A ceremony was held Saturday marking the reopening of the Appalachian Trail's original route near Paris in Fauquier County.

The National Park Service moved about one mile of the trail from a fire road to a high point of the Blue Ridge Mountains with views of Middleburg and Upperville after buying a 445-acre parcel of forest, open fields and farms in Fauquier and Clarke counties for $1.2 million in 2003.

The land was part of the 1,400-acre Ovoka Farm purchased in 2000 by the Piedmont Environmental Council for $6 million from Middleburg real estate broker Philip Thomas, who decided to put the farm in the hands of environmentalists.

The Park Service purchase lies along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains at Ashby Gap, once the gateway for Americans heading west. It includes the scenic acreage where a young George Washington lived and did survey work in the mid-1700s.

The view includes 100 acres of open fields, forests and streams of the Virginia Piedmont and the Loudoun Valley, the Route 50 corridor, Lonesome Mountain, Crooked Run Valley and the Bull Run and Cobbler mountains, the council said.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) and Blue Ridge Wildlife Center's Peggy Coontz release Freedom, a red-tailed hawk, at Appalachian Trail reopening in Paris.