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Huntley Meadows Boardwalk Closing For Replacement | News

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Huntley Meadows Boardwalk Closing For Replacement
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From Fairfax County Park Authority:

Each year, approximately 200,000 visitors come to Huntley Meadows Park, a rich, natural island in the suburban sea of Northern Virginia in Alexandria.  Its 1,500 acres harbor majestic forests, wildflower-speckled meadows and vast wetlands bursting with life. Some of the best wildlife watching in the Washington metropolitan area is enjoyed here. In fact, Huntley Meadows is well known as a prime birding spot, with over 200 species identified in the park

Most visitors head for the half mile wetland boardwalk trail and observation tower to enjoy excellent views of beavers, frogs, dragonflies and herons.  However, this August and September large sections of the boardwalk will close for repairs.  Visitors will still have the opportunity to take advantage of programs held in the Nature Center but even nearby trails may be closed temporarily to accommodate the much needed capital project. Visitors will always be able to access some part of the wetland and set foot on at least a section of the boardwalk, but may have to walk through the forest on the Cedar or Deer Trail to do so.

The current boardwalk was completed in 1993, making it 18 years old.  The lifespan for pressure-treated lumber exposed to the elements is typically 15 years.  So although the support structure underneath will last another 12 to 15 years, the surface boards all need replacement.  Work will not include any changes to the existing path or placement of the boardwalk.

All surface boards and both observation platforms are being replaced.  The new boards are made from 100% high density poly-ethylene (HDPE), 90% of which comes from recycled milk jugs.  This is the most environmentally friendly, non-toxic plastic “lumber” product on the market and is used nationwide by parks and wildlife refuges. 

The scale of this project is large, requiring one million screws and 1,000 truck trips from the parking lot to the boardwalk.  Project costs are $600,000 and funding is provided through the voter-approved 2008 park bond. Set-up and temporary trail closures will begin in July.

For more information about this project or park programs, call 703-768-2525 or visit online at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/huntley/

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