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Issue 66
Friday, May 21, 2021
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

Yes, the subject line of this email is striking. It came from Carlton Phillips, owner of the Prince William Marina, who I spoke to last Saturday at the Blessing of the Fleet at Belmont Bay (see article below). But in thinking about that quote, let’s look at the facts: Prince William County has almost 30 miles of shorelines along the Potomac itself. Besides the Potomac River it borders the Occoquan Bay and the Occoquan River. It has an ample number of marinas, numerous preserves, and parks along our banks. 

It is a major regional player in the boat sales arena and people throughout the Commonwealth come to Woodbridge to enjoy their favorite pastime. I recently read a coastal study of Prince William County from 1976. We have come a long way from then in terms of our recreational boating activities, and I know we will continue to expand what we offer. 

The Prince William coastline is another jewel in our crown and we need to let people know how much it shines. I encourage everyone to spend a day traveling to our marinas and reserves, whether it be in Occoquan and Woodbridge, or the Leesylvania State Park. Get out and see the wonder that is Prince William County. 

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Get the Shot
To schedule a Prince William Health District vaccination appointment for:
  • Adults, go to, enter your zip code, select 25-miles” for Distance Range.
  • Adolescents aged 12-15, go to, enter your zip code, select 25-miles” for Distance Range, and search for Vaccine Type “Pfizer.” A parent or guardian, with legal proof, must be present at vaccination and verbally attest to the age.

Find additional vaccination locations by:
  • Going to to find locations near you with your local pharmacies, hospitals, community vaccination, and health centers, and doctors’ offices.
  • Text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX).

To request a replacement COVID-19 vaccination card you can either:
Chair's Calendar
On Saturday, May 15, Chair Wheeler participated in the Blessing of the Fleet at the Occoquan Harbor Marina. A centuries-old tradition, a blessing from the local Clergy is meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season.

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Occoquan River Maritime Association's Blessing (ORMA) and was dedicated to the memory of Patricia Croft, who was the Presiding Coordinator of ORMA and a board member of many other organizations associated with PWC waterways. More than 100 boats attended the free event, led by the fireboat spraying a Water Salute.

See the "In and On the Water" section below for more information about the many wonderful water-related places of interest in the County.
Debbie Phillips, co-owner of Prince William Marina
Jim Brooks, manager of Belmont Bay Harbor Marina
Thursday, May 13, Chair Wheeler met with Frances Robin, Director of Carried to Full Term, a nonprofit organization that works to equip pregnant and homeless women with the tools to become independent and self-sufficient. The organization's home provides housing, counseling, social service contacts, and postpartum support in an independent living environment.
Friday, May 15, Chair Wheeler supported the arts when she attended the Manassas Ballet Theatre's performance of Giselle at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. If you missed Giselle, streaming begins Saturday, May 29, and will be available for 30 days. Tickets are on sale now for the Ballet's 2021 - 2022 season, which kicks off October of this year with Frankenstein. Also on Saturday, May 29, Hylton on the Hill returns with the first of its live outdoor performances.
Saturday, May 15, Chair Wheeler participated in the dedication and ribbon cutting of the Brentsville Jail Museum at the Brentsville Historic Courthouse Centre. Built in 1822 as the fourth county seat for PWC, the Brentsville Courthouse was the center of all county business, voting, tax collection, civil and criminal cases alike, for the next 70 years. Its 28-acre campus has 5 historic buildings: the courthouse, jail, church, farmhouse, and a one-roomed schoolhouse. Tours are offered Thursday-Monday, May through October from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. You can hear Chair Wheeler's comments at the ceremony in the video below.
PWC is the home of 12 historic sites located throughout the county, which can be located using the PW Recreation Mapper tool and selecting the Historic Parks tab. All are managed by the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, which has 3 accredited bodies: the Department, the Office of Tourism, and the office of Historic Preservation. Only 1% of the agencies in the country are accredited.
Monday, May 17, Chair Wheeler attended the retirement ceremony of PWC Police Captain James Carr. In addition to serving the County for over 30 years, Captain Carr most recently headed the Personnel Bureau, which in addition to recruiting, processing, and selecting applicants, oversees the Department's Crisis Intervention services including the Co-Responder Unit. Captain Carr has a Doctoral of Education in Higher Education Leadership, a passion for music, plays guitar, and serves as President-Elect for the ARTfactory in downtown Manassas.
Thursday, May 20, Chair Wheeler was a guest at the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Director's meeting. The District is focused on protecting and enhancing water and soil resources in the County and provides free technical service to farmers, homeowners, students, teachers, and more. It is funded by the PWC Department of Public Works, Stormwater Management Division, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Soil and Water Conservation. Read their latest Watershed Newsletter to see all the great work the District was involved in during the first quarter of 2021.
Friday, May 21, Chair Wheeler made a "pit stop" at Haymarket Bicycles in celebration of National Bike to Work Day (issue 64). Logan shared that 6-7 people had stopped by earlier and those who were pre-registered received a 2021 commemorative t-shirt! The 10 pit stops across the County provided cyclists t-shirts, water bottles, and snacks. After being cancelled last year, it was great to see this event held again.
BOCS Updates
Upcoming Meeting

