Environment and Parks Committee News

Committee Chairs

  • Winnie Frost
  • Suzanne Black

Committee Role

The EP committee promotes programs and actions designed to protect the natural and historic resources of our community, and  to articulate GFCA's objectives for the natural environment of Great Falls and the enjoyment thereof by its citizens.
  • 13 Apr 2015 5:54 PM | Anonymous

    Local residents participated in the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup on Saturday, April 11th.  Last year, this cleanup collected over 300 tons of trash.  The Great Falls Citizens Association organized over a dozen volunteers to clean up trash along the Difficult Run stream and watershed, which flows into the Potomac River and then the Chesapeake Bay.

    Our intrepid volunteers gather for their assault ...

    The battle won, the team celebrates over their spoils ...

    One heroine is implacably determined to ensure there are no enemy survivors ...

  • 30 Mar 2015 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    The last remaining farm-era white oak in the Great Falls commercial area – at the corner of Georgetown Pike and Walker Road – has been the subject of discussion between GFCA and VDOT, which owns the tree.  An extensive study of the tree in 2012 proved that it was healthy but VDOT said it would periodically check up on it.  In recent months, an arborist hired by VDOT found that there was no imminent danger from the tree but recommended additional testing, especially of the root health.  GFCA and VDOT are exploring the option of root collar excavation with an air spade, to supplement the thorough examination the tree had roughly two years ago.    

  • 30 Mar 2015 12:25 PM | Anonymous

    Last fall, GFCA launched a community-wide program to plant new white oak trees in local parks and at residents’ homes, churches and businesses.  17 large white oaks were planted at Colvin Run Mill, Lockmeade Park, the Great Falls Library, Smith Chapel United Methodist Church and a number of local homes.  This popular program will resume this year in April, with a new batch of trees to be planted by May 1. 

    If you would like to donate funds for a tree in one of our local parks, including Riverbend and the Old Schoolhouse, residents can send in a tax-deductible contribution of $466 to the Fairfax County Park Foundation, at 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 404, Fairfax, VA 22035.  Their telephone is 703.324.8582.  Website is:  www.fairfaxparkfoundation.org.  Please mark checks with: "Great Falls Legacy White Oak Planting."

    If you would like to sponsor a white oak to be planted on private property, residents can have a 10’ white oak planted for $406 and, for an additional $150, have the tree watered every week throughout the spring and summer.  For more information, please contact environment@gfca.org.

  • 19 Feb 2015 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    Yesterday, an article appeared in the Great Falls Connection which covered the deer population problem in Great Falls, and the activities and discussions underway to find a solution.  GFCA's Environment (EPT) Committee was featured. 

    A copy of the article can be found here.

  • 19 Jan 2015 5:25 PM | William Canis (Administrator)

    GFCA's Town Hall meeting on January 13, 2015 focused on deer management. 

    The results of the 2014 GFCA survey of Great Falls residents about deer and forest health, lyme disease and deer/vehicle collisions were released (results can be viewed here). In addition, Great Falls residents Lt. Col. Matt Allison, Jerry Peters and Catherine Sullivan discussed an innovative local program to encourage more deer hunting on private land in Great Falls, which is needed to reduce the deer herds that are eliminating new forest undergrowth and the next generation of tree saplings. For more information on this deer control program, visit GreenFireWeb.com

    The GFCA meeting also featured excerpts from a nature video about how trees and other species have been returned to Yellowstone National Park through a deer and elk population control program.  The video is called Lords of Nature - viewable by clicking the title at left.

  • 09 Jan 2015 3:39 PM | Anonymous

    NPS is proposing an increase in entrance fees at Great Falls Park, and is seeking public comment.  This would be the first entrance fee increase in nine years.  The proposed changes would generate an additional $500,00 annually that would be used to improve park facilities, infrastructure and visitor services at Great Falls Park.

    A 3-day vehicle pass would increase from $5 to $15 (but for a 7-day pass).  Annual Park passes would increase from $20 to $30 - still a comparative value compared to many recreation options.  Motorcycle and Pedestrian pass fees would also increase.  

    If you are interested in learning more or registering your opinion, please go to ParkPlanning.NPS.gov/GreatFallsParkFees

  • 01 Sep 2014 3:12 PM | Anonymous

    This summer, GFCA launched the Legacy White Oak Tree Project to bring back more white oaks to our community. These majestic trees, which often live more than two hundred years, were once landmarks throughout Great Falls, but development and time have taken their toll. This summer, residents stepped forward to provide contributions for planting new 8-10' white oaks in local parks, churches and at private residences. Orders/donations needed to be placed by Aug 25. As a result of support received, 17 white oaks will be planted in early September including:

    • three oaks in front of the Great Falls library,
    • five at historic Colvin Run Mill,
    • two at Smith Chapel Methodist Church, and
    • six at private homes.
    GFCA will continue this popular community program with a 2015 campaign which will plant trees next spring. Residents who have an interest in this local environment beautification program should watch for announcements at gfca.org early next year.

