Wetland Trail Challenges and Solutions

LPDA is proud to announce that the Woods in Warrenton Trail, in Warrenton, VA, is now open to the public with the official ribbon cutting ceremony on April 8th. The mile-long, multi-use trail passes through wetlands and upland forests and offers opportunities to observe unique plant and animal species including redwing black birds, salamanders, frogs, and turtles.

The trail has been in the works since 2007 when it was first envisioned as an important link to Warrenton and Fauquier County’s existing trail network as well as a neighborhood resource for the adjoining community. LPDA has been part of the entire process from initial land donation negotiations with the HOA and funding applications, through plan design, approval, and construction administration.

The trail’s design and construction were met with many unique challenges. In order to avoid any impacts to the wetlands, the trail was placed on top of the bentonite clay berm that defined the wetland cells. This required special construction details and specifications to preserve the berm’s integrity. A local regulatory body and the ACOE required that the trail surfaces be pervious. VDOT standards required the trail be firm and ADA accessible.

LPDA developed two ADA-accessible permeable trail surface details to ensure that the trail causes no runoff into the wetlands on either side. Crossing the overflow channels with the trail was another challenge, both in the design of boardwalks low enough to not require railings, and also to accommodate construction using smaller equipment that could reach the interior of the project area. During construction, the project encountered additional wet areas outside of the areas previously surveyed and LPDA worked with the Parks and Recreation Department and contractors to quickly develop alternate details to cross above the wet areas or promote drainage under the trail.

Future phases of construction will include a new parking lot and additional trail connections. The trail is very popular with joggers, cyclists, bird watchers, and walkers. Gary Rzepecki, Parks and Recreation Director, is very excited about this new wetland trail and believes the flora and fauna of the trail will offer great opportunities for natural education.

For more information on the trail, check out coverage by the local newspaper at: