Construction of the boardwalk over Neabsco Creek to connect Rippon Landing Community Park to the Julie A. Metz Wetlands Preserve has begun. The nearly mile-long boardwalk is scheduled to be completed by December 2018.
During a recent ceremony to denote the beginning of the construction, Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank J. Principi said the boardwalk would offer recreational opportunities for Prince William County residents. "Citizens and visitors alike will have the opportunity to bike to work or school, add a bit of Mother Nature to their fitness program or simply slow down and take in the beauty of our county.
When completed, the boardwalk will become part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail that stretches between the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania to the Chesapeake Bay. The trail will connect from the town of Occoquan down through Belmont Bay, Occoquan Bay Wildlife Refuge, Veterans Memorial Park, Featherstone Wildlife Refuge, and on to Rippon Lodge and Rippon Landing, before crossing the boardwalk to the Metz wetlands. From Metz, the trail connects to Leesylvania State Park, Powell's Landing County Park and on to the sidewalk of U.S. 1 near Dumfries
The Board of County Supervisors awarded the contract to build the boardwalk to the Florida-based J.D. James, Inc., doing business as Nature Bridges, in September 2017. The contractor is building the boardwalk from the north landing, just behind Rippon Lodge on Blackburn Road in Woodbridge
The boardwalk, built of pressure-treated southern yellow pine, will give residents the chance to see some of the natural settings Prince William County has to offer, Principi said. "This is going to be a beautiful crown jewel here in Prince William and in the region. In fact, this will be the only place in Prince William where you can walk on water."
Gary Rzepecki, with the County's Department of Parks and Recreation, said the boardwalk would create educational opportunities and connect neighborhoods and schools. "This is a great environmental opportunity for the schools and the public to learn. It's a beautiful place to see the changing of the seasons. We're looking forward to having everybody come out in a year from now when we do the ribbon cutting for this boardwalk."