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Recon of Stafford Civil War and Government
Island Parks, Stafford, VA


This recon occured on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Participants were Steve Butterfield, Tom O'Brien and Mike Whatever.

Our Wednesday hike started OK but then ran into issues. But in the end, it all worked out OK. Tom, Steve and I met at the church at 8:00 AM. Our original destination was Crows Nest Natural Area in Stafford, VA. First we went to the Brooke RD Access Area by mistake. This was a canoe launching area. It was very nice but we needed to find the Raven RD entrance. We finally got to the correct entrance to Crows Nest. However, it was gated.

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I first reconned Stafford Civil War Park in February, 2019. It was cold that day. Read all about it here.

According to a sign at the entrance the Crows Nest Natural area was only open Thursday through Sunday. Today was Wednesday. We were out of luck.

So I suggested that we go to nearby Stafford Civil War Park and hike there. We arrived at this park in about 10 minutes. We first we checked out the civil war union camp remains on the southeastern side of the park. We saw indentations on the ground that were once rifle pits, cabins and other vestiges from the past. By the way, the map for this park shown below is an older version. The picnic area shown on it was not built (yet). And the many new trails here that are part of this 3 mile loop are not shown.

Next we walked across a power line right of way or ROW, then started a counterclockwise loop around the perimeter of this park. We passed a former union camp complete with replica cannons. We walked back to Accokeek Creek, saw the remnants of a former bridge and would be following this trail for the next mile. There were numerous side trails heading to the main road of the park called General Howard AVE. There are definitely more trails here now then there were when I last reconned this park in early 2019.

At the southwest corner of the park the trail split with one fork crossing a creek and the other turning left and climbing a hill. There were no directional signs at this intersection. Tom and Steve crossed the creek, I started up the hill. After seeing that the trail that crossed the creek was veering away from the park, Tom and Steve returned and we all hiked up the hill to what is called Battery 3.

After reading the historical signs we started the return trip along a former cordouroy road. This is what old roads were that had tree trunks laid across them so that wagons would not get stuck in the mud while traversing them.

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This trail ended half way back to my vehicle and along General Howard AVE. We used the rest room facilities at this juncture and talked to the park maintence man for awhile. He told us that the trail that we didn't take went by another former union camp. You could see the cabin platform indentations as well as small fragments of glass in the soil that would glisten in the afternoon sun.

We thanked the maintence man for the info, walked back to my vehicle and then drove the 8 mile trip over to Government Island Park. The "claim to fame" for this island was that a good deal of the large rocks on this island were quarried and the stone used to construct a number of federal government buildings in Washington, DC. The lollipop loop around the island was about 1.6 miles. There were a good deal of people on this trail for a weekday compared to no one observed at Stafford Civil War Park. We finished this trail by twelve noon and were back at POPUMC by 12:30. And we agreed that these two hikes would make a good future outing for the POPUMC Hiking Group.

Sign for Crows Nest NAP
 Sign for Crows Nest NAP.
Other sign, Crows Nest NAP
 Other sign, Crows Nest NAP.
Tom &Steve near Battery 3
 Tom &Steve near Battery 3.
Looking @ cabin repro
 Looking @ cabin repro.
Plaque for Cordouroy RD
 Plaque for Cordouroy RD.
Large pit
 Large pit.
Sign for Government Island Park
 Sign for Government Island Park.
Other Sign, Government Island
 Other Sign, Government Island
Map of Stafford Civil War Park
 Map of Stafford Civil War Park.
Government Island Trail Map
 Government Island Trail Map

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Posted By Mike C on 06-29-2022.   |    See All Posts   |   Comments

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