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The Lake Caledon Fund
A conservation partnership that includes Friends of Caledon State Park, King George County and dedicated volunteers have opened the Lake Caledon Fund of The Community Foundation as a part of their campaign to purchase a 455-acre parcel adjacent to Caledon State Park in King George County.
A local developer planned to build a subdivision on the land called Lake Caledon, but has agreed to sell the land so it can be preserved for public use. The goal is to make the land part of the adjacent Caledon State Park.
A July 6 article in the Free Lance-Star tells the story of this effort and Friends of Lake Caledon's hopes for the future: Friends group at Caledon State Park opens campaign to buy land nearby slated for subdivision
Caledon State Park Needs Recreational Resources
Caledon State Park lies on the shores of the Potomac River. The Smoot family donated this property to the state in the early 1970's with the intent of making the property a state park. However, due to the discovery of a large concentration of endangered American Bald Eagles on the property, for almost two decades, Caledon was designated a state Natural Area with limited recreational opportunities. In 1974, the it was designated a National Natural Landmark because it is one of the best examples of oak and tulip poplar-dominated upland forest in the United States. Caledon is one of only ten National Natural Landmarks in Virginia.
Because Caledon was a Natural Area for 18 years and still has limited recreational resources due to the sensitive habitat, the park cannot offer many of the recreational opportunities enjoyed at other parks. There is evidence of community interest in increasing recreation in the park area. The annual Caledon Art and Wine Festival in November brought more than 2,100 visitors to the park for the two-day event. More than 400 people attended Caledon's First Day Hike on January I and well more than 100 other visitors came to the park on January 1 to hike and enjoy Caledon's natural beauty on their own. Caledon State Park has the potential, but unfortunately, the park cannot continue to expand recreational opportunities in the future without enlarging its boundaries.
Conserving Lake Caledon Creates Recreation and Economic Development Opportunities
Lake Caledon is a picturesque parcel of land adjacent to Caledon State Park in King George County. Peppermill Creek and the 15.7-mile Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail meander through the 455 acres. Tributaries of Peppermill Creek run into Williams Creek, then into the Potomac River, and finally into the Chesapeake Bay. Conserving this property as an addition to Caledon State Park will help reduce water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, and serve as an economic opportunity for King George County and the state park system.
Acquiring the Lake Caledon property with its 47-acre lake, would enable Caledon State Park to have room for cabins, camping, fishing docks, canoe and kayaking launch areas, additional hiking, bicycle and equestrian trails, an open-air music venue, and a conference center. The 15.7-mile DRHT that can also be added to the park, would provide even more recreational opportunities. Due to its location a half hour off I-95 at Fredericksburg, an hour north of Richmond, and an hour south of Washington, DC, this opportunity could enable Caledon State Park to become a vacation destination park rather than just a day-use park.
Plans for this land will not require new impact on King George County's infrastructure - recreational use could begin nearly immediately upon purchase.
This land purchase will protect land, wetlands, and waterways downstream while at the same time generating revenue for the park system, King George County, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Plan of Action
Jarrell Properties of Fredericksburg, Lake Caledon's current owner/developer, has agreed to temporarily delay development. They too would like to see this natural treasure become part of Caledon State Park.
The purchase price is $6.6 million.
While the campaign to conserve Lake Caledon is popular and promising, donors to this fund must be aware that the effort to conserve Lake Caledon is dependent on several factors.
- Grant funding is sought, but not yet awarded, and is dependent on matching funds.
- For these reasons, the current capaign does not guarantee purchase of the Lake Caledon property or the property's addition to Caledon State Park.
- In the event that the effort to purchase Lake Caledon is unsuccessful, all funds raised will be awarded to Friends of Caledon State Park and designated for the benefit of Caledon State Park.
- Gifts to the Lake Caledon Fund are nonrefundable.
To be part of the campaign to conserve Lake Caledon simply click Donate Now.
Donations may also be mailed to:
The Community Foundation
The Lake Caledon Fund
PO BOX 208
Fredericksburg, VA 22404-0208
Please make your check payable to: The Lake Caledon Fund