The Fairfax County Park Authority will hold a ceremony Saturday in Lorton to rename the 40-mile Cross County Trail the “Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail," in recognition of Congressman Connolly's strong support for open space and parkland during his tenure on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, according to a news release from the congressman's office.
- Check out trail maps here. According to the county, you can "run with your child or your leashed pet, ride a bike or a horse, skate, skip or take a leisurely stroll."
The renaming ceremony for the Cross County Trail (CCT) will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. on National Trails Day, at Laurel Hill Park, Giles Run Meadow, 8400 Lorton Road, in Lorton.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors took action last year to rename the trail after Connolly. The Board cited Connolly’s “countless contributions to parks during his tenure as the former Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and as a longtime steward of the environment,” according to the news release.
The Supervisors also noted Connolly’s work with the Fairfax County Parks Authority and other citizen groups to establish the trail, pointing out: “He is informally considered to be the ‘father” of the CCT and this trail naming is a well-deserved tribute to Mr. Connolly.”
In June 1999, then-Providence District Supervisor Connolly joined Fairfax trail advocates on a Trails Day hike along a portion of the trail and immediately agreed to push for the creation of a trail that would run from Great Falls on the Potomac River to Fairfax County's southern border with Prince William at the Occoquan River. That same month, Connolly offered a motion to create a cross county trail. The motion won unanimous approval from the Board of Supervisors.
Over the next several years, Fairfax Board Chairman Connolly worked with the Park Authority and citizens trail advocates to create the trail which follows the existing stream valley trail system belonging, for the most part, to the Park Authority. The trail links existing trails together with other public lands owned by the National Park Service, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, the City of Fairfax, Reston, and public sidewalks through each magisterial district in Fairfax County to form a continuous pedestrian route from Great Falls to Prince William County.
“I am truly humbled by this honor,” Connolly said. “The Cross County Trail is one of my proudest accomplishments in public office. There are a lot of people who share this honor with me, including the Park Authority staff and the groups and citizens dedicated to making the trail a reality. This project is a sterling example of what can happen when the local community, volunteers and our elected officials work together. Thanks to that effort, we are leaving behind a real gem for future generations to enjoy.”
Congressman Connolly introduced the Complete America’s Great Trails Act in the House of Representatives. This legislation establishes tax incentives for landowners to grant public access and conservation easements in National Scenic Trail corridors. “Ten of our 11 National Scenic Trails are incomplete, including sections of the Appalachian Trail,” Connolly said.