Volunteer Extraordinaire Norma Hoffman Dies

Norma Hoffman_0012Fairfax County Park Authority volunteer Norma Hoffman passed away Sunday morning, June 11, 2017, after a long illness. She was one of the most extraordinary volunteers in the agency’s history.

Hoffman’s impact began in 1978, when a planned four-lane road would have cut through Huntley Meadows Park. Ms. Hoffman had the foresight to understand the damage the road would cause, and so she established the Citizen’s Alliance to Save Huntley and enlisted scientific and legal help. Thirty-nine years later there is no road.

The Alliance eventually grew to 600 members and succeeded in having the road plan removed from the Fairfax County Comprehensive Plan. Ms. Hoffman then co-founded the Friends of Huntley Meadows Park in 1985, instituting a model that has been used by subsequent Friends groups at other county parks. Ms. Hoffman served as the Friends president, and in that role used wetland protection laws to prevent any further potential degradation to the park. The two groups worked collaboratively to secure state grants for the stabilization of 1,000 feet of severely eroded stream banks above the park using bioengineering techniques. Her efforts eventually added more than 100 acres of wetlands to Huntley Meadows Park, repaired several failing stormwater ponds on an adjacent golf course, and established a continuous pollution monitoring system, thus protecting a vital water passageway to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. She also maintained an unrelenting pursuit on behalf of the acquisition of the mansion at Historic Huntley, which is now park property.

Norman Hoffman 2Ms. Hoffman continued as a volunteer at Huntley Meadows Park for nearly four decades. She was honored with the Park Authority’s highest volunteer service award, received the annual Distinguished Volunteer Service Award from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society, and in the week prior to her passing was named a national Outstanding Volunteer by the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials. In 1992, the Sierra Club named her one of its 100 Environmental Heroes.

Ms. Hoffman taught thousands of children about nature and our responsibility to be environmental stewards. A Park Authority Board resolution noted that she tirelessly served community children in a 30-year crusade to imprint an appreciation for the environment through countless classes, hikes, and engaging stories. The Visitor Center at Huntley Meadows Park was named in her honor in 2013. She will be remembered, and she will be missed.

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 11 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2008. Another Park Bond Referendum will be held in November 2012. Today, the Park Authority has 420 parks on approximately 23,168 acres of land. We offer 371 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park System is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: o Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist. o Eight golf courses including Laurel Hill, our newest, upscale course and clubhouse located in Southern Fairfax County o Five nature and visitor centers. Also seven Off-Leash Dog Activity areas o Several lakes including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax o The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter o Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel o An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter o Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel o Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent o A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly o A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale o Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community o Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center o Provides 274 athletic fields, including 30 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 500 school athletic fields PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: • A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news2/social-hub/ for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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