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Great Falls Family Makes Important Land Conservation Donation to the Northern Virginia Conservation

Updated: Oct 31, 2023



Press Release

For Immediate Release: October 30, 2023

Contacts:

Northern Virginia Conservation Trust

Aaron Kershaw

akershaw@nvct.org / (703) 462-9572




[Great Falls, Fairfax County, Dranesville District] - The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is pleased to announce its newest conservation success in Great Falls. The property in the Dranesville District of Fairfax County within the Pond Branch watershed spans over 13 acres and features a mix of forest and agricultural fields. It will now be protected for all time by a conservation easement donated to NVCT. The property will continue to serve as a wildlife-safe haven that simultaneously minimizes flooding, improves air quality, and preserves native plant life for all time.


The Hardman family are the long-time owners and stewards of the property, and they shared a statement highlighting their love for their home and appreciation to those who assisted in its perpetual protection.


"Over the thirty years we've lived in Great Falls, the disappearance of our area's pastures and woodlands has heightened our appreciation of our own property's woods, rolling terrain, and creekbed. Our many large trees improve air quality, provide relief from the intense summer heat, and provide a safe habitat for wildlife,” the family said.

NVCT began working with the Hardman family over a year ago to see if their dream for the future of the property could become a reality. The family was excited about the opportunity to protect the land with a conservation easement specific to their family's goals, and in finding such an opportunity, have left a lasting natural legacy for future generations.



The Hardman family reflects kindly on working with NVCT to protect their family’s property and legacy. "...A pleasure to work with NVCT to establish this conservation easement. Their thoroughness, expertise, and patience have guided us through this intense process. We specifically wish to thank Matt Gerhart, Conservation Director of NVCT, their board members, staff, donors, and supporters for understanding our preferences and making it possible for us to achieve our preservation goals. NVCT has been an outstanding organization that has guided us in reaching our goals."



The main house, built in 1979 and expanded over time by the Hardmans, sits nestled within an expansive matrix of natural lands surrounding the Potomac Gorge. The area teems with wildlife, with regular sightings of a wide range of mammals and resident and migratory birds. The Virginia Department of Fish and Game's Fish and Wildlife Information Service (FWIS) has noted the presence of several wildlife species of concern nearby, including the little brown bat and tri-colored bat, both state-endangered species, and the wood turtle, a state-listed threatened species.


The property hosts segments of Mine Run, a tributary directly connected to the Potomac River, approximately one mile away, including areas recognized by the state and county as critical to maintaining watershed quality. The easement will permanently protect the Run’s riparian buffers, a focal point of regional protection efforts due to their ability to clean our waters and host the inhabiting species that rely on them. The property also includes over 6 acres designated as the Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area (RPA) by Fairfax County and around 8 acres covered by tree canopy, primarily consisting of large diameter overstory trees of good quality and a wide range of native species.


"It’s unusual to get such a mix of agricultural and forest values protected along with a critical stream,” said NVCT Conservation Director Matt Gerhart. “We feel grateful to the Hardmans for taking such an important step for the sake of the property and Great Falls’ future.”

The conservation easement also represents a successful collaboration in the region resulting from a partnership between NVCT, the region’s local land trust, and the Georgetown Pike Rural Preservation Trust, a new, local volunteer effort to protect and enhance the Georgetown Pike corridor. “We are also grateful for the support and guidance provided by Henry Lippincott and the Georgetown Pike Rural Preservation Trust," the Hardman family said in a statement.


The new conservation easement on the property will protect it from future development, preserving its natural habitat and agricultural value while helping to maintain its scenic, open space and historic significance.



ABOUT NORTHERN VIRGINIA CONSERVATION TRUST


The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is a nonprofit land trust dedicated to protecting the natural, historic, and scenic resources of Northern Virginia for the benefit of current and future generations. Since its founding in 1994, NVCT has protected nearly 9,000 acres in urban and rural areas. Through collaborative partnerships and strategic conservation efforts, NVCT works tirelessly to safeguard the region's unique landscapes and cultural heritage. For more information, visit www.nvct.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


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