Lake Accotink

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Lake Accotink
Lake Accotink (5113198458).jpg
Lake Accotink
Location Fairfax County, Virginia,
United States
Coordinates 38°47′35″N 77°13′06″W / 38.793169°N 77.218316°W / 38.793169; -77.218316Coordinates: 38°47′35″N 77°13′06″W / 38.793169°N 77.218316°W / 38.793169; -77.218316
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Accotink Creek
Primary outflows Accotink Creek
Basin countries United States
Lake Accotink Park
Location Springfield, Fairfax County, Virginia, United States
Area 493-acre (2.00 km2)
Operated by Fairfax County Park Authority
Status Open all year
Website Official site

Lake Accotink is a reservoir in North Springfield in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Lake Accotink is formed by the damming of Accotink Creek. The lake is surrounded by Lake Accotink Park.

The lake[edit]

The lake is 55 acres, and the surrounding park is 493. The primary inflow and outflow is Accotink Creek, which is dammed on the south side, near a Norfolk Southern railway trestle. During 2010, the dam underwent construction. Boat rentals had to be suspended during that time.


The park has bikes, canoes, paddleboats, and rowboats available for rent. Visitors can also ride tour boats, or walk or run the 3.75 miles (6.04 km) trail loop around the lake. Other trails stretch beyond the park and connect to the Cross-County Trail, with its running trails and mountain biking trail. A miniature golf course surrounds an antique carousel near the south entrance to the park. Gas-powered motorboats are not allowed on the lake.


At the snack bar/boathouse visitors can purchase chips, drinks, and other snacks. Pavilions can be reserved for parties or other special occasions. An antique carousel runs during the summer, and there are playgrounds near the pavilions. Close to the playground are picnic areas with grills. A wide range of summer camps are available during the summer.


Lake Accotink hosts a great variety of wildlife. Waterfowl such as great blue herons, ducks, and Canada geese float on the water. Birds like seagulls, American robins, swifts, swallows, osprey, and occasionally bald eagles inhabit the park. Red foxes, white-tailed deer and beaver dams are common along the edges of the lake.


Lake Accotink was constructed in 1943-44 by the U.S. Army as a reservoir for Fort Belvoir.[1] The dam impounding the Accotink Creek was built on the site of a previous dam which had existed for that same purpose from 1918 to 1922.[1]

The discharge of sewage treatment plants in Fairfax and Vienna into the Accotink Creek eventually led to the contamination of the water to the point where it was no longer fit for drinking, and the Army sought to dispose of the reservoir.[2]

The area had been open to recreational use previously, but the Army's discontinuing use of the reservoir led to closing of the site, as guards were no longer posted.[3] After the land and reservoir were officially declared as surplus, Fairfax County in 1958 expressed its in acquiring the land and reservoir for use as a public park and recreation area.[4]

Although the reservoir had previously been declared surplus, the Army decided it wanted to retain title to the property in case of future need. In March 1960, Fairfax was awarded a 25-year license to develop the lake for public park and recreational use.[5] Shortly thereafter, the reservoir was officially renamed Lake Accotink.

In 1964, Lake Accotink was declared surplus and put up for auction. The Fairfax County Park Authority was the high bidder, and officially purchased the 242-acre tract, including the 100-acre lake, for $176,500 in April 1965.[6]

Fairfax County Park Authority Director James D. Bell closed Lake Accotink in June 1970 when samples taken from Accotink Creek above the lake were found to be so contaminated with intestinal bacteria from the City of Fairfax's overloaded sewage treatment plant that the water was a health hazard.[7][8] Following the closure of the Fairfax City sewage plant and the connection of the city to the county's sewer system in February 1971, Director Bell announced a plan to drain, refill and restock the lake with fish.[9][10]

Despite the closure of the sewage plant and the draining and refilling of the lake, tests still showed the lake as being too polluted to use, as runoff from development had silted the 80-acre lake and trapped the filth in sediment.[11] The lake was finally opened in July 1971, although only for boating and fishing, as it was still too polluted to swim in.[12]


On June 3, 1961, 4-year-old Kevin Kilduff drowned in the spillway after wandering off from a picnic with his mother. The boy was taken to the Alexandria Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.[13]

45-year-old Merrill J. Fogle drowned in the lake on the night of July 5, 1976 when the boat in which he and two friends were in overturned and he disappeared while swimming for the shore. Fogle was found by rescue divers early the next morning and was taken to Fairfax Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.[14]

On May 29, 1993, 8-month old Mario Roberto Sierra drowned in the lake when the canoe he was riding in capsized. Sierra was not wearing a life jacket. His corpse was recovered the following day, about 200 yards from shore.[15][16]

On July 12, 1997, Eric A. Barcia, a fast-food worker, taped a bunch of bungee cords together, wrapped an end around one foot, anchored the other end to the trestle at train bridge, jumped -- and hit pavement.[17]

See also[edit]

Accotink Creek


  1. ^ a b "Lake Accotink Dam, Virginia - Water Dams on". Retrieved 2015-10-27. 
  2. ^ "New Lake Unsafe For Swimmers". The Washington Post. 3 April 1960. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ "Fort Belvoir to Open Reservoir to Public". The Washington Post. 4 September 1959. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. 
  4. ^ "Fairfax Wants Fort's Reservoir for Park". The Washington Post. 2 October 1958. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. 
  5. ^ "Fairfax Wins Belvoir Park". The Washington Post. 1 April 1960. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ "Lake Accotink Is Sold To Fairfax by Army". The Washington Post. 27 April 1965. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. 
  7. ^ Curry, William N. (14 June 1970). "Accotink Closing Is Urged: Polluted Lake Reported as Health Hazard". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  8. ^ "Polluted Lake Accotink Closed by Park Head". The Washington Post. 15 June 1970. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  9. ^ Curry, William N. (4 February 1971). "Fairfax Sewerage Problem Resolved". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ Curry, William N. (5 February 1971). "Fairfax Sets Renewal Of Polluted Park Lake". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  11. ^ Bredemeier, Kenneth (19 June 1971). "Fairfax Lake Held Still Too Polluted". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  12. ^ "Lake Accotink Reopens Today for Some Sports". The Washington Post. 3 July 1971. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "Fence Planned at Drowning Site". The Washington Post. 7 June 1961. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. (subscription required (help)). 
  14. ^ "Springfield Man Drowns in Accotink". The Washington Post. 7 July 1976. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Proquest. 
  15. ^ Associated Press (1 June 1993). "Baby drowns as canoe capsizes". The Free Lance-Star. Fredericksburg, Virginia. p. C3. Retrieved 26 October 2015 – via Google News. 
  16. ^ Shear, Michael D. (10 June 1993). "Park Authority May Keep Children Out of Rental Boats". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 October 2015. 
  17. ^ Allen, Mike; Allen, Mike (1997-07-13). "RESTON MAN, 22, DIES AFTER USING BUNGEE CORDS TO JUMP OFF TRESTLE". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 

External links[edit]