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Rock Wall, Zip Line Removed from Potomac Overlook Plan

by ARLnow.com March 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm 2,285 39 Comments

Treetop shelter similar to one proposed for Potomac Overlook Regional Park (photo via NVRPA)An ambitious plan to add amenities to Potomac Overlook Regional Park (2845 N Marcey Road) has been scaled back as a result of negative feedback from residents.

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority has released a “Version 2.0” of its Potomac Overlook improvement plan. Officials say they made changes to the plan after receiving concerns and criticism at a community meeting last week and in the comments section of an ARLnow.com article.

Site plan for Potomac Regional Overlook ParkThe new plan removes a proposed zip line, rock wall and paved parking lot from “near-term consideration.” It also establishes a “Natural Resources Advisory Committee” to study some elements of the original plan prior to any implementation. Plan elements selected for further study are the signature “tree house overlook,” a small urban farm, and any removal of healthy trees.

Elements of the plan that the park authority intends to move forward with over the next few years include:

  • New programming and interpretive signage
  • Tearing down an aging performance stage and replacing it with a new stage/shelter
  • Renovating the Bird of Prey structure
  • New kiosk/signage at park entrance
  • New scout camping area near a fire circle in the back of the park
  • Historic Donaldson barn site interpretation
  • Adding more wood chips to trails

“We are calling this Potomac Overlook Improvement Plan Version 2.0, and I think it will please many who have shared their views with us,” said Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Executive Director Paul Gilbert.

  • Clarendon Bro

    Honestly, i could care less for the zip lines cause there for hippies, but no rock wall? Now where am i supposed to work on my pecs and traps when i’m not at XSport? Like me and my boys say, you gotta always make sure you can “3 button” it. Three buttons undone and still look good. 😉 Getting rid of the rock wall ain’t gonna help with that.

    • Hippy In A-TOWN

      Give me a break? Zip lines are for hippies? I LOVE zip lines AND fake rock wall climbing. It is one of my last joys in life.

      • Shlowmo


      • Trev

        Pretty sure that’s a satirical post.

    • dan

      Irony is the first casualty on the internet….

  • Mark Blacknell


    Okay, actually, this is what happens when we don’t show up at community meetings.

  • Nancy F.

    how about we add more signs and more enforcement for off leash dogs? it’s a nature area! so frustrating to walk through with 15 off leash dogs running after me

    • Trev

      People will disregard the signs anyway. The type of person that lets their dog off the leash in a public park with other people, children and other dogs around is the kind of person that doesn’t think rules apply to them, and they’re the exception to everything. They often rationalize it by saying that their dog is friendly, which may indeed be the case, but some people don’t want a dog chasing after them or bothering their dog who is on leash, and may be dog-aggressive, scared, or in training.

      That is just the typical NoVa mindset though — “I’m more important than anyone else, so I decide what rules apply to me.”

      • park local

        totally agree – one time I mentioned to a woman who’s dog had a leash on but she wasn’t holding it, her dog needed to be on a leash. Her stupid response -he is on a leash” my reply “you need to hold the leash”. Not everyone wants dogs jumping on them

        • Ahole

          I love walking through that park with my Doberman off leash. It is hilarious to scare the crap out of you people

          • Trev

            Can’t tell if you are serious, but if an off leash doberman comes running at me I will shoot it.

    • lw

      I agree. I no longer walk my (on-leash) dog through that park because of the loose dogs. She’s aggressive when a dog gets into her space, and I just can’t risk it. So disappointing that the jerks (who care so little about their own dogs and others’) drive out the rest of us!

      • Trev

        It’s simply a matter of others just being selfish. I totally understand how you feel though, as my dog is a rescue and is nervous around other strange dogs, especially on neutral turf.

  • Pezdrake

    Zip lines bring the “wrong element” into the area apparently.

    • drax

      Enough already.

  • rob

    this is because the immediate surrounding neighborhood believes the park belongs to them and not Arlington. … aka a bunch of stuck of people, who think they own everything.

    • ARL

      I live miles from that park and I oppose the zipline and other Disneyfications.

      • hondo

        a rock wall is not a disneyfication. a zip line is not one either.

    • Gonzo

      And apparently we do.

