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Fairfax County

Profiles in Conservation: Cafferty Indian Run

In 2005, NVCT began working with Tom Cafferty, a commercial real estate developer, on conservation options for an office park in Fairfax County. Through a number of years and certainly a few challenges, Tom created something very unique to benefit the employees working in the buildings on site.


With over 400 employees working on the property, Tom sees donating an easement as beneficial to those in the workplace. Indian Run is an outdoor environment in an urbanized setting with a walking trail for both employees and community members to experience. The forested area contains two streams and a park, Cafferty Indian Run encourages passive recreation in a natural setting.


In protecting the 5.5 acres of Indian Run, Tom not only put the health and well-being of his tenants first, but also provided an important refuge for wildlife and plant species in an otherwise heavily-developed area of Fairfax County.

As the Northern Virginia area continues to grow and develop, it’s going to take ingenuity like this and a creative vision similar to what Tom brought to the table in order to save nearby nature for future generations in our region.


NVCT Conservation Celebration at The Winery at Bull Run

We had a wonderful conservation celebration thanks to Jon Hickox, owner of The Winery at Bull Run, for his vision and leadership in conserving the historic property adjacent to the winery. 90 acres of critical land and habitat has been preserved in perpetuity through a conservation easement with NVCT. This will protect the winery’s incredible views and historic setting for future generations of Northern Virginia residents. While many places around us are changing, this important landscape will remain.


More than 100 attendees heard inspiring remarks from the Executive Director of NVCT, Alan Rowsome, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Joshua Saks, Fairfax County Supervisor, Kathy Smith, Chairman of NVCT Board of Supervisors, Gary Kirkbride, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova, and Owner of The Winery at Bull Run, Jon Hickox. Several other political leaders representing Northern Virginia and surrounding communities attended to witness the great announcement of a new piece of property protected forever. 

NVCT partners with NOVA Parks for new riverfront easement

NVCT’s newest conservation easement is on land within the boundaries of the Pohick Bay Regional Park that was recently acquired by Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks). The property along Pohick Bay had been in private ownership since before the regional park was formed, and will be incorporated into the park.


“Pohick Bay Regional Park is one of the most popular outdoor recreation sites in Northern Virginia, so we couldn’t be happier to partner with NOVA parks in enhancing it,” says NVCT Executive Director Alan Rowsome. “As our region continues to grow and develop, it is critical that we set aside and protect natural lands such as this as an investment in our future.” Read more about the ribbon-cutting event in the Connection Newspaper.

Saving Nearly 700 Acres of Nearby Nature in Fairfax County

The Trust’s work started in Fairfax County in 1994, and we now hold 42 conservation easements and own three parcels. We protect important land in a county that has experienced incredible development and growth.


Land conservation preserves open space, enhances tree canopy, and protects water quality. More than half of NVCT’s portfolio includes riparian protection areas, or the land along the river or stream bank. This natural solution helps curb the effects of polluted runoff and subsequently helps the county reach its Chesapeake Bay ordinance goals.


These lands also provide wildlife habitat and have an important role as part of the green corridors of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. For example, the wetlands on one parcel owned by the Trust protects properties far inland by reducing storm impacts on land areas.

Landowners in Fairfax have worked with NVCT to protect notable sites like these:


  • Five properties bordering the Potomac River;

  • Seven historic sites, including Oak Hill in Annandale, the historic farmhouse at Thompson Farm, Eight Oaks in McLean, the Oakton Trolley, and Four Stairs in Great Falls;

  • A conservation easement along Indian Run Stream Valley that protects undeveloped wooded land that could have been a site for heavy industry;

  • Conservation land in the heart of McLean;

  • The 226-acre Elklick Woodlands Natural Area Preserve, owned by Fairfax County Park Authority, is a rare type of forest that has nearly disappeared across the globe; 

  • Dozens of properties that protect designated Chesapeake Bay Areas along streams, have a positive impact on water quality and habitat downstream.

NVCT has been closely involved with the planning process recently for public use of open space at three locations in Fairfax County:


  • Considering the use of 41.5 acres surrounding Salona, the iconic historic property in McLean, as parkland, on land with a conservation easement;

  • Participating in neighborhood meetings that resulted in a conservation-minded outcome for a streamside parcel placed for sale;

  • Contributing to the park planning process for the seven-acre Ruckstuhl property, which NVCT conserved with landowner Dr. Lily Ruckstuhl and then transferred into public ownership.

NVCT is available to hear about community concerns as well as to talk with landowners about protecting important lands.

Open space and Natural Areas in Fairfax County


This map shows public land and parks in bright green, NVCT conserved lands marked with blue dots, and other private easements in dark green.

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