About Nova Parks

About Nova Parks

In the late 1950's, the Northern Virginia Planning District Commission and a group of citizens from several local jurisdictions came together to protect Northern Virginia's rich heritage of woods, meadows, lakes and streams from the threat of suburban sprawl. These citizens, working with their local governments--Fairfax County, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church--organized under the Virginia Park Authorities Act in 1959 as the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA). They came together to plan, acquire develop and operate a system of regional parks for all Northern Virginians to enjoy.

Today, NOVA Parks (as the organization came to be known in 2014) represents three counties and three cities -- Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, the City of Alexandria, the City of Falls Church and the City of Fairfax. NOVA Parks staff, volunteer board members appointed from each jurisdiction and many friends of the regional parks working together have preserved over 12,000 acres of the rolling and wooded Virginia countryside for you and created a priceless legacy for future generations.                  

Through your regional parks, the NOVA Parks provides almost two million citizens with some of the finest recreational facilities in the country. By pooling their funds, these local governments find that each dollar they contribute to NOVA Parks is multiplied by contributions from other member jurisdictions and sometimes augmented even more by state and federal grants and private donations. Being a member of NOVA Parks is a good economic investment.

From a wavepool to nature trails, from golfing to boating, there's a NOVA Parks that is just right for you. Come for the day, a weekend or a week. The NOVA Parks are yours to enjoy!


NOVA Parks Mission Statement

NOVA Parks - the best of Northern Virginia through nature, history, and great family experiences

NOVA Parks was founded under the Virginia Park Authorities Act and from the Concurrent Resolutions.

NOVA Parks shall plan, acquire, develop, construct, operate and maintain a system of regional parks, within the geographical limits of the political subdivisions composing the Authority.

NOVA Parks' Activities

  • Acquire, preserve and protect regionally significant areas of exceptional natural, environmental, historic, cultural, recreational or aesthetic value;
  • Provide a diverse system of regional park lands and recreational facilities that meets the needs of a dynamic and growing population and enhances leisure time opportunities for Northern Virginians;
  • Provide leadership in the planning and coordination of regionally significant park and recreation projects;
  • Balance the development of recreational amenities and opportunities with the preservation of natural, scenic, historic, cultural and other environmentally sensitive resources;
  • Maintain the integrity and quality of park and recreation facilities through continued careful development, operation and maintenance;
  • Strive for continued sound fiscal management so as to provide for long-term financial stability and solvency.


What can I do to help NOVA Parks improve and expand its services and acquire new parklands?
Check our Volunteer Opportunities for information on parks that seek volunteers for a variety of projects. Make a tax-deductible donation by cash, check or credit card. For information on deeding your home, farm or land, please call the NVRPA planning and development director at 703-359-4606.

What is a regional park?
A NOVA Parks park is a unique natural and historic place that has been preserved and, in many cases, enhanced with recreational facilities such as golf courses, swimming pools, campgrounds, trails and access to waterways. Many of our parks offer educational opportunities, such as our 1753 historic home, working farm, nature center, botanical garden and Civil War battlefield. Amidst the regions rapid and widespread development, we offer scenic overlooks and quiet, green spaces.

Regional parks may cross the jurisdictional boundaries of two or more localities, may be too costly to be undertaken by any one jurisdiction alone or may have special characteristics which appeal to the broad-based population of the entire region.

From the beginning, four decades ago, regional parks were designed to supplement local parks, not replace them. NOVA Parks cooperates with governments and park and recreation agencies of the six member jurisdictions to meet the needs of an expanding population and provide a balance amid growing urban development. The population served by NOVA Parks has grown to more than one-and-a-half million residents and is expected to reach two million by the year 2020.

Can you conquer Climb UPton?

Climb UPton—the largest ropes course in the Mid-Atlantic— is NOW OPEN DAILY! Climb UPton offers 90 different elements and three levels of difficulty.

Waterparks are NOW OPEN DAILY!

Make a splash today at one of five NOVA Parks Waterparks, and enjoy a full day of summer fun! Waterparks open daily at 11 a.m. through August 20.* *Ocean Dunes opens at 10 a.m. on Mondays.