Huntley Meadows Park in Springfield Virginia is the largest park that is run by the Fairfax County Park Authority. There are 1,452 acres that offer a multitude of outdoor experiences. Here you will get the chance to view wildlife, gather information at the visitor’s center, or take a relaxing hike on the trail system to name just a few of the outdoor opportunities. Next to Huntley Meadows Park is Nova Dental Center. So if you’re in the area, head in and say hi to Dr. Hoang.

This park has grown in size gradually, however, prior to 1825 this park had not yet been founded. It was in this year that the grandson of George Mason built Huntley, which is a villa and farm. This structure is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Initially, the land that had been purchased by George Mason in 1757 was used for dairy farming. However, by the early 1900s, most of the land had been sold in sections for other family farms.

In the 1920s Henry Woodhouse bought 1500 acres from multiple landowners in hopes of building the largest airport in the world. However, he lost nearly all of the land, and the federal government purchased the land in 1941. They would use the land for various projects for the next 3 decades before finally donating 1,261 acres to the city of Fairfax. This land was sold for merely $1 and was to be used specifically for a public park or recreation area. This land transaction took place in 1975, and Gerald Ford was the presiding president who signed the documents granting the land to the county. The final addition of 165 acres of wetlands and uplands occurred in 1992 with the help of Ducks Unlimited.

With the citizens of Fairfax County protecting the lands the beavers began to return to the area, changing the way the water flowed through the land. This greatly increased the biodiversity of the land and created a need for wildlife viewing platforms to allow visitors to closely observe wildlife in their natural habitat. This park has become the largest wetland in the region with the help of the citizens protecting the animals and their habitats. 

Today over 200,000 visitors come from all around to view wildlife, relax, exercise, and enjoy educational classes offered at the visitor’s center. There is a wetland conservation project that has been in the design phase for many years and is meant to preserve and manage the structure of the wetlands as well as the biodiversity. However, this will require many projects and millions of dollars for the improvement and maintenance of the land. Nonetheless, Huntley Meadows Park with surely continue to grow, as well as offer various outdoor experiences for visitors for years to come. While you’re here, wind down with some window shopping on King Street.