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
Oak Ridge Campground and Chopawamsic Backcountry Closure
Oak Ridge Campground and Chopawamsic Backcountry area will be closed December 1st, 2013 to February 28th, 2014.
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!
Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area
Read the 1936 Report: Recreational Demonstration Areas as Illustrated by Chopawamsic Virginia. This report elevated Chopawamsic as a model for the RDA program.
The Recreation Demonstration Area program began in 1933 as a comprehensive effort to alleviate the suffering brought by the Great Depression. It addressed three groups of people: struggling farmers, unemployed men, and poor children. This program also established a legacy for recreational land use in the U.S.
The goal of the RDA program was to have recreation available to large portions of the population. By the 1930s, most national parks were in the West. State parks were also inaccessible by the lower classes. Forty-six RDAs would appear before the end of the decade, all within reach of the country’s major cities. The maximum distance from these cities was thirty-five miles.
National Archives & Records Admin.
This program would first address the plight of farmers working on unsuitable land. The government offered poor farmers the opportunity to relocate. The Resettlement Administration (RA), established in 1935, arranged for the purchase of this submarginal land.
National Park Service
National Park Service
National Archives and Records Admin.
Fulfilling Its Purpose
The park kept at its center the recreational needs of the poor of the nation’s capital: “Here is a city of 500,000—as important as any on earth, marked by magnificence from Virginia’s river flats to Maryland’s hills—yet with no provisions for the simple pleasures of improved health of those who need it the most and can afford them the least."
Did You Know?
Prince William Forest Park was used by the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner to the CIA) as a training camp for spies during World War II. Today, you can rent a cabin where spies once learned their trade.