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NATURAL HERITAGE
Crow

Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve

For safety reasons, the Brooke Road access area is currently closed to the public during the construction phase of the canoe/kayak launch. Re-opening of the parking lot should occur by late fall 2014, following the completion of the canoe launch facility.
SITE DESCRIPTION:

The protection of Crow's Nest has been one of Virginia's highest land conservation priorities for more than ten years. In July 2009, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation added 1,110 acres to the Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve. This brought the total Preserve acreage of Virginia's 54th state natural area preserve to 2,872 acres. Funding for this purchase came from a variety of sources including DCR, Stafford County, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Aquatic Resources Trust fund of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Nature Conservancy, and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation.

Crow's Nest is a highly significant and beautiful place and the topography of Crow's Nest is quite varied. The high, narrow peninsula rises 160 feet above the tidally influenced Potomac and Accokeek Creeks, and is deeply dissected on both its northern and southern sides by a series of ravines cutting steeply down to the bordering creeks. The Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve supports:

  • 750 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands. The wetlands on the Crow's Nest peninsula account for 60 percent of all the marshes in Stafford County, and represent some of the best examples of diverse and intact wetland habitats in the Potomac River drainage.
  • 21 miles of stream, riparian and wetland buffer;
  • 2,200 acres of mature hardwood forest including two forest types that are recognized as globally rare by DCR's Natural Heritage Program;
  • nesting bald eagles, habitat for the federally listed short-nose sturgeon, and habitat for twenty-two plant species that are significant for the Coastal Plain of Virginia;
  • habitat for about 60 species of neotropical migratory songbirds, nearly 60 percent of which are experiencing population declines, including ten species that are high global priority species of Partners In Flight;
  • spawning, nursery and/or feeding habitat for 49 species of interjurisdictional fish and seven species of mussels and commercially valuable shellfish;
  • a property that has played an important role in the Native American, Colonial and Civil War histories in Virginia.

VISITATION:
The large area of open-space protected as Crow's Nest Natural Area Preserve, plus its location near a major population center, represent great potential for providing passive recreation and outdoor education opportunities for large numbers of Virginia's citizens. However, significant staff and operations resources are needed before public access can be effectively implemented at the preserve.

Check the list of FAQ for more information.

The lottery selection process for the 2014-2015 season is now complete. There is an upcoming opportunity to hunt waterfowl at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve in Stafford County, Virginia. Hunters will be selected by lottery. Successful applicants will be responsible for re-conditioning or in some cases for constructing their own blinds at two assigned locations along the shoreline and marshes at Crow’s Nest. Hunting will be on Fridays only from ½ hour before sunrise to sunset during the September 2014 early goose and teal seasons, the October 2014 early duck season, and the general duck season beginning in November 2014 and ending in January 2015. See the application form for more detail: click here for the application form in PDF. The deadline for applications is close of business (5:00 PM) on Friday August 15, 2014.
Stafford
DCR & Stafford County
2872 acres
Public access facilities are under construction.  The preserve is currently open to a limited degree.  The Brooke Road access point offers parking for 20 cars and a short birding/nature trail to a viewpoint of Accokeek Creek.  Funds have been secured and plans are underway for a water/paddling trail originating at the Brooke Road access point.  Hiking trails are also under construction that will feature interpretive information about the natural and cultural history of Crow's Nest.
Mike Lott,Northern Region Steward,
Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Division of Natural Heritage
Stafford, VA
(540) 658-8690
michael.lott@dcr.virginia.gov