Author Archives: Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority

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, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 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: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. 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 • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • 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 • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 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 for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.


Written by Eileen Kragie

Summer approaches quickly with winter and spring giving way to the magic and mystery of Mother Nature and her eternal rhythms. Nights shortening and days beginning to stretch to their longest of the year. Flowers, trees, shrubs bloom. The magnificent array of birds return from their winter resting grounds, bringing with them the songs that greet us as daylight comes earlier and earlier.

Summer…the time for picnics, barbecues, lying outside in soft grass and fields, gazing up at the night sky, counting stars, pointing out constellations and shooting stars. Among all of the treasures and magic of summer, fireflies reign supreme. Their lives so short, so fleeting, bringing such delight to all.

Fireflies typically come out from May to late June, though do last into July. The muggy, humid summer environment we have here in Fairfax County is ideal for fireflies1. Children are especially captivated by the wonderful blinking of our summer companions. A quintessential summer experience in our area. Or it used to be. These days with population and development growing exponentially, our fireflies are rapidly diminishing. What used to be taken for granted is now hard to find, if not impossible, in many neighborhoods and towns.

Our irresponsible and overuse use of outdoor light at night is severely affecting fireflies’ ability to reproduce. Fireflies need darkness to find dates, to mate, to make little baby fireflies. Even the minutest amount of artificial light adversely affects their ability to find suitable partners to mate.

Learn More: Dark Skies (

Along with leaf blowing that goes on all year long these days, fireflies are dying in vast numbers. Fireflies, and other insects, need the mulch of decomposing leaves and organic matter to survive through the winter. Coupled with the use of fertilizers and pesticides, we humans are killing off an untold number of nocturnal pollinators and insect species that we all need for our own survival.

This summer, take time to enjoy the magic of these blinking, joyful, fleeting creatures. Make sure your home has dark sky friendly lighting2 and employ the principles for responsible outdoor lighting using these tips below3:

  • Turn off your outside lights
  • Use lights only if they are needed
  • Fully shield all lights
  • Direct light so that it falls only where it is needed
  • Lights should be no brighter than necessary
  • Use warmer colored bulbs and ones not too bright
  • Remove unneeded landscape and architectural lights
  • Turn on lights only when it is needed
  • Check to make sure your lights are not trespassing and keep the illumination contained within your own property boundary

Enjoy the magical moments of summer as Mother Nature designed and intended!


  1. Fireflies Shed Light on the Benefits of a Natural Yard (Chesapeake Bay Program)
  2. Dark Sky Friendly Home Lighting Program (International Dark Sky Week 2023)
  3. Five Lighting Principles for Responsible Outdoor Lighting (International Dark-Sky Association)