Hollin Hills Parks Preservation
“What is the 'genius' in the County's plan to fill the gullies with imported sediment up to a depth of 12 feet to replace all of that which the streams have spent the past several decades washing downstream, thus making more sediment available to wash downstream and potentially doubling the harm to Chesapeake Bay?” - John Field, PhD, March 7, 2021.
“Hollin Hills incorporated [an] idea almost unheard-of at the time, namely the establishment of parklands through an owners’ corporation set up to hold such lands in joint tenancy. Such parklands were chosen in such a way as to preserve natural drainage channels and, in the words of one-time Goodman associate and Hollin Hills resident Eason Cross, to make some 'intelligent choices of places to surrender land to natural needs rather than attempting to civilize it.'"
- Hollin Hills: A History into the Fourth Decade, compiled from diverse sources by Marion Tiger, at page 20, CAHH 1989.
Read the tree matrix report of Keith Pitchford about the expected construction impacts
on 171 "saved" trees that can be expected to die in 3-5 years from project mismanagement.
Read the tree matrix report of Certified Arborist Keith Pitchford about the expected construction impacts on 171 "saved" trees in the parks due to project mismanagement. Detailed diagrams are under the "Hear From Experts" tab.
Hollin Hills Parks Preservation has made the decision to withdraw its legal efforts to save tree and animal habitats in our wooded parks. The determination was made because irreparable harm has already occurred and will continue to occur as a result of Fairfax County’s storm water projects. The effort, undertaken by HHPP, was supported by the majority of residents in Hollin Hills.
Protesting the felling of trees is an admirable cause. Saving wooded areas is essential to climate health. Specifically relating to Hollin Hills, the symbiotic relationship between tree and house is a nurturing circle. Unfortunately, this relationship is being eroded.
CAHH mismanaged the care of Goodman and Brickelmaier parks. It further abdicated its responsibility by a dubious granting of easements to Fairfax County for the purpose of storm water management, improving water quality and removing nonnative species. Both CAHH and the county teamed a marketing message, it will be pretty and “you don’t have to pay for it,” paired with fear tactics. Without testing for contaminants, using theoretical modeling, the county proceeded with false claims the streams were polluted. This green-lighted a project that is antiquated, expensive, destructive to habitat, creates a large carbon footprint and doesn’t meet the very important goal of decreasing pollutant runoff to the Chesapeake Bay. The county rejected successful, less costly and less damaging solutions. Ultimately, the county took the path of forcing streams to accommodate problematic storm water runoff rather than addressing the problem, as enlightened counties have done.
The casualties of the project are many. The loss of animal and (mature) tree habitats and increased sun heat gain are tragic. And the schism in the community will take a long time to heal.
Dear Hollin Hills Neighbors and Friends,
Hollin Hills Parks Preservation (HHPP) was created in 2019 to give voice to the protection of Hollin Hills parks. Goodman, Brickelmaier and Paul Spring parks are imminently threatened by a “restoration” project funded by Fairfax County at the request of the Civic Association of Hollin Hills (CAHH). Although the parklands were deeded to the CAHH specifically to be developed and maintained as park areas for the benefit of all residents of Hollins Hills Subdivision, the CAHH recently deeded construction, floodplain, and storm drainage easements to the County without consulting the community. Without addressing the amount of stormwater entering or leaving the parks, the County project will reshape the terrain, cut down hundreds of trees, clearcut the park entrances, destroy animal habitats, and permanently remove the old growth canopy that shades the park and neighboring homes. Many tons of huge boulders will be brought in to “armor” the trickling streams, tons of sediment will be added to the parks (though a primary goal of the projects is to remove sediment flowing to the Chesapeake Bay), and permanent maintenance roads will be installed. The easements state that use of the deeded land in the future will not be permitted without prior written permission of the County.
HHPP’s experts, including John Field PhD, who grew up in Hollin Hills and is a world-renowned fluvial geomorphologist, have patiently explained to the community and to the County that there is a better way. With 256 Hollin Hills households (to date) signing a petition advocating a gentler touch in resolving erosion issues in the parks, HHPP approached the County and the CAHH. We made little progress in changing their minds. Therefore, HHPP has filed a lawsuit against CAHH and the Board of Supervisors in Fairfax Circuit Court with the purpose of setting aside the illegal easements. The goal is to save our historic parks, initiate a better approach to restoration, and to have a positive impact on the environment. The good news is that it can be accomplished.
We are asking you to stand with us in protecting our historic parks and to help us steer the “stream restoration” initiative onto an enlightened path. Walk with us. Thank you.