Government Island joins Crow’s Nest, Ferry Farm and Aquia Landing as one of Stafford’s protected historical sites.
After countless hours of research, creative engineering and construction, and sheer perseverance on the part of the Board of Supervisors and so many other people, the dream of creating an easily accessible public park at Government Island has finally come true.
Government Island Park joins Crow’s Nest, Ferry Farm, and Aquia Landing as another historically significant protected site in Stafford County, preserved for generations to come.
Government Island played a significant role in the formation of the young United States. It was from this 17-acre piece of land that Aquia stone was quarried to build two of the world’s most famous landmarks – the White House and the U.S. Capitol.
These are just a few of the places in Stafford County that we have worked hard over the years to preserve so that we can share our story with others, and celebrate our county’s pivotal role in our nation’s history. At the dedication of the site, Aquia Supervisor Paul Milde remarked, “I have always counted myself fortunate to live in a community where the people are committed to preserving our historical and natural resources. “The same determination that helped us save Crow’s Nest from development surfaced again among our citizens when the preservation of Government Island came up for discussion.”
The Board of Supervisors purchased the island for the County in 1998. The following year, the Board established the Government Island Committee to determine the best utilization for the site. Jane Conner, a local historian, was a member of and the driving force behind that committee, and it was this group that recommended establishing a low-impact park that would be easily accessible. The Aquia Harbour Property Owners Association donated 3.7 acres south of Austin Run so that a boardwalk trail from a parking lot to Government Island could be built. “When I took office, one of my goals was to ensure that this unique piece of Stafford history – of our nation’s history – was properly preserved,” noted Milde. “When I served on the Board’s subcommittee on Government Island, I asked staff to find cost savings and they did. We were able to complete this project for under $600,000. That is almost a million less than some of our earlier estimates and budget numbers. “We were prudent with the funds for this project. Instead of using local taxpayer dollars to preserve this unique place in history, the funding came from the transient occupancy tax, which is collected at hotels. “Now, Stafford has added another important gem to its historical treasure chest, which will be enjoyed by Stafford residents today and well into the future.” Located at 191 Coal Landing Road, Government Island is open to the public daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from now through mid-March, and from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time, from mid-March to October.