The Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently approved a lease agreement and a special use permit that would allow off-road vehicles at Lehigh Portland Park in Nokesville.
The agreement is between the County and Family Off-Road Riders of Prince William County, or FORPWC. The organization will lease the 25-acre county-owned park at 13865 Nokesville Road and will finance, build and operate an off-road vehicle riding track. The organization will also clear 14 acres of the park to build the track.
In September 1999, the Board established the All-Terrain Vehicle Task Force because residents in the county were asking for a safe place to ride motorcycles and all-terrain four-wheeled vehicles. An April 2000 task force report showed that there was a need for a place where county residents could ride off-road vehicles. The task force also recommended that the County help identify and promote the development of an off-road track.
While the County didn't act on the task force's recommendations at the time, a group of county residents formed FORPWC, which leased nearby property on Nokesville Road. In 2015, the owner sold the property and the off-road enthusiasts lost their riding spot.
The Board's approval of the special use permit and authorization of a lease allows the Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation and FORPWC to enter into an agreement for a five-year lease with a five-year renewal option at the park with an annual rent of $4,000. The club will be responsible for insuring against harm at the facility, said Yang Chen, a planner with the Prince William County Department of Parks and Recreation.
The park will be open to the public, but FORPWC will charge annual fees starting at $250 for a single rider. "Anyone can join, but you have to join the riding club before you have access to the site," Chen said.
Brent Heavner, the communication services division chief with the Parks and Recreation Department, said having the park will benefit the county and the people who ride there. "It is always exciting when our citizens partner with us to identify the need for new recreation amenities and to explore cooperative ways to meet that need. FORPWC's effort on this project is a great example of that kind of collaboration."
The agreement between the County and FORPWC, including the complete contract information and the rules and regulations governing the use of the park, is available on the County's website.