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The original item was published from 10/30/2020 2:59:04 PM to 1/1/2021 12:00:14 AM.

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Parks & Recreation News

Posted on: October 30, 2020

[ARCHIVED] City Opens New Trail on 142 Acres of New Parkland Adjacent to Ragged Mountain

Kids Hike Heyward Community Forest


October 30, 2020

Property for these trails was obtained with funding assistance from the US Department of Agriculture

CHARLOTESVILLE, VIRGINIA - The City of Charlottesville is pleased to announce the opening of 142 acres of forested land adjacent to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir property.  Property for these trails was obtained with funding assistance from the US Department of Agriculture Community Forest Grant program. The land consists of undeveloped forest with rock outcrops and mountainous topography. Intended uses will be for environmental education, forest preservation, and trail purposes.

In September of this year, new trails opened providing the public opportunities to explore and enjoy the new property while following proper social distancing practices. 2 miles of new trails were recently constructed through a joint community effort. Members of various trail groups including the Rivanna Trails Foundation spent time scouting the property to identify proper trail alignments. The Center for Urban Habitats performed an ecosystem assessment of the property to identify areas for trail to avoid or to purposely showcase for environmental education and public enjoyment.

Last fall, 100 volunteers from UVA’s APO co-ed community service fraternity opened the first section of trail into the property which also included the donation of a dozen benches and beginning the removal of invasive plants. 

This past August, AMPPL professional trail building company opened a new half mile long trail connecting the lower parking lot over to the long existing Roundtop Mountain/Boar’s Head trails. This work included clearing fallen trees and cutting in the primary trail bench along the contours of the hillside.  After the primary route was roughly cleared by AMPPL, volunteers from UVA, Western Albemarle High School, and Darden School followed behind trimming the trail and finished grading the contours. The Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards continue to help with removal of invasive plants.

Donations were made by the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club, Charlottesville Track Club, and Charlottesville Area Trail Runners to help cover the costs of the professional trail building. More volunteer work will continue this Fall to develop new trails on the property, particularly a stream-side trail along Reservoir Road that will allow users to access both Heyward and Ragged Mountain without having to walk, jog or bike along upper Reservoir Road.

Small groups of preschool and elementary children recently toured the land on the new trails to learn about forests, geology and stream ecology. They then drew hand-made pictures of what they saw on their hike along with making thank you cards for the former property owner who generously donated half its value to the public as parkland.

To visit the property, park in the lower parking lot at Heyward Community Forest, 1760 Reservoir Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903.  For more information, please visit


Media Contact
Chris Gensic
Parks and Trails Planner
(434) 970-3656

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