting its effort at Lake Ridge Park Marina and ending at Hooes Run Park in Lake Ridge. PWTSC members and volunteers also supported other PWSWCD smaller annual stream clean-ups.
Also in 2010, the PWTSC supported the PWC Transportation Department’s Annual May “Bike to Work Program” by operating several support sites.
In June 2014, REI announced the award of a $4,500 grant to PWTSC for trail building and another section of the Broad Run Trail.
In 2013 and 2014, the PWTSC held a new bike initiative called “Tour of the Towns” in Prince William County. This bike event made almost $1000 in 2014. The 2014 event had 71 registrants with 62 who rode (last year over 100 registered, 90 rode). It was an organized bike ride with multiple routes: a 27 Mile Loop, a longer 35 Mile Loop and a 63 Mile (Century) Ride. The riders enjoyed the routes, were enthusiastic about the event and the majority went on the 63 mile ride.
On December 13, 2014, the PWTSC supported the 5-Mile “Jingle Bell Run” on the Broad Run Trail. The Start/Finish Location was Victory Lakes Elementary School in Bristow VA.
Participants were encouraged to wear Festive Costumes.
The PWTSC spent many weekends with the Parks & Rec Trail Planner building the initial trails in the Doves Landing Park and assisted in its opening and dedication on September 26, 2015.
In spring 2016, the PWTSC still recognizing Parks & Rec manpower shortage and the need for County Park trail maintenance, proposed a joint Adopt-A-Trail Program that was approved and initially implemented with County Boy Scout organizations in May 2016.
Today, PWTSC is continuing to support the Parks & Rec Department in building, expanding and maintaining its trail system, and living up to its motto “Enjoy Nature & Improve the Environment.” Feel free to join us at any and all of our events to promote trails and stream recreation in Prince William County.