Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Planning Commission to have work session tonight on Trailways Masterplan

The Planning Commission at 7:30 p.m. has a work session on the draft of the Trailways Masterplan.

You can read through the document and presentation here.

Tonight’s work session follows several community meetings the Planning Department held. Here is one story I wrote about those meetings that were well attended by horse riders.

Here is another article we did on trails.

Here is a link with information on comments and concerns local residents have raised to county planners.  Here is a snippet of a reply one planner sent to a concerned resident:

“Regarding intended users in the proximity to the Harvestdale, Enchanted Woods, and Red Rose Village areas I can tell you that equestrian trails are not proposed to be located there. Equestrian facilities are envisioned to be located west of Old Plank Road but not to the east. We are aware of concerns regarding the Virginia Central Rail Trail in the area of Harvestdale, Enchanted Woods, and Red Rose Village and certainly will be considering these areas as we move further past the Comprehensive Planning phase and into implementation. As stated during our recent Community meeting held on September 22, 2010, the Virginia Central Rail Corridor has been identified as a “rails to trails” corridor by the State Department of Conservation and Recreation as an important regional trailway, as well as the George Washington Regional Commission in their regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. Spotsylvania County has identified the corridor as a trailway since at least the 2002 Comprehensive Plan. The corridor offers a great linear route from east to west that fits within ongoing regional trailways planning. A recent study by the Fredericksburg Metropolitan Planning Organization found that approximately 46,169 persons live within a mile of the trailway Within Spotsylvania County resulting in a recreational trail that can serve many users. Within Spotsylvania County as well as the greater region there is a large demand for trailways and yet the area offers very few. Our greatest deficit in parks and recreation amenities are in trailway facilities based on both State and County standards. From a tourism perspective the VCR offers the ability to connect a number our Civil War Battlefields parks.”


  • LarryG

    It’s probably too late for some subdivisions but the county needs to have a policy for future ones that stipulates that the subdivision will have not only sidewalks and public streets but public trails that interconnect to other trails – instead of trying to back-fit into subdivisions where the remnant/artifact trail is perceived as part of someone’s backyard.

    In those cases – I think you’re going to have to not try to force the issue or else no matter what FAMPO/GWRC says – you’re going to create a substantial backlash that could harm the whole concept of a wider trail-way system.

    You have no choice but to listen to the people who don’t want trails in their back yard… either you do that and work toward something acceptable or you end up eroding public support.

    But I have no sympathy for the horse trail deal.

    Anyone who has tried to walk the Lake Anna Trails that are used by horses – try it before you form an opinion.

    I have and those trails are no fit for ordinary walking and hiking anymore… especially in the wet areas.

    Horse trails “work” out west in arid terrain when horse hoofs don’t mush up soft soils.

    The same problem occurs with mountain bikes on soft terrain but to a lesser extent because they are 1/3 or less the weight of the horse/riders combos.

    If you’re going to do horse trails – they have to stay on the high ground or you have to put in aggregate materials in the soft areas.

    If you put horses on the Salamander Trail – the new trail near the School Admin offices – they would destroy that trail in short order including the farm pond because once the trail was mushed up and started eroding… it would go into the pond.

    The horse folks need to advocate for proper trails ….just advocating to be included in existing trails – when they know their horses will mess those trails up – is not helpful – it will only add to the controversy.

    and I don’t even want to think about what happens if a bunch of ATVers show up and want to be included…..

  • Martin (Marty) Work

    As the subject of hiking, biking and horse trails continues to expand in scope and territory in Spotsylvania County, what provisions are being developed for those outdoor enthusiast who wish to camp out, over night, or even the week, along these trails and extending trails being mapped out through the most rural areas and parts of Spotsylvania County. There appears to lots of feed back from populations living outside Spotsylvania County but somewhere within a 100 mile radius of the County’s trail proposals. Will there be signs posted along the trails that those who use these trails will do so at their own risk?

    While the warm and fuzzy nature of walking, hiking, biking, horse riding, camping and use by ATVers is truly intoxicating, just from being out of doors and breathing less toxic air, what part of this plan leads to “mixed use” and projected UDA development in the County, well within the next 5 years?

    If any or many trails being developed in Lee’s Hill District lead to Spotsylvania County’s planned VRE Train Station
    to drop off commuter traffic, who will be paying for the overhead lighting necessary on these trails to keep the public safe when the turn of the season brings darkness to the 6am boarding comuter and the 5pm returns to Spotsy?

    Is it still safer to drive a car to your communter station or invest in the trappings of a “mini-highway?” who’s use is measured in terms of available sunlight?

    Since the Comp Plan nor UDA development plans do not account for necessary transportation infrastructure to and from these sights, maybe some thought should go into how wide the biking and pedestrian lanes really should be.

    DC has biking lanes through every kind of city and park traffic. Anyone care to navigate themselves or their bikes
    through DC at rush hour AM or PM without some level of FEAR of losing your life, or causing someone else driving a bus or motorized vehicle from losing theirs?

    Is 2036 the projected ending point for TRAILS/LANES or just the beginning of another Northern Virginia work site, where the commute home is well beyond Spotsylvania County, for want of necessary space to live, much less draw a decent breath of air.

    Have I come too soon to this discussion or is it too late? Too many questions? Based on current data being filtered through Ms. Parrish and Mr. Pastwik it looks to be that TRAILS/ Pedestrian Traffic in Spotsylvania County are nothing more than a foregone conclusion. And, YOU and those living within a 100 mile radius get to decide whether you wish to recreate or find your way to work in back of a horse or avoiding an ATV making its way to some unknown finish line?