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Great Falls Trailblazers Seek Funding for Trails

Joan Barnes, a member of the Great Falls Trailblazers, keeps her camera in her car so she can take spontaneous photos to document the use of Georgetown Pike by pedestrians, to support funding for stone-dust trails in Great Falls.

That is how she got an unusual full daylight photo of an unexpected meeting between a jogger and a deer.

The Trailblazers are trying to bring to fruition some of the dotted lines that represent the trails that are planned along roads in Fairfax County. Many have been waived on applications by developers, but the Trailblazers and Great Falls Citizens Association oppose such waivers in Great Falls.

“We have obtained some enhancement and scenic byway money [from federal grants] to build stone-dust trails along Georgetown Pike and Walker Road, so people don’t have to walk in the road,” said Great Falls Trailblazers president Eleanor Weck.

“The first priority is the Pike. People want to be able to walk to the Village Centre,” she said.

The Trailblazers are seeking federal funding with a 20-percent local funding match, Weck said. “We will, at some point, go to the community for funds.”

“Our aim is to build stone-dust trails,” she said. “Ultimately, grass grows in it.

Barnes’ photo of a man and deer meeting face to face on Georgetown Pike was distributed at the Trailblazers meeting last week.

Their guest was Dranesville Planning Commissioner Joan DuBois, who is also the Republican candidate for Dranesville District supervisor.

She advised the group on how to seek funding for money to create more trails. “You’ve got to try to reach out for as many pots as you can,” she said, suggesting the group apply to the Park Authority, the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES).

“You’ve got to make the request. Otherwise, it is not on anybody’s record that you want trails in Dranesville [District].

“One of the reasons we’ve all had problems with trails is they were all waived,” DuBois said. “I haven’t waived any trails.”

Weck credited DuBois for convincing Fairfax County officials to use stone dust rather than asphalt for the trail surfaces in Great Falls. “She did what we were not able to accomplish for several years,” Weck said.

“The County was not happy about it,” DuBois said, adding that as planning commissioner, she has worked closely with the Great Falls Citizens Association (GFCA) on many issues because “I trust their judgment. Everything they ask for is fairly reasonable,” she said.

“I was a puppet. I pretty much have done everything [the GFCA] has asked me to do,” DuBois said.