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Mason Neck State Park
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Join Us for the Friends of Mason Neck State Park’s

Annual Meeting, 2 PM February 12:

Restoration of the American Shad

in the Potomac River

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park will hold their Annual Meeting via Zoom at 2 PM on Saturday, February 12. We’ll have a brief business meeting at which we summarize our activities for the year and elect a Board of Directors. Then we’ll have a presentation by Jim Cummins, a biologist and river ecologist who has played a key role in the efforts to restore the Potomac River’s shad population. 

The American shad was once one of the East Coast’s most abundant and economically important fish.


Unfortunately, by the 1970s water pollution, over-harvesting, and the blocking of spawning habitat by dams led to their decline. In 1983 a harvest moratorium on American shad was put into effect on the Potomac River but over a decade later, even with a much cleaner river, the shad population was still showing no signs of recovery.  In 1995, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) began an 8-year American shad restoration program, with the assistance of local watermen from Mason Neck and the involvement and support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. 

Jim Cummin’s talk will cover the success of that effort, the current status, how the Potomac contributed to subsequent and ongoing shad restorations in many other rivers in the mid-Atlantic, the involvement of regional schools, and a special description of the historic importance of Mason Neck to the Potomac's remarkable shad fishery.

The Annual Meeting and Program are free and open to everyone. You can register for the meeting and program here. When you register you will receive and email with the Zoom login information.    

Help Restore the Health of

the Potomac and Chesapeake

You can help restore the health of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay by participating in Mason Neck State Park’s Grasses for the Masses program. Volunteers in the program grow wild celery, an important underwater grass, in their homes and then plant it at the park to help bolster aquatic grass populations.  Underwater grasses are a vital part of the health of the Potomac and the Chesapeake. They provide food for waterfowl, oxygenate the water, filter pollution, reduce erosion and provide safe spaces for newly-hatched fish. 

To participate in the program, all you need to do is attend an orientation session at the park and pick up your supplies. There is a $25 for each Grasses Kit.  You’ll grow your grasses at home, then plant them at the park on Planting Day, May 22.  All supplies must be returned to the park on May 22. 

Registration for the orientation programs is required, and there is a maximum of 10 persons for each orientation.  Orientation times are as follows, at the Visitor Center:

January 15, 1 PM

January 22, 11 AM

January 30 1 PM

February 5, 11 AM

February 6, 11 AM

February 12, 1 PM

February 13, 1 PM

Please call the Park Visitor Center at 703-339-2380 or email at if you would like to register, have any questions or would like to participate but cannot attend any of the orientation sessions. 

MLK Service Day at Mason Neck State Park

Calling all volunteers and groups:  Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Day is January 17. Please call or email the park office if you would like to volunteer. We have many great volunteer opportunities such as trail maintenance, shoreline cleanups, scout projects, Visitor Center Assistant and more. We can tailor your volunteer experience specifically for you or your group.

Email:       Phone: 703-339-2380


    The Friends of Mason Neck State Park

Joined in Promoting Recreational Opportunities

on Mason Neck

The Friends joined with other local organizations in supporting the creation of a brochure promoting recreational opportunities on Mason Neck.  The brochure, part of the Commonwealth of Virginia's Virginia is for Lovers" campaign, will be distributed at hotels and other locations that are visited by tourists and visitors throughout northern Virginia.  You can view the brochure here: Escape to Mason Neck .pdf  


Join the Fight Against Disposable Plastic

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park are doing their part to slow the production and disposal of plastics.  Plastic bottles take as long as 450 years to decompose in the environment.  Before they do, they break down into "micro-plastic" bits that are eaten by animals and can end up in our own bodies.  On land, plastic adversely affects soil fertility, and can choke our streams and rivers.

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park have stopped offering disposable water bottles to Park volunteers and at Friends events.  Instead, they are offering free multi-use bottles that recipients can take home with them.  Hopefully, people will use these bottles instead of buying more disposable ones.  

Mason Neck State Park also is committed to reducing the use of disposable plastic bottles and has installed water bottle filling stations at the Visitor Center and the picnic area.  


Do your part too:  find ways to limit your use of disposable plastics, including those grocery store bags that have a typical useful life of 15 minutes -- the time to get from store to home -- and take 1000 years to decompose in a landfill.  

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park

The Friends of Mason Neck State Park is a Section 501(c)(3) organization that works to conserve, enhance, and interpret the Park's natural, educational, recreational, cultural and historic resources. We assist the Park Staff in implementing its programs and activities such as the annual Eagle Festival, shoreline cleanups, and outreach events.  We also sponsor special events such as our annual Owl Moon and Swanfall, our Holiday Party, help guide canoe and kayaking trips and lead hikes.




Mason Neck State Park 

Mason Neck State Park is located on the Mason Neck peninsula in southeastern Fairfax County, Virginia. The Park's wetlands, forest, water, ponds, and fields are home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, osprey, geese, ducks, swans, and other birds living on or near the Potomac River, Kane's Creek, and Belmont Bay. 

The Park has hiking trails, three miles of paved multi-use trails, a large picnic area, a playground, a car-top canoe and kayak launch, and a visitor center. Canoe, kayak, and bicycle rentals are available._____

© 2017 Friends of Mason Neck State Park, Inc.
Logo by Floyd Harrison
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