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Washington Post Article on Temporary Closure

Here is a nice article from the Washington Post regarding the temporary closure to the reservoir starting this fall.

Washington Post: Loudoun’s Beaverdam Reservoir park to close for two years for repair project

By Jim Barnes July 10

Last Sunday morning, dozens of water enthusiasts arrived at a cramped parking lot, traveling solo or in small groups. They unloaded brightly colored kayaks, paddle boards and canoes from their vehicles and pushed off from a small incline into a shimmering, 600-acre body of water.

A fisherman cast his line from the shore nearby, while another dropped his line from a boat a few hundred yards away. A great blue heron flew back and forth, close to the surface, scanning for food and occasionally landing on the shore to take in the scene.

The tranquility at Beaverdam Reservoir was striking, in part because it is such a short distance from the traffic and bustle of Ashburn. Because the reservoir supplies drinking water for thousands of Loudoun residents, the scene was undisturbed by the sounds of gas-powered watercraft, which are prohibited to protect the water quality.

The park is open daily from dawn to dusk — but not for long, said Susan Crosby, a spokeswoman for Loudoun Water, the utility that owns the reservoir. On Nov. 1, the park will close for two years for repairs that will bring the dam and spillway up to state standards. It will reopen permanently in 2019, she said.

The 1,000-acre public park includes the reservoir and adjacent land, much of which is wooded. Beaverdam is accessible from Mount Hope Road, just west of Belmont Ridge Road, near Ashburn.

Despite getting little publicity, the reservoir is a popular spot for outdoor recreational activities, park manager Dale Riggs said.

“On a busy weekend day, we’re doing 300 or more [visitors] at Mount Hope parking area,” Riggs said.

The most popular water activities are kayaking and paddle boarding, Riggs said, adding that four high school crew teams also practice there. There is a two-mile unpaved hiking trail along the east side of the reservoir, and another trail is planned for the west side, he said.

“We can’t make it a loop [around the reservoir], because the dam is off-limits,” Riggs said.

Before Loudoun Water purchased the reservoir from the city of Fairfax in January 2014, recreational use of the property was not supervised, Loudoun Water spokeswoman Crosby said. In spring 2015, Loudoun Water closed the reservoir for a few months.

“When we bought it, we weren’t really sure what all was there,” Crosby said. “We had to do some exploration on the bottom of the reservoir, look at the dam and spillway . . . and we had to lower the water level. It was kind of an unknown at that point.”

The utility’s primary objective has been to protect the water supply, she said.

“Obviously, we’re concerned with the fact that it is a drinking water reservoir, which is why it’s more of a passive recreation park,” she said.

After completing an assessment of the property, Loudoun Water determined that it was safe to use the reservoir for public recreation, and it partnered with Nova Parks, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, to reopen it last summer.

Loudoun Water and Nova Parks had a community meeting in October to gather input on how the park might be used. About 200 area residents attended, Crosby said, providing comments on topics such as environmental stewardship and education, nature appreciation, hiking, fishing, paddling, rowing and picnicking.

While the park is closed, Loudoun Water will work with Nova Parks to create a land-use plan for the property, drawing on feedback from the community input session, Crosby said.

Crosby said she expects to schedule another community meeting in the next year “to share some preliminary plans of what the park is going to look like when it does reopen.”

“We’re really excited about what this is going to be when we’ve done the repair of the dam, and we can focus on the park,” Crosby said. “It’s such a special place. There’s really nothing else like it in Loudoun County.”

Please keep it safe out on the water!

Sunday June 12, there was an incident on the water. According to eye witness reports, a canoe with three people tipped over. Due to high winds and rough waters the three were unable to get back into the canoe. Local paddleboarders assisted until swift water rescue arrived.

Please wear your life jackets and be aware of weather and water conditions. The reservoir is not your neighborhood pool. There is no life guard, things can go very badly if you do not observe safe boating practices.

Always wear your life vest.