  • Ziv Bnd

    I am glad to hear that they are scaling the plan down. I like that park a lot and what makes it great is that there isn’t a lot there but trees and water, which happens to be a pretty nice combination in my book. The people that use it come from all over and I can count on one hand the amount of times I have seen any trash on or near the trail.

  • Pleaseoverlook

    It is a sad state of affairs when the comments on ARLnow are helping to dictate local policy.

  • Shlowmo

    Only if you saw the cable before they use it

  • Concerned

    It is wonderful that the Park Authority is addressing their core mission with an emphasis on education but I am wondering why they did not list their other commercial venture proposals for the park here. “Aging” stage? Wasn’t that built just about three years ago?
    From what I am hearing, the alarm with the Park Authority’s actions with Potomac Overlook Park is not only County-wide but also from other parts of Northern Virginia and the District.

    • Don Enrique

      You are most correct. That stage was just built recently – already renovated! I also notice above that they have changed the wording to make the new Disney features seem like they are just slight improvements, e.g., add wood chips to trails! This is a nature preserve – not a gym. If you want to climb rock walls, go down to the river where they are plenty.

  • Charles

    Unlike the negative comments regarding the monstrosity planned for Pentagon City… some Arlington residents are more equal than others when it comes to getting things their way.

    • Gonzo

      Let’s hope so.

  • Administrator….Thanks for deleting the offensive post….

  • Concerned

    The planning and decisions about Potomac Overlook have been largely made outside of the County by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority that represents three counties and two cities with just two Arlington representatives on their Board. Anyone who believes that this is merely a neighborhood issue should come to the County-wide meeting on March 19th at 7pm at the Church of the Covenant on Military Road. Your participation is encouraged and thoughts will be heard. More information coming on ArlNow about this meeting. This is all about Arlingtonians having a say!

  • ColPiker

    Why do you bother to send this out again? If no news, no email

  • Alex an Dria

    Yes that zip line would probably drop the value of a 2.5 million dollar home down to 2.495! Not to mention that there might be people visiting that park that only make a 5 figure salary. N. Marcey Rd could not have that!

    • Gonzo

      There are parks for such people in South Arlington. Presumably.

  • a local

    good – this is in a residential area – not some commercial area that can handle all the traffic let alone ruining the natural resources. Good there will be a county wide meeting and hope this great park won’t be ruined

  • park local

    Please attend the local community meeting and notify the County Board members and your Representatives and Senators on preventing the plans to ruin this park.

  • For Real?

    So, people are getting “sequestered” and required to take unpaid days off, property tax rates are going up, and we’re tearing down new stages, building climbing walls and zip lines? Really? What planet do members of the Parks Authority live on? This is just silly.

    • squidgod

      “What planet do members of the Parks Authority live on?”

      The planet that isn’t federally funded?

    • DCBuff

      From what I can tell, this is an emphasis on the commercialization of the No. Va. Regional Parks; many/most of the parks are already revenue producing (see Upton Hills, Carlyle House, Cameron Mills, Algonkian, etc.). PORP had minimal revenue production. Which, to many, was part of its beauty.

  • Ashton Heights

    To clarify some things:

    1. This park is located in Arlington County, but is not an Arlington County park. This park is part of a regional park system of 25 parks and over 11,000 acres, run by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA). The park is 67 acres of mostly undeveloped woodland, with hiking trails.

    2. NVRPA’s six member jurisdictions are three counties (Arlington,Fairfax, and Loudon) and three cities (Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax). According to the NVRPA Strategic Plan, one of NVRPA’s main goals is create new revenue options and improve financial performance of its parks.

    3. The mission of Potomac Overlook Regional Park is to provide a protected woodland sanctuary, preserving undeveloped woodlans (paraphrasing the Park’s management plan).

    The Potomac Overlook “improvements” proposed by the NVRPA appear aimed at increasing use of Potomac Overlook and increasing revenue. Unfortunately these changes also would detract from the mission of the park. It’s just like the story of the goose that laid the golden eggs: putting these “improvements” in place could destroy the park as it is today.

  • cpenny

    If you remove the zipline, “YOU’RE GONNA HAVE A BAD TIME!”

  • YTK

    They could not build the rock wall because they had used all the rocks for the highly anticipated Walter Reed Super Stop. Or so I have been told.


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