Surrounding by layers of history as well as a growing population, northern Spotsylvania County has the unique opportunity to link present residents to the past. The Battle of Fredericksburg was the site of the largest engagement of the Civil War, involving almost 200,000 soldiers. Fought between December 11 and December 15, 1862, the battle resulted in a key Confederate victory but came at the cost of some 18,000 total casualties. Today, two significant pieces of the battlefield are protected: Slaughter Pen Farm, overseen by the Civil War Trust; and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Park, managed by the National Park Service. These two battlefield sites remain major cultural icons and tourist attractions to the Fredericksburg area.
The Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC), approached by Spotsylvania County and the Spotsylvania Greenway Initiative (SGI), was tasked to lead a collection of regional stakeholders in a project to highlight the cultural heritage of the area and re-engage the local community through opportunities for recreation and alternative transportation. The purpose of this project was to create a conceptual layout for a trail system that would connect Fredericksburg to these cultural and historic assets related to its involvement in the Civil War. This trail would also provide opportunities to connect to existing trail networks, as well as, a number of developing economic resources and outdoor recreational opportunities. The details of these design considerations will be discussed in more detail in the following pages.
Throughout the design process, the CDAC team and community stakeholders worked collaboratively to develop design goals and strategies for achieving those goals. After presenting a preliminary concept to a number of Spotsylvania County representatives at a community meeting, suggestions received were used to develop the concept and create final route options. The final concept, as presented in this document, is meant to provide a number of route choices. While some routes are presented as more ideal than others, the flexibility of the final proposal will aid in its adaptive implementation. With this in mind, the success of this project relies not only on presenting a desirable trail routing concept, but ensuring that the final concept is firmly rooted in community interest and practical understandings of the limits of the project.
Project team: Gardner Burg and Harley Walker
Sponsor: Virginia Department of Forestry/Spotsylvania County Planning Department