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City purchases 142 acres of land adjacent to Ragged Mountain to expand parkland

Post Date:10/24/2019 12:02 PM
City Seal
Media Contact
Chris Gensic
Parks and Trails Planner Charlottesville Parks & Recreation
434-970-3656
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2019

City purchases 142 acres of land adjacent to Ragged Mountain to expand parkland

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - The City of Charlottesville has purchased 142 acres of forested land adjacent to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir property, also owned by the City. The land is also adjacent to the Foxhaven Farm property, Birdwood Golf course and the Boar’s Head Inn Properties owned by the University of Virginia and the UVA Foundation.

The City, with help from the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Virginia Department of Forestry, pursued and was awarded a federal USDA Community Forest Program grant through the US Forest Service for $562,500 to purchase the land, and added $37,500 to bring the total paid to $600,000. The owner, Louisa Heyward, agreed to donate the remaining value of the land (a value over $500,000) at no cost. Her land gift is inspired by her mother’s generosity in giving land for public enjoyment, including trails around the reservoir and property in Lovingston. The Heywards previously donated the land for the future Hedgerow Park in Albemarle County just south of Interstate 64 from Ragged Mountain, and the property known as “Foxhaven Farm” now managed by UVA, as well as providing the land for the original lower parking lot at Ragged Mountain in the 1990’s.

“The Heyward property went up for sale a few years ago and we were actively working with Charlottesville Parks and Recreation staff to try to find a conservation outcome for the property," said Rex Linville, Land Conservation Officer with the Piedmont Environmental Council. "Then last year we saw that the USDA Community Forestry Program offered grants to acquire property just like this and we knew it was a perfect fit.”

The land is undeveloped forested land with rock outcrops and mountainous topography. It is intended to be used for environmental education, forest preservation, and trail purposes. There will be a community planning effort to develop a Community Forest Plan that will include programs aimed to bring local school students to the property to learn about forests, geology, wildlife, and other environmental sciences. The effort will include input and guidance from the Virginia Department of Forestry and will also include a trail network layout.

There will be 100 volunteers from UVA’s APO co-ed community service fraternity on site this Saturday, October 26 to open the first section of trail into the property as well as to begin the process of removing invasive plants from the property. The larger trail network will be developed after completion of the Community Forest Plan.

This transaction demonstrates how organizations like PEC can work with local governments to help implement the public’s demand for additional spaces to spend time in nature. The City’s acceptance of the Heyward property is another example of the way effective partnerships between public agencies and private non-profits can deliver results, such as the April 2016 acquisition of 27 acres of parkland along Moores Creek near Azalea Park.

Click here for map of area

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