In 2009 Friends of Forest Hill Park (FFHP), together with the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities (DPRCF), decided to develop a long term plan for tree planting and landscaping in Forest Hill Park. This effort is still in the planning stage. We are fortunate to have Robert Wright as our consultant. Robert lives in Blacksburg but is very familiar with the park since he grew up in the neighborhood and spent time in the park as a child. Robert is a senior environmental scientist with the engineering and environmental firm EEE Consulting, Inc.; he is working with us on a volunteer basis. The project started as a list of 20 potential projects that will be considered for this 10 year plan. With Robert’s expert advice we will choose those that are most feasible and will have the greatest impact.
FFHP is well aware that the park is used by many different people in many ways. The focus of this plan is primarily on natural and riparian areas, but would also include consideration of appropriate management in developed areas such as around the Stone House. We seek to meet the needs of the large variety of park users while incorporating environmental stewardship into the management of developed, multiuse areas.
Goals are of the plan are:
- Protect water resources. This not only includes the lake, but all areas that could contribute sediment and pollutants to any perennial or intermittent stream that flows into Reedy Creek or the FHP Lake. Given that $1.7 million has been spent to dredge the lake, site-specific activities including plantings to retard and prevent sediment from entering the Lake from FHP property is the highest priority.
- Reduce and Prevent Soil Erosion. There are areas of active erosion with the park, some of which could be managed with appropriate plantings.
- Increase Wildlife Habitat and Wildlife Usage. This will be done by providing site specific actions that will attract, support, and sustain the greatest amount of wildlife possible. This is accomplished primarily with the use of native plants and appropriate management of natural areas.
- Manage Undesirable Vegetation. We hope to accomplish control of invasive plants to the extent possible and eliminating invasives in some areas. These plants include English ivy, wisteria, mimosa, privet, and wintercreeper.
- Champion more Sustainable Vegetation Management Practices. FFHP seeks to work with the DPRCF to develop a more sustainable maintenance schedule and practice program to better protect the park and its habitats.
- Enhance Scenic and Aesthetic Values.
- Serve as an Educational Resource for the Community.
- Serve as a Model for Park Environmental Management.