vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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New trails to be open for Crow’s Nest field day

For Saturday’s twice-annual field day at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve, visitors will get the chance to walk along some new trails.


A group hikes down to Accokeek Creek during a November field day at Crow’s Nest.

Crews from the Department of Conservation and Recreation are finishing up the trails this week, said Crow’s Nest Manager Mike Lott. Some 10 1/2 miles of trails are being refurbished, with new segments where the trail was too steep or eroding.

DCR still can’t open the site publicly though, because there’s not an accessible road to the trailheads. Lott said DCR was denied state funding this year, but will try again next year. The single-lane road needs improvements for areas of erosion, along with turn-outs for cars to pass each other. It could take 18 months to plan and construct once funding is secured.

There are two parts to the 3,000-acre preserve, separated by the marshy Accokeek Creek. In March, DCR had completed a new parking lot off Brooke Road, but that’s not yet open either. The 20-car lot is about a mile from the Brooke/Raven Road intersection, and would provide access to Accokeek Creek. But interpretive signs have gotten caught up in production, but Lott said they should be ready this month.

“I didn’t want to throw open the gate and for there to be nothing there,” Lott said this week. This section of Crow’s Nest will have a sign describing the preserve, another about natural areas, and one about freshwater tidal marshes. Two short trails will lead to an overlook and the site where a kayak/canoe launch will one day be located. Eagle Scouts are also going to put in benches.

Lott hopes to open the area with trails more often, for small, guided groups. For example, he wants to offer a colonial history walk this winter.

If you want to participate in Saturday’s field day, sign up with DCR by calling 804/786-7951. Hikes will be led starting at 9 a.m.