• dogwood across creek

    Prince William Forest

    Park Virginia

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    Reminder to park visitors. Fireworks are prohibited at Prince William Forest Park.

  • Oak Ridge Campground Site A29 closure

    Oak Ridge Campground site A29 will be closed until safety concerns have been mitigated. Please do not use that site until it has been reopened.

  • Warm Wet Spring = More Ticks

    Please check yourself and your pets for ticks continually during and after your visit. Ticks are less prevelent if you stay on trail or in mowed areas. Wearing light colored clothing helps you spot them before the attach.

  • Firewood

    Outside firewood is prohibited in Prince William Forest Park, unless it is certified USDA 'bug free' firewood. Dead and downed wood may be collected from designated areas for use while in the park. Help us protect the forest from invasive species!

  • Visitor Center Remodel 2014

    Over the next several months there will be new changes coming to the Visitor Center. Presently we are remodeling the bookstore area to give it more of a country theme. Next the exibit area will get all new exhibits. Thank you for your patience and support

Creating Prince William Forest Park

Summer fun in the cabin camps.

A legacy of summer camps in Prince William Forest Park.

National Park Service.

Throughout his presidency, Franklin D. Roosevelt made various attempts to relieve the unbearable poverty that gripped the nation he now commanded. One of Roosevelt's early attempts was a plan to aid three groups of Americans with one New Deal program - Recreation Demonstration Areas (RDA).

If all went according to the Roosevelt Administration’s plan, RDAs would provide relief to:

1) poor farmers whose land had nothing left to give,

2) inner-city youth who were suffering from boredom and unhealthy slum conditions, and

3) un-employed young men looking for work.

The shining star of the RDA program was Chopawamsic (Chop-ah-wahm-sic) - otherwise know of today as Prince William Forest Park. Chopawamsic RDA was going to illustrate how, in three simple steps, recreation and the outdoors would multiple layers of relief to society.

First, the Resettlement Administration (founded in 1933) would provide struggling farmers with funds to move elsewhere.

Second, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) would build hundreds of cabins, plant thousands of trees, and create a generation of men with skills to enter the workforce when the depression was over.

Finally, the cabins built by the CCC would house a thousand children each summer day, providing them with three square meals a day and an introduction to the great outdoors. In this rustic cabin atmosphere, reminiscent of the pioneer days, these children would learn what it meant to be an American.

For almost 50 years, social welfare groups from around the Washington, DC metropolitan area came to Chopawamsic RDA (now Prince William Forest Park) to fulfil Roosevelt's vision. But what happened to the families who farmed this land for centuries? Was their sacrifice justified?

Continue on to Chopawamsic RDA


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Did You Know?

Eastern Box Turtle

Capable of living as long as 100 years, the Eastern Box Turtle is Prince William Forest Park's longest living reptile, and if conditions are just right, can spend their entire life in an area no larger than a football field.