I had a bit of free time two weekends ago while Melissa was at an art show in Falls Church, and I decided to go exploring. Google Maps shows a large body of water—labeled ‘Beaverdam Reservoir‘—nestled just off of Belmont Ridge Road in Ashburn, Virginia, but although I’ve driven by it countless times I’ve never actually seen it. It’s less than a quarter-mile from brand new housing developments and a major thoroughfare, but if you aren’t looking for it you’d probably never know it’s there.

I figured that my best chance for finding it would be to drive down the aptly named Reservoir Road, which comes off of Evergreen Mills Road on the west side of the reservoir. It was a narrow country road, paved at the beginning, then degrading to gravel, then to earth. But sure enough, at the end, there’s a small public access point to a lovely, 350 acre body of water in the middle of Loudoun County that hardly anybody knows is there.

It turns out that it’s actually called Beaverdam Creek Reservoir, and it’s owned by the City of Fairfax. They use it as a secondary source of drinking water when conditions at their smaller Goose Creek Reservoir, located only two miles further north, are not “favorable or abundant.” According to Fairfax City, “Direct vehicular access to the reservoir is not available at this time, however, individuals are welcome to visit the area to enjoy the property. . . . ” They prohibit swimming and motorized boating, but do allow fishing and recreational boating on rowboats, kayaks, and canoes.

It’s a shame that this gem is so effectively hidden. With a public access point, boat ramp, and cordoned-off swimming area it could become a really great recreational asset for the region. I would also like them to allow small motorized boats. As it stands today, the reservoir is underutilized (and, judging by the condition of the access point, it seems to be used mostly as a place for teens to drink and commit acts of vandalism). Fairfax City could make it available free to their taxpaying residents, and charge everybody else a reasonable fee for access to cover the increased maintenance costs associated with greater public access.

Anyway, I took a few photos; you can check them out below.

Scott Bradford has been building web sites and using them to say what he thinks since 1995, which tended to get him in trouble with power-tripping assistant principals at the time. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University, but has spent most of his career (so far) working on public- and private-sector web sites. He is not a member of any political party, and brands himself an ‘independent constitutional conservative.’ In addition to holding down a day job and blogging about challenging subjects like politics, religion, and technology, Scott is also a devout Catholic, gun-owner, bike rider, and music lover with a wife, two cats, and a dog.