Nearly 200 people met at Merrimac Farm on April 10, 2008 to celebrate the acquisition of this unique property for public use and view the acres of Virginia Bluebells that carpet the floodplain. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and everyone was smiling!
The effort to save Merrimac Farm began in 2001 with the death of Lt. Col. Dean McDowell. Soon after, the McDowell family (land owner), Marine Corps Base Quantico, the Prince William Conservation Alliance and the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries with support from the Virginia Dept. of Conservation and Recreation formed a partnership with the goal of permanently conserving Merrimac Farm and opening the property to the public.
On January 16, 2008, the Conservation Partnership achieved this goal and Merrimac Farm was transferred to the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries. Less than three months later, Merrimac Farm was opened to the public for wildlife watching and hunting.
Partnership was the key to success. The conservation partnership formed by the Prince William Conservation Alliance, Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries and Marine Corps Base Quantico benefited from the support of a range of state and federal agencies as well as Northern Virginia citizens who supported the conservation of Merrimac Farm. Each brought something different to the partnership, and all were essential to establishing the Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area.
The Prince William Conservation Alliance is honored to have been a part of the partnership establishing the Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area and to have had the opportunity to work with the many terrific people who made this dream a reality.
As we close the door on the first stage of the project to conserve Merrimac Farm and begin efforts to open the Stone House and provide nature programs, we are looking forward to working with citizens, organizations and others who want to help make good things happen at Merrimac Farm!
From left to right:
Charlie Grymes, Prince William Conservation Alliance;
Bob Duncan, Executive Director VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries;
James Hazel, Chairman, VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries;
L. Preston Bryant, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources; Scott Lingamfelter, Delegate, 31st District; Kim Hosen, Executive Director, Prince William Conservation Alliance; Sherry Crumley, Board Director, VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries; Charles McDowell,- McDowell family; Jerry Sims,Region 5 Director, VA Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries (partially visible); John Jenkins, Neabsco District Supervisor, Prince William County Board of Supervisors; Ann Schafer, McDowell family; Maureen Caddigan, Dumfries District Supervisor, Prince William County Board of Supervisors; Gail McDowell, McDowell family; Col. Dallachie, Base Commander, Marine Corps Base Quantico (partially visible); Donald Schregardus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Environment; Alex Beehler, Deputy Assistant Under Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health