To the Editor:
I am a Boy Scout from Troop 712 based in Chantilly and I am writing about the proposed Riverbend Park master plan. The reason I’ve chosen to write about this is because I’ve been to Riverbend Park numerous times and really enjoy my visits there. I want to give my support for implementing the Riverbend Park master plan.
Riverbend Park is located in Great Falls, right along the Potomac River. The park has a total of 400 acres of forests and meadows. It also contains a 2.5-mile section of the Potomac Heritage Trail. The park already includes a visitor’s center, nature center, pavilion and parking lots. I think that out of all of the changes proposed, the most important and useful are the following: reconfiguration of the main entrance, the addition of a nature watching tower and the new outdoor pavilions/classrooms.
Through the reconfiguration of the entrance the guardhouse would be moved farther back into the park. Moving the guardhouse will allow the cars farther into the park. This in turn will greatly reduce the amount of traffic on the main road and make it less of a hassle for people with houses neighboring the park. The reconfiguration will also make a separate road running out of the park to allow one-way traffic in and out.
The nature tower will be built on a meadow that was a part of the original Conn’s farm. There will be a map in the tower and interpretive features about the farm and wildlife. On this meadow there will also be historical farm equipment, trails and hayrides. I think that this will be a great addition to the park for being able to see the park’s scenery.
The outdoor classrooms will play a huge role in education of children. Currently, without the additions, the park can hold three classes simultaneously, two indoors and one outdoors. With the outdoor classrooms there will be space for three more classes. There would be a large pavilion for 130 people or two classes. This will allow more classes, and therefore more income, for the park.
The original master plan contained this goal as the quote, “Riverbend Park is a nature preserve managed to protect the biological communities and cultural Resources of the Potomac Gorge, while providing a natural space for education, research, and outdoor recreation that is compatible with preservation goals.” I think that with all of the proposed improvements, Riverbend Park will continue to meet the goals originally established. This is why I’m in support of implementing the original master plan at Riverbend Park.