Saved/Threatened/Lost Acreage

CN parcels map

2872 acres saved

The Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve was created in two phases: a 1770-acre purchase in April 2008 (in green), followed by an 1102-acre purchase (in yellow) in July 2009.

1000+ acres endangered

Privately-owned land on Crow’s Nest that is not protected is threatened with development (in red).

Acres lost

The original  Accokeek National Wildlife Refuge legislation (passed in 2002 but never funded) called for the acquisition and protection of 7480 acres on the Crow’s Nest peninsula and on the surrounding shores of Accokeek and Potomac Creeks–almost double the acreage on the peninsula proper.  Since then, much of this land originally targeted for preservation has been lost to development, including the area north of Accokeek Creek.  (See map below.)

Legislation and Legal Action

  • In February 2015, the Stafford Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance establishing a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) ordinance.  Read “What Does the New TDR Legislation Mean for Crow’s Nest?”
  • A suit is expected to be filed regarding deed restrictions on lots in Crow’s Nest Harbour (the red section in the map at the top of the page).  that prevent development without sewer and water connections.  Investors purchased the land knowing that deed restrictions forbid development unless water and sewer connections were made to the area.  Now, though, they are likely to claim that such restrictions, in effect, “condemns” their land making it unbuildable.

Public Access

  • Access to the Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve is limited.  The Crow’s Nest FAQ page at the  Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation notes:
    • “A parking area is open on Brooke Road that provides access to a ½-mile long walking trail along the north shore of Accokeek Creek with two viewpoints of the tidal marsh. An ADA-accessible launch facility for canoes and kayaks allowing visitors to experience the Crow’s Nest Water Trail opened in April 2015.”  It is possible to access Crow’s Nest by water by going to Boykins Island.  Use caution and be well prepared.
    • The main Crow’s Nest peninsula is closed to the public until funding for a safe road into the peninsula is secured.  Parking on the edge of the preserve is prohibited due to private land ownership at the Raven Road gate. DCR offers guided hiking trips open to the public during the Spring and Fall.
    • It is possible to access Crow’s Nest by water by going to Boykins Island.  Use caution and be well prepared.
  • The privately owned portions of Crow’s Nest do not allow any public access.