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Bull Run Mountain Conservancy

Bull Run Mountain Conservancy

For Release to Media: October 21, 2008
Contact: Michael Kieffer, Executive Director, (703) 753-2631, michaelkieffer@fobr.org

Bull Run Mountains Conservancy (BRMC) is so proud of the Herculean efforts of our members and friends to attempt to establish a 500 acre Silver Lake Natural Recreation Area (SLNRA). First, thanks to their efforts, and those of Sean Connaughton (the Chairman of the BOCS at the time), the developer of Dominion Valley was persuaded to proffer the entire 317 acre Silver Lake parcel to the county—leaving 233 acres for parks, open space and recreation. The original Dominion Valley proffer supported by the Planning Commission would have allowed 12 lake front homes to be built and would have cut off all public access to the lake.

Second, our members' and friends' efforts aided the fight to hold the developer's feet to the fire and complete the environmental remediation of the old quarry site on the property, prior to its conveyance to the County. Without their support, the County would have had to foot that bill.

Third, their efforts so encouraged our land donor that the 268 acres we hoped would be part of SLNRA has been permanently preserved in an open space easement for a one family farm. No subdivision will be built on that environmentally sensitive land.

Fourth, and most important, their past, current, and future vigilance will guarantee that Silver Lake will only be used for passive recreational uses. These uses have been agreed upon by County staff, Prince William County Park Authority staff, BRMC representatives, and Nokesville Horse Society representatives. The complete list of these passive recreation uses can be viewed at BRMC's Web site, www.brmconservancy.org .

Bull Run Mountains Conservancy has worked diligently for over 8 years to create a 500 acre Silver Lake Natural Recreation Area. We recently worked with the County Executive and the Prince William County Park Authority (PWCPA) staff on a compromise proposal. After shaking hands on the proposal in principle, the PWCPA staff changed course on August 4, 2008.

BRMC continued to seek a compromise proposal in late August. This proposal can be viewed on our web site. On September 17, 2008 PWCPA Board voted to adopt a resolution, which was strongly recommended by its Executive Director, that rejected all compromise proposals and required all 233 acres to be owned by the Park Authority.

Four members of the Board of County Supervisors have been very supportive of BRMC's efforts, but four others remain solidly against creating the 500 acre Silver Lake Natural Recreation Area through a public–private partnership.

This leaves the ownership and operation of Silver Lake in a permanent deadlocked position. Michael Kieffer, Executive Director of BRMC, states "Mr. Covington and Mr. Stewart have stated in meetings that they would not support any proposal if Mr. Stirrup did not support it. Mr. Stirrup has remained steadfast against creating a public–private partnership with BRMC to own and operate a 500 acre Silver Lake Natural Recreation Area.”

According to Mr. Kieffer, Mr. Stirrup and his Planning Commissioner, Martha Hendley, were not supportive in BRMC's original negotiations with the developer to proffer the entire 233 acres for parks, open space and recreation, and have remained unsupportive ever since.

BRMC only wished to create a 500 acre Silver Lake Natural Recreation Area for the public, for you, the citizen, to enjoy. We never intended to delay the opening of Silver Lake to the public.

At this point, our continued involvement can only further delay opening the property to the public. Therefore, regrettably, we formally remove our offer/proposal from consideration by the County Board of Supervisors. We and our members, eagerly await the Prince William County Park Authority's opening of a 233 acre Silver Lake passive recreation park next spring.

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