TuesdayJune 8
meeting is CANCELLED

The next meeting will be on June 15
More information will be provided in a future Wheeler Report.

During the summer months, the BOCS meets less frequently. Currently, in addition to June 15, meetings are scheduled for the dates and times listed below.
June 22
2:00 pm and 7:30 pm
July 13 and 22
2:00 pm and 7:30 pm
August 3
2:00 pm
On and In the Water
With the Potomac River shoreline, abundance of creeks, and many bodies of water PWC is a water lovers' paradise. There is boating, fishing, sports, and just good old fun! If it has to do with water you'll find it in PWC. A few of our great water-related places of interest are featured below and many more can be found using the search tools highlighted.
Before you venture out, get up-to-date about water safety on the National Safety Council and American Red Cross websites.
Lake Ridge Marina in Woodbridge is located directly on the 2,100-acre Occoquan Reservoir, in the Lake Ridge community. The 74-acre park maintains unencumbered public access to the Occoquan Water Trail.

There is a universal access boat launch and dock access. Powerboats are restricted to 10 hp or less. The marina offers three-season boat and equipment rentals, including canoes, pedal boats, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and jon boats.

The main fish available are largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. Both bank and boat fishing is permitted.

Additional Activities and Information
The marina offers concessions, bait, and safety equipment. For land recreation, there are playground areas, horseshoe pits, and nature trails. Register for a variety of activities including camping, classes, fishing, golfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, scouting and more.
Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge is a 500-acre state park located on a peninsula bordered by the Potomac River, Neabsco Creek, and Powell's Creek. Native Americans lived on this land for thousands of years. Captain John Smith visited the area in 1608 on his voyage of discovery and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks.

Rental of canoes and kayaks is available. Northern Virginia Sailing School offers specialized classes for all levels of sailing expertise, sailboats for rent, and captains for group excursions. It features a state-of-the-art boat launch and a boat storage area.

The tidal river creates a freshwater fishing area with a variety of largemouth bass, striped bass, catfish and perch. You can fish from the pier or use the boat ramp and sailboat hoist for water access. Overnight fishing is available from March to October.

Additional Activities and Information
The park has sandy beaches, five hiking trails, a 20-station fitness trail, tent-only camping sites (reservations required), an amphitheater, and educational programs. Also available is a snack bar, store, visitor center, and gift shop. There are park fees, including parking, and annual passes can be purchased.
Locust Shade Park in Triangle, located next to the Marine Corps Heritage Museum, is comprised of 400 beautiful acres offering an abundance of activities and an 8 acre pond.

Pedal boats are available for rent on weekends from May through September.

The 8-acre pond is regularly stocked with fish by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. You'll find channel catfish in the Spring and trout from November to April. Bluegill, largemouth bass, and crappie are native and can be caught year-round. Fishing is allowed exclusively from the tree-lined banks.

