Gov. helps open hiking trails at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve

Exploring Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve’s mature forests and scenic overlooks by foot has finally gotten easier.

Nearly a decade after its nearly 3,000 acres nestled between Accokeek and Potomac creeks in Stafford County, Virginia were dedicated as a preserve, eight miles of hiking trails have officially opened to the public. They can be used Thursdays through Sundays.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe was on hand for the ceremony, and helped unveil the new “Hiking Crow’s Nest” sign. It features a map showing the trails through some of the best deciduous hardwood forests remaining in the state’s coastal plains.

“This is a great day for Virginia,” he told the approximately 40 attendees. “This is such a special place for us.”

Protecting Crow’s Nest has been one of Stafford’s, and the state’s, highest land conservation priorities for years. The high, narrow peninsula contains 50 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands, which account for 60 percent of all the marshes in the county. It also includes 2,200 acres of mature hardwood forest, including two forest types recognized as globally rare by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage Program.

Bald eagles nest there; it provides habitat for numerous plant species—Dutchman’s breeches and spring beauty are currently in bloom; and the land played an important role in National American, Colonial and Civil War histories in Virginia.

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