New Easement Protects Little Hunting Creek Site

The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust is scheduled to sign a conservation easement tomorrow with Betsy Martin and Paul Siegel protecting in a natural state a waterfront parcel on Little Hunting Creek.

In a news release, Conservation Trust officials said the easement will mark the second property protected by the group on Little Hunting Creek, a major Potomac River watershed with tidal waters.

"This is a great continuation of efforts by individuals in the Little Hunting Creek watershed to help restore the health of this water body by keeping it in a natural state, free from development," Whit Field, director of land protection for the Conservation Trust, said in the news release.

Siegel and Martin, who are married, have been active in efforts to restore and preserve Little Hunting Creek. They formed the Friends of Little Hunting Creek, which conducts cleanup events and advocates for creek preservation, and have assisted with county efforts to develop a plan to improve water quality in the Little Hunting Creek watershed.

The Conservation Trust has preserved over 1,300 acres in Northern Virginia.

Park Authority to Develop

Occoquan Water Trail

On Saturday, which is National Trails Day, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority plans to announce development of the Occoquan Water Trail, a regional trail project on a 40-mile stretch of water from Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville to Pohick Bay Regional Park on Mason Neck in southern Fairfax County.

The Occoquan Water Trail will link seven Northern Virginia regional parks, two Fairfax and Prince William County parks, two National Wildlife Refuges, a state park and the Potomac Water Trail.

At the conclusion of a six-mile kayak trip on the Occoquan River Saturday, co-hosted by the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust and the regional park authority, there will be a news briefing at Fountainhead Regional Park to describe the new water trail, as well as advocate for a Friends of the Occoquan Water Trail group to provide long-term stewardship of the project.

According to a news release, people wishing to participate in the kayak trip, from 9 a.m. to noon before to the news briefing, should call the Conservation Trust at 703-354-5093 to register. Kayak instructors and equipment will be provided; no previous experience is necessary. The kayak trip costs $38 a participant. Participants are encouraged to bring drinking water, sunscreen and a hat.

"Water trails are all about encouraging people to get out and enjoy the recreational and wildlife and spectacular scenery of our rivers. The Occoquan River is particularly important because it is the drinking water source to over 1 million area residents," Bill Dickinson, chairman of the regional park authority, said in the news release.

-- Compiled by DIANE MATTINGLY and STEPHEN C. FEHR