A sprawling park replete with picnic tables, a soccer field and an equestrian area is a five-minute drive away.

A self-contained recreation complex with a 50-foot-long, eight-lane pool, a multipurpose room with mirrors and a gymnasium is 15 minutes away.

And less than 20 minutes away from wherever a resident of Prince William County lives is a golf course.

This is the bold vision of Prince William County's first 12-year comprehensive plan for recreation and parks -- putting all residents close to a recreational facility.

"I love it," said county Supervisor John D. Jenkins (D-Woodbridge). "{The number of} recreational facilities has to grow with the rest of the county."

But there may be a catch to the plan: $96 million is needed to purchase land and build facilities by 2000, a sum that even the drafters of the plan say is difficult to obtain.

"Whether it can be achieved is very doubtful," said Patrick Mulhern, planning director for the county's Park Authority. "But that is what we need."

The 226-page draft of the plan, which included a study of the recreational needs of the county, calls for 35 new parks encompassing 1,200 acres, two $8.5 million recreation centers, an 18-hole golf course, a nine-hole golf course, an indoor sports complex, a water park and an ice skating rink.

"It's a need list," Mulhern said. "If it was a wish list, we would want to double the number of parks."

Plans for the two recreation centers, which would be built near Manassas and Lakeridge, already are under way. The Park Authority Board has approved building the two and the county board will vote on the centers early next year.

The recreation centers, which would include a children's pool, youth lounge and nursery, would be funded by revenue bonds and debt financing. The opening of the centers, which would charge a nominal fee, is planned for 1991.

According to the draft, which was completed in June after more than a year of study, the demand for recreation will increase as the population of the county grows from 190,000 this year to 277,000 by 2000.

The draft report, which will go before the park board for a public hearing and vote on Dec. 16, states that present needs are not being met and calls for $39 million in capital improvement funds for the first year of the plan.

Using standards derived from national and state measures for determining recreational needs, the draft report states that the county needs 652 more acres of land and $39 million to adequately satisfy the county's immediate recreational demands.

"This county is sorely lacking in recreational facilities based upon population figures," Mulhern said, explaining that about 13.8 acres is needed for a population of 1,000.

The county operates 37 parks encompassing 2,500 acres. The report states, however, that the bulk of the acreage is undeveloped.

For example, the report cites 265 acres of neighborhood parkland in the county serving a population of 190,000. But only 77.7 acres are developed, lowering usable land per 1,000 population from 1.4 to 0.4 acres. The recommended standard is two acres of neighborhood parkland for a population of 1,000.

To generate quick revenue for the immediate park needs, the report suggests a $40 million to $50 million recreation bond referendum. The report states, however, that "a park bond referendum of that size is not realistic to expect."

Instead, the park authority is expected to obtain $4 million to $6 million capital improvement money each year from the county to purchase land and construct basic recreational facilities.

Larger projects would be funded by individual project revenue bonds and debt financing, as the recreation centers would be. The rest of the money or land needed would come from donations, contributions and private investments.

According to the draft, the plan is not a "green bible for parks," but rather a flexible guide to decision making that would change year to year.

"I don't think there will be any opposition to the plan," Jenkins said. "People don't want to go to Fairfax or anywhere else for their recreational needs."