Additional Activities and Information
Amenities include eight pavilions (available to rent), playgrounds, tennis courts, volleyball courts, 3.2 miles of scenic nature trails, a 15-station fitness trail, batting cages, a driving range, an 18-hole miniature golf course, and an amphitheater. Register for a variety of activities which include camps, sporting instruction, and educational programs.

Silver Lake Regional Park in Haymarket is a designated passive recreation park with 230 acres of rolling meadows, pine forests, and a 23-acre lake fed by Little Bull Run Stream.

Non-motorized boats are allowed.

The lake has bluegill and largemouth bass and allows bank and non-motorized boat fishing.

Additional Activities and Information
The park has 4 miles of multipurpose trails which are used with equal enthusiasm by equestrians and hikers alike. There are two designated picnic areas with wooden tables, permanent grills, and restroom facilities.
Potomac Access Full-Service Marinas

Belmont Bay Harbor Marina is located at the confluence of the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers. Within a waterfront community, it is open to the public.

EZ Cruz Marina is located on the Potomac River in Neabsco Creek off Occoquan Bay. Family owned and operated since 1971.

Hampton's Landing Potomac River Marina is located on the wooded shoreline of Neasbco Creek. Pontoon boats, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards are available for rent.

Occoquan Harbor Marina is located on the Occoquan River and has BBQ grills and a slip-holder pavilion.
There's Much More

The Spring/Summer 2021 issue of PWC Leisure Magazine is out and has information on water locations and activities. Use the Water Access tab on the Prince William Recreation Tool and click on the location tiles. On the PWC Department of Parks and Recreation Leisure webpage, search by activity type or location. At VisitPWC, there are sections devoted to aquatic adventures, fishing, water sports, or use the search tool to look for topics of interest.
About Fishing Licenses

The Commonwealth of Virginia requires a Sportsman’s License if you are 16 years and older.  For more information, contact Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. To obtain a license, visit the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
State News
Transparency for Equity
Virginia has launched the nation’s first public statewide health equity dashboards. Created by the Virginia Health Equity Leadership Taskforce in partnership with several state agencies. the dashboards are being launched as a part of Virginia’s commitment to operationalizing equity and in response to legislation passed earlier this year.
The Equity in Action Dashboard is a snapshot of the progress Virginia has made across our COVID-19 response and recovery programs and other initiatives.
The Equity at a Glance Dashboard provides a data-driven snapshot of Virginia’s standing across six social determinants of health indicators.
Unemployment Benefits System Boost
Governor Ralph Northam announced that he has directed the Virginia Employment Commission to invest $20 million to dramatically expand the agency’s ability to process complicated unemployment insurance claims. The Executive Directive requires the agency to add 300 new adjudication staffers, make immediate technology upgrades, and complete a full modernization of the Commonwealth’s unemployment insurance system by October 1, 2021.
Hometown Heroes
A Worthy Commendation
On Tuesday, May 18, the BOCS commended Tom Burrell for his advocacy for neighbors across the County and his significant contributions to the Greater Prince William community. For more than two decades, Mr. Burrell was a member of the Lake Ridge-Occoquan-Coles Civic Association and served in several positions, including Vice-Cchairman of the Association’s Planning, Environment Land-Use and Transportation Committee.
Mr. Burrell also served as Vice-Chairman of PWC’s Future’s Commission, which studied what the County should look like in 2030. In addition, he served as Vice-Chairman on the County’s Land Use Advisory Committee and as a member on several budget advisory committees that provided citizen input on the annual County budget. Mr. Burrell graciously received his commendation via Zoom.
On Tuesday, May 18, the BOCS proclaimed May as Foster Care Month to celebrate and acknowledge all who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. In Fiscal Year 2020, the PWC Department of Social Services provided custodial foster care for 109 children in the County. In 2020, 87 local foster care families took on the responsibility of providing care and love to children whose families could not see to those needs. Timothy and Jessica Woodcock were recently named PWC's 2021 Foster Parents of the Year (issue 65).
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.