John Mason Trail -
On the wrong path!

♫ Everything is awesome when you're part of the plan! ♫

City Council of the City of Fairfax voted on September 28, 2021, not to proceed with this project. We are grateful for that decision.

Survey tape marks the path of trees in peril. This forest cannot be improved by pavement.

Can't get enough pavement in our parks, floodplains and stream valleys? Then here's a "plan" for much more!

Friends of Accotink Creek recently became aware of the proposed John Mason Trail, promoted as a shortcut around the Main Street-Pickett Road intersection in Fairfax City. The path would cut through decent quality wooded habitat on a strip of City-owned land north and west of the petroleum tank farm, including a stand of the beleaguered American Chestnut. The plan is not yet funded, allowing time for consideration of true costs and benefits. No-trees-harmed alternatives are probably already in use, rendering this trail redundant.

This is part of an ongoing pattern of pitting two worthy goals – enhanced non-motorized transportation and habitat preservation - against each other, always choosing the path of least resistance that leads through our dwindling reserve of wooded habitat. There can be little doubt that current federal infrastructure legislation will cause funding for such projects to rain from the heavens.

Other City plans need to be fulfilled, too, such as the Comprehensive Plan Environment and Sustainability Chapter, and the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Plan. All these plans sanguinely assure the preservation of trees and streams while other City, Commonwealth, and private interests continue to clear them away. Why should the environmental preservation mandates of these other plans not take priority?

Improved opportunities for bicycle and pedestrian travel are welcome, but the proposed route of the trail means this opportunity would come at the expense of our dwindling and irreplaceable natural wooded habitats. All of our streets should be made safer for bike traffic and pedestrians first!

Climate change is upon us now, so why do we persist in the business-as-usual approach of converting carbon-sink trees to heat sink asphalt? We must say "NO!" whenever we are faced with the temptation to take “just one more bite”, to lay just one more burden on our irreplaceable natural heritage.

Let your Mayor & City Council and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (source of funds) know your feelings on the use of our natural and financial resources:


Take the additonal opportunity to speak for the environment
at the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority's survey and meetings

Other reports on problematic trail paving: Lake Accotink Park - Pine Ridge Park - George Snyder Trail - Cinder Bed Road Bikeway

City of Fairfax John Mason Trail Flyer

No-trees-harmed alternatives are probably already in use, rendering the John Mason Trail redundant.

The City needs much catchup trail maintenance before taking on new obligations.
The City has its own excellent example of an alternate approach

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure some of them are dirt." - John Muir