With the Fourth of July quickly approaching, Stafford’s recreational options have improved slightly since the Memorial Day kickoff to summer. Stafford is in Phase II of the Governor’s Reopening Plan for Virginia. Our beaches have opened, and our playing fields are available with proper social distancing. Unfortunately, our pools will not open this summer, and our fireworks celebration on July 4th has been canceled. On top of social distancing guidelines in place, COVID also impacted the County’s budget and ability to hire to train new groups of employees to accommodate any additional summer recreation services.
“Summer is our busy time – a time our staff prepares for and looks forward to just like the public does,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Meg Bohmke. “It has been tough to make these difficult decisions. I am optimistic that we can return to some semblance of normalcy by fall.”
Stafford’s Fourth of July celebration and fireworks have been canceled for this year due to social distancing still being in place and in the interests of maintaining the public health. As well, the summer music series at Celebration Stage has been canceled.
Swimming in Stafford County This Summer
As mentioned before, Stafford’s pools will not open this summer. The only place where public swimming is allowed is at Aquia Landing Park. Swimming is not permitted at the Historic Port of Falmouth Park. Both beaches have designated parking areas, and it is important to adhere to those parking restrictions in those areas. Please do not park along the streets outside Aquia Landing Park or along River Road near Falmouth Beach.
It is imperative to note that swimming is not allowed in reservoirs. Reservoirs are not designed for swimming and are not safe. They are full of rocks, debris and unstable ledges that do not allow safe entry or exit from the reservoirs. There are rock outcroppings that lurk just below the surface and cannot be seen. Some spillways can draw swimmers in and toss them over steep drops to rocky surfaces. As well, County ordinances prohibit swimming in Abel Lake, Smith Lake and Lake Mooney because these reservoirs are a significant source of drinking water for our community. Not allowing swimming prevents a major source of contamination.
Stafford Parks Summer Camps and Sports Programs
Again, unfortunately, due to the limited ability to hire and train seasonal employees, Stafford County will not be offering its traditional summer camps and sports programs.
Fields, Parks and Playgrounds
Fields, parks and trails are open with proper Phase II social distancing in place. The canoe/kayak launch at Crow’s Nest is open for paddlers. Playgrounds remain closed.
Governor Ralph Northam briefed the public on Phase III of Reopening Virginia last week, but the guidelines announced will not affect or change the plans above. For more information and guidance on these matters, please visit www.staffordparks.com.