The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is proposing to buy 20 acres near Vienna for use as a future arboretum and landscaped garden to go with the 74-acre farm that New Deal economist Gardiner Means and his wife, author Caroline Ware Means, are giving to the regional park agency.

A matching grant of $200,000 in federal land and water conservation funds is being requested by the park authority, through the Virginia Commission on Outdoor Recreation, to help pay the estimated $500,000 cost of the land.

The property, just north of Vienna and near Wolf Trap Farm Park and the Dulles Access Road at Meadow Lark and Beulah roads, is now fields and a few trees and is owned by a development firm.

"This is a crucial corner that should be part of the park, of the Means farm and where we propose an arboretum that another donation, that of Joe Flakne, will help pay for," park authority executive director Darrell Winslow said last week. The arboretum will not be built for a number of years.

Flakne, 82, a naturalist who lives on Mason Neck, last year announced he was donating his log cabin and land overlooking the Potomac River to the park authority to sell and help build an arboretum. The Meanses announced their donation in 1980.

The park site is near the W&OD bike trail the regional park authority has made into a linear park stretching from Alexandria to the Blue Ridge Mountains on the old railroad right of way. The park agency ultimatedly hopes to build a path connecting the trail and the Means farm and arboretum.