Willowsford Conservancy mows our trail systems on a bi-weekly schedule, with the northern villages mowed one week and the southern villages mowed the next week. Some sections, such as particularly rocky sections along Bull Run Overlook, do not get mowed as equipment cannot access them. Certain amenities, such as Hidden Meadow, also get mowed during this schedule.
No, all Willowsford trails are intended for pedestrian use and bicyclists. Motorbikes and all-terrain type vehicles are not permitted due to safety concerns, environmental impacts and trail maintenance costs. Only our trail maintenance crews are permitted to use these types of vehicles to access trails for cleanup and repair. Please report any suspected violations to a Conservancy Ranger.
In the eastern United States, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease are spread through the bites of infected blacklegged ticks, primarily those in the nymph stage. Spread of Lyme disease bacteria from an infected tick to a person generally occurs after the tick has been attached to the person’s body for at least 36 hours. Blacklegged ticks are found mainly in densely wooded areas and in transitional habitats between woodlands and open areas. Trails and campsites are often located in these areas.
One of the most effective methods for preventing Lyme disease is to check for ticks during or immediately after outdoor activity, and to promptly remove attached ticks. Wearing light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and long pants with tucked-in pant legs, is another effective method for preventing tick bites and Lyme disease. DEET-based repellents that contain 20% to 30% DEET have also been shown to be effective. Perfume and cologne can attract ticks and should be avoided when outdoors.
Black bears are the only native bears in Virginia and for the most part are rarely seen. Bears live shy and secretive lives and it’s a real treat to see one. We share their habitat and it is our responsibility to be good neighbors. Black bears lead solitary lives and travel through the wetlands and forests that surround Willowsford. We need to make sure that we don’t unnecessarily attract bears to our homes and gardens. The website of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has an excellent pamphlet on “Living with Black Bears in Virginia.”
Most residential bear problems arise from people attracting them with food. Policing your trashcans, outdoor grills, pet food and bird feeders will deter them from your property. Young bears, only a year or two old, are frequently left to roam on their own by their mothers during the summer months. Food found in back yards may make an easy meal for a young, hungry bear. Unfortunately, bears that associate humans with food and become nuisance bears are not relocated. It is the policy of VDGIF to kill nuisance bears.
We love all our wildlife, especially those bears that call this neck of the woods home; you can help by reading the VDGIF pamphlet and telling your neighbors.