Loudoun Water, NOVA Parks Share Details of New Beaverdam Facility

Loudoun Water, NOVA Parks Share Details of New Beaverdam Facility
Displays of Beaverdam Reservoir were presented as part of a public open house on Dec. 14. Loudoun Water and NOVA Parks are working to revamp the reservoir with a new facility, including a park.

Beaverdam Reservoir, west of Belmont Ridge Road in Ashburn, will soon be home to a massive, multi-purpose public park and recreational area for Loudoun County.

Loudoun Water and NOVA Parks are developing plans for a new facility that not only provides water, but also houses an area for recreation and education about the ecosystem. Planners are optimistic that it will be completed and available for residents to enjoy by 2019.

The 1,000 acre Beaverdam area, which includes a 600 acre reservoir, presents a unique opportunity for recreation and education. The centerpiece of the new facility will be Reservoir Park, which will include areas for land and water-based recreation while also providing educational opportunities for residents to see the significance of water in the community ecosystem.

The new park will include a variety of amenities from open grassy gathering areas to boardwalks overlooking the water. The walkways will form a looping hard-surface trail that will at times curve over the water, allowing a close-up experience, said Thomas Woltz, a landscape architect working on designs for the project.

“It’s an example of public works as public space.” Thomas Woltz, architect

These walkways will also integrate with an eight-mile soft trail path around the entirety of the reservoir.

There will be a boat storage as well as launch area on the waterfront where visitors can rent kayaks, canoes and paddleboats.

The park will also contain a wall-less shelter that is designed a central gathering point, as well as another educational tool.

Even the parking lot is ecofriendly. The center lanes of the 200-vehicle lot will be tree-lined with a bio-retention garden, which will be watered from rain runoff that is drained to water the trees. Bridges will cross over the garden, further allowing park visitors to see water in action.

All this will be on a facility that services drinking water for much of the county.

“It’s an example of public works as public space,” Woltz said. “It provides appropriate access within a conservation effort that benefits all of us.”

As an important source of the county’s water, parks officials said they will tightly monitor the facility to preserve its quality. While man-powered crafts like paddle boats have negligible impact, the use of boats with motors will be prohibited on the water.

NOVA Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert said his group has already earmarked two thirds of the needed funding for the project.

An ambitious project it its own right, this is part of a larger project to connect Beaverdam with the Loudoun County ecosystem as a whole. Following the completion of the Potomac Supply Program, Loudoun Water’s new facilities and systems that will access water directly from the river itself, planners envision Beaverdam as integrating into a nearly countywide ecosystem and parks program. Along with existing recreation infrastructure such as the W & OD Trail, planners are hoping for an interconnected system with the potential for trails and public access from Beaverdam all the way to the Potomac.

In the meantime, the focus remains on Beaverdam. The reservoir was in bad shape after it was a acquired by Loudoun Water a few years ago from the City of Fairfax. It is being drained now for repairs, and will be closed to the public in 2017. Afterwards, the water will be refilled, and construction is scheduled to begin in 2018.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to bring a really fantastic recreational resource, and ecological resource, to all the people who are going to use it and enjoy it for generations to come,” Gilbert said.