Edit: Here is the news article:

Loudoun Now: Three Rescued from Beaverdam

Official Closing Date Announced – Nov 1, 2016

Enjoy the reservoir all you can this summer, in November it will be shut down for scheduled repairs. I just recieved notification from Chris Pauley, director of park operations at NOVA Parks.

Loudoun Water is on schedule with their planning and preparations for the required repairs needed at Beaverdam Reservoir. Loudoun Water will close and begin drawing down the reservoir on November 1st, 2016. The reservoir will remain closed to public access in 2017 and 2018 with the permanent reopening in 2019.

While two years is a long time to not use the reservoir, there are other great alternatives in the area such as Algonkian and the Occoquan. We’re looking forward to the improvements and the permanent opening in 2019!

Beaverdam Open Longer?

Looks like the reservoir may be open later than through the end of the 2016 season as originally stated. Info from NOVA Parks:

Beaverdam Reservoir, owned by Loudoun Water, is first and foremost a source of public drinking water. Loudoun Water has partnered with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks) to manage recreational activities and public access until the spring/summer of 2017. At that time it will close to complete needed repairs to the infrastructure. After repairs are complete, expected to take approximately 1.5 to 2 years, the property will reopen for public access under the management responsibilities of NOVA Parks.

First NOVA Parks/LW Beaverdam Open House was a huge success!

The first open house for Beaverdam held by NOVA Parks was a huge success. The NOVA parks auditorium was completely filled. By my count there was well over 100 people in attendance. Supervisors Clarke and York were in attendance as well as several NOVA Parks board members and even supervisor candidate Charles King made it out. The rowing teams had the most pronounced turnout but it was a diverse group. After an introduction, short movie and updates from Mark Perterson and Paul Gilbert, the crowd was invited to various stations. At the stations guests were able to learn about various efforts and features, as well as submit their feedback and idea. All in all, it was a fantastic turnout for a cold and rainy night. Thanks everyone for making this a great event!

Beaverdam Open House Oct 27.

Beaverdam Open House 2015

NOVA Parks will be hosting the first Beaverdam Open House session on October 27th. Both Loudoun Water and NOVA Parks staff will be on site to answer questions and more importantly listen to your ideas for the future. Please take time to attend, even if just for a few minutes. You are key to shaping the future.

Save the Date: Oct 27. 2015 6:30-8:30PM – First Stakeholder input session

Loudoun Water and NOVA Parks will be having their first stakeholder input session on October 27. Planned time is 6:30-8:30PM. This will be your chance to talk to the Loudoun Water Staff and the NOVA Parks team. They will be soliciting input for the future of the reservoir. Please make time to come, even if only for a brief time, your voice is very important in shaping the future of the reservoir. More details to come.

A reminder to keep it clean!

A great comment from Oleg, that deserves its own post:

Just a friendly note to fellow fisherman, boaters, and other park visitors of the reservoir.

How dare are you leave behind litter like empty glass and plastic bottles, soda and beer cans, used plastic lures and fishing line on the bank and in the water?

Are you not going to keep coming back to this place again and again?
Are you assuming that the park staff is meant to pick up after you because they collect reservoir usage fees?
What else makes you leave your garbage behind?!

Dear Administration,
Apparently there is an ongoing issue that park users feel to much relaxed about not taking back with them their used items and simply throw it away in the water or leave on it the spot.

Please raise this issue and possibly post warning signs along the park access point about users responsibility for picking up their trash.

I assume there are state-wide fines that can be imposed on people who leave litter in the parks. I little reminder for general awareness should help.

Please don’t litter. If you see litterbugs, report them to park staff. At a Loudoun Water meeting, Chairman Rocca mentioned when he was working with scouts, he asked them to each bring back at least two pieces of litter each time they went out on a hike. If you see trash, pick it up and throw it away. I’ve pulled several hanfulls of broken glass from the launch area myself along with other trash.

Keep the reservoir beautiful.