RV Park for Military Families OK’d for Metro D.C.
A proposed 52-pad RV park to serve military families in in the Tompkins Basin Recreation Area near Washington, D.C., has been officially approved after some 21 years of study.
The campground has been a long-time coming, according to Kristen Mayer, DFMWR, outdoor recreation director, who said the concept was originally conceived in 1990. Now that environmental assessments and impact studies have been concluded, the project has been given a green light to proceed with construction.
Mayer predicts that the facility will be in operation by fall 2012, InsideNoVa.com reported.
According to the official proposal, the travel camp will provide recreational vehicle pads and cabins to military personnel and their families living on Fort Belvoir and in the Washington metropolitan area. The campground’s additional “amenities will include potable water, communications, and sanitary hook-ups for the RV sites; a shower and laundry facility; internal circulation roads; and other support facilities. Two playgrounds, a shelter, and a campfire pit will be built near the RV pads.”
The Tompkins Basin Recreation Area was one of three sites evaluated by project planners, two of which were rejected during the early stages of development due to concerns raised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that protecting bald eagle habitats “would have required such restrictive usage times for the proposed marina (included in earlier plans, along with a hotel) was determined to be infeasible.”
“The location proposed for the travel camp was selected in part because it is an area that was previously developed (cleared and graded) and accessible through pre-existing roads,” the No Finding of Environmental Impact report stated, “thus helping to minimize impacts to the natural environment.”
The report also concluded that in terms of Fort Belvoir’s current transportation and traffic situations, the project would have low overall impact.
The travel camp will be located in one of the most scenic areas of Fort Belvoir, situated along the banks of Accotink Bay, a wildlife refuge located near Mason Neck Park, Pohick Bay Regional Park, and the Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge.
Current visitors to the region enjoy thick woodlands, grassy areas, and a sprawling body of water that is home to numerous varieties of wildlife, including the egret, a large aquatic bird in the heron family that roosts atop several man-made towers located along the shores of the basin.
The new campground will be open 24/7, with a key-pad entrance system providing security during the hours when the six planned employees will not be on duty, Mayer said. A reception building will be constructed at the entrance of the facility where guests will register their vehicles and the length of their stays.
The travel camp will not only provide a quiet and rustic area for soldiers and families to enjoy camping and the outdoors, but Mayer also hopes that the facility will generate needed revenue for the DFMWR program without demanding appreciable operating and maintenance costs.