  • 01 Sep 2014 3:11 PM | Anonymous

    GFCA and other community organizations have been long-time supporters of the concept of Resident Curatorship (RC) as a commonsense solution to the need to preserve historic county-owned buildings, such as the farmhouse on Turner Farm in Great Falls. This summer, Fairfax County released a proposed RC program for comment. After review, the GFCA and the Great Falls Historical Society (GFHS) have joined forces in calling for changes to the proposal.

    GFCA and GFHS formed a Working Group in July to review the nearly 250-page report that Fairfax County developed proposing a county RC program. In a letter to the County sent on Aug 6, GFCA and GFHS called for a stronger set of criteria in selecting historic properties, urged that the Turner Farmhouse be selected as the County's pilot project to demonstrate how the RC plan works, and called for a public hearing so other community groups and residents could comment. The recommendations developed by the GF Working Group also suggested changes to program administration, standards for curator selection, and leasing terms.

    Last year, GFCA passed a resolution supporting the Mark Turner Farmhouse as a primary candidate for the new RC program. This historic home has become a community eyesore with no upkeep since it was acquired by FCPA four years ago. It is hoped that quick action to implement an RC program could lead to restoration of the Turner Farmhouse and other historic structures owned by the County.

  • 28 Jul 2014 8:41 AM | Anonymous

    To spur interest in keeping white oaks part of our community’s future, GFCA has launched the Legacy White Oak Project to plant a new generation of white oaks.  Our initial goal was to plant 8-10 foot white oaks at our local parks.  To that end, we have established agreements with the Fairfax County Park Foundation and the Library Foundation so that residents’ contributions for trees on those properties will be fully tax deductible.  County facilities managers have identified sites in most local parks and at the library.

    Trees will only be planted if residents contribute. The cost of a new tree, mulching, staking and two months of watering is $434.  For the fall 2014 program, contributions must be made by August 25.  (The program will continue tree planting in spring 2015).

    Great Falls residents have responded enthusiastically.  Tree sites at the library were snapped up in the first week.  Donations have been made for oaks at Colvin Run Mill and Riverbend Park.  Sites are still available at these locations and at Nike Park (next to Forestville School) and Lockmead Park (on Riva Ridge Rd).  If you son or daughter is an avid soccer, lacrosse or baseball player, think about donating so a tree at one of the playing fields in honor of their team. Due to construction issues, there will not be tree sites at the Grange and Turner Farm until next year. 

    SGB, the local landscaping company that will plant and water the trees, has agreed to also plant them at local homes and churches, and residents and at least one church have signed up for a white oaks too. It’s not tax deductible of course if you have one planted at your home, but the landscaper will water it or reduce the price if you want to do that yourself.  All trees are guaranteed for a year. We plan to put the 2014 white oaks in the ground in early September. 

    • If you would like to see your oak planted in a local park, make a contribution in one of the three ways listed below and specify which park you would like you tree to be planted.  An acknowledgement letter will be provided to each donor that is suitable for tax purposes.

    1. DONATE BY MAIL. Send check (payable to FCPF) to Fairfax County Park Foundation, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 404, Fairfax, VA 22035  Specify the Great Falls Legacy White Oak Project
    2. DONATE ONLINE Visit www.FairfaxParkFoundation.org.  Click the Donate Now button. At "Direct my donation to:" select Fairfax County Park Foundation from the drop down menu. At "Additional Notes:" enter Great Falls Legacy White Oak Project
    3. DONATE BY PHONE (Visa or MasterCard). Call the Park Foundation at 703-324-8582. Specify gift amount and the Great Falls Legacy White Oak Project. Provide donor and credit card information

    • If you want to have your oak planted at your home or church, contact Bill Canis, GFCA Vice President at bcanis@yahoo.com.  
  • 12 Apr 2014 12:54 PM | Anonymous

    Part I of this program was held in March when Commonwealth and Fairfax County experts discussed the role of deer in forest degradation, Lyme disease and car collisions. At the April Town Hall (April 8th), possible solutions to growing deer populations were explored.

    Expert speakers were:

    • Kevin Rose, certified wildlife biologist with the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, discussed Commonwealth hunting requirements and non-lethal forms of deer control.
    • Kristen Sinclair, Fairfax County Park Authority, outlined deer control in county parks.
    • Jerry Peters, Great Falls resident and founder of Green Fire, described his neighborhood's bow hunting program (Leigh Mill area) and the impact on local deer herds.

The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of the Great Falls Citizens Association

Great Falls Citizens Association
PO Box 27  •  Great Falls, VA  •  22066 

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