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Albemarle County Recognizes Land Donations Made to Parks & Recreation Department

On April 5, 2017, at its regular Board meeting, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors publicly recognized and expressed its appreciation for land donations made to the County over the years. Landowners who offer land to the County typically have a specific purpose in mind. The purpose might be to ensure that the land will always be pristine and undeveloped. The offer might be for recreational playing fields. Most of the time, offers are made because an owner wants to pass on land to an entity that can be trusted to ensure the desired use in perpetuity. The legacy these land donations have left to Albemarle County is meaningful and lasting.

“On behalf of my father and mother, and my brothers and sisters, please accept our heartfelt appreciation for the truly outstanding work Albemarle County has done in establishing the park and carrying forth this lasting legacy to my father and mother,” said Jim Byrom, regarding the Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park. “I frequently visit the park and it brings deep joy to reflect on our family farm and know that no greater purpose could have been served by our family's farm than to provide a means for the public to likewise enjoy the same beautiful mountain land that makes up the park.”

“I’m proud to be recognizing the individuals and entities who have donated land to Albemarle County,” said Board of Supervisor member Ann Mallek. “These lands and the natural resources they represent are protected and preserved for use for today's residents and future generations. Our day-to-day lives are becoming increasingly complex and the need for simple, healthy time outdoors is vital. The health of our community depends on the preservation and access to these places."

Albemarle County is appreciative of the generosity and commitment to community demonstrated by land donors. As stated in our vision statement, the County envisions a community with abundant natural, rural, historic, and scenic resources. These land donations provide increased opportunities for outdoor recreation for our residents and visitors as well as the protection and management of Albemarle’s natural resources. Our extensive park system is a reflection of our efforts to be good stewards of the beautiful natural environment of our County. Among those recognized were:

Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park Robert M. Byrom 600
William S.D. Woods Natural Heritage Area Montgomery Bird Woods and Jose Lambert 410
Hedgerow Park Jane Heyward 340
Buck Island Creek Park Tom Dingledine 122
Rivanna Reservoir United Land Corporation 5.5
Ivy Creek Natural Area Elizabeth L. Langhorne 2+
Milton Boat Launch Charles W.M. Hurt and Shirley L. Fisher as Trustees for Virginia Land Company  


In 2006, Robert M. Byrom gifted the County with 600-acre Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park, in western Albemarle County, in memory of his beloved wife, Patricia Ann Byrom. The land had a history of private recreational uses and was offered to the County for development of trails and horse paths. Today the park boasts several miles of multi-use trails for hiking, running, mountain biking and horseback riding.


In 2013, Montgomery Bird Woods and Jose Lambert, owners of the 410-acre Arrowhead Farm near the Southern and Western Development Areas, offered the land to the County for a rural area park. While the County accepted the donation of the land, because the property contains a rare and endangered species, the County maintains it as a conservation property. With acceptance of Arrowhead Farms, now known as the William S.D. Woods Natural Heritage Area, the Board of Supervisors set a new direction for the County in considering ownership of properties for preservation purposes as opposed to traditional recreational purposes. 


The Hedgerow Property is a 340-acre tract located on the west side of US Route 29 near Interstate 64 and is adjacent to the 980-acre Ragged Mountain Natural Area, a natural area owned by the City of Charlottesville which serves as a buffer to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. The Hedgerow Property was conveyed to The Nature Conservancy by deed of gift on December 29, 2006, by the late Jane Heyward for the purpose ultimately transferring to the County once the County was in a position to accept.

As currently envisioned, the Hedgerow Property will be designed and developed as a multi-use trail park and will provide a variety of recreation opportunities while preserving the scenic and open-space resources adjacent to the Ragged Mountain Reservoir property. A park master plan for the site is necessary but the possibility exists for a network of several miles of multi-use trails that would lead visitors to overlooks, features, and areas of natural/historical interest.


The 122-acre Buck Island Creek property, located near Fluvanna County, was a gift to County from Tom Dingledine. Mr. Dingledine’s intention was that the property would be used by the general public for outdoor recreation, river access and trail use consistent with a Conservation Easement which is held and maintained by The Nature Conservancy. Future plans for the property include the development of an access road, parking area, boat ramp, and multi-use public recreational trails for hiking, running, mountain biking and horseback riding.


This gift of over five acres by the United Land Corporation in March of 2016 provides a managed public boat launch, shoreline finishing opportunities, and a day use area on the Rivanna Reservoir. The access provided by this donation relieves the poor and somewhat dangerous access currently being used.


Elizabeth L. Langhorne gifted over two acres to The Ivy Creek Nature Area, a jointly owned County/City facility. The donation provided additional preservation and stream buffer protection to the existing park.


The County is in the process of enhancing the public access point to the Rivanna River at Milton Landing, four miles south of Darden Towe Park. Charles WM Hurt and Shirley L. Fisher as Trustees for Virginia Land Company donated over an acre of adjoining land making the Milton Boat Launch easier to use and maintain. Improvements to the boat launch allow for increased parking and better access to and from the Rivanna River.

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