Mount Vernon: Huntley Meadows Park Wins Award

Mount Vernon: Huntley Meadows Park Wins Award

Don Sweeney

The wetlands restoration project at Huntley Meadows Park will be among the honorees this weekend when the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO) holds its summer meeting in Long Beach, Ca. It has been selected as a winner of a NACPRO Environmental/Conservation Award.

Huntley’s central wetland is the largest non-tidal wetland in Northern Virginia and attracts regionally rare wildlife, but silt and aggressive plants had reduced the wetland habitat by 33 percent prior to the construction project. The goal of the project was to expand the wetland and improve management of water levels. Park personnel thought it would take three years to judge the project’s success and determine whether wildlife would return, but just seven days of rain in October 2013 sparked a tremendous return of birds and other wetland dwellers.

The area has become paradise for wildlife and wildlife watchers, and professionals from other states and countries have come to study Huntley’s success. It serves as an outstanding example of environmental stewardship with impact on water quality, wildlife and wildlife viewing.

Other previously announced NACPRO honorees from the Park Authority include the Spring Hill RECenter renovation and expansion project and the Colvin Run Mill Partners in Preservation Campaign. Former Park Board chairman and long-time member Harold L. Strickland will receive a professional lifetime achievement award.

NACPRO is a non-profit professional organization that advances official policies that promote county and regional park and recreation issues while providing members with opportunities to network, exchange ideas and best practices, and enhance professional development.