Friends of 
Mason Neck State Park

August 2019 Newsletter

05 Sep 2019 11:05 PM | Thomas Blackburn (Administrator)

August 2019 Newsletter

Youth Conservation Corps Members Are Working to Improve Mason Neck State Park

Ten young men and two leaders arrived at Mason Neck State Park on July 21 to spend three weeks working on trails and other maintenance tasks at the Park.  The Friends of Mason Neck State Park welcomed them with a pizza lunch.

Photo by Mary Scala                      

Following the lunch, Friends Board Member Randy Streufert presented a program on what to expect during their stay at the Park including how to work as a unit, identification and precautions to take against insects and poison ivy, and the wildlife they are likely to see.  

Photo by Mary Scala       

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Youth Conservation Corp's program was honored as the United States Department of the interior's Outstanding State Volunteer Program in 2010.  The program engages young people in a structured program of important conservation and park projects on public lands while providing learning that fosters teamwork, self-esteem, social responsibility and respect for the environment.

Park Manager Reinhardt Gray treated the YCC team to an ice cream social later in the week.  Several Friends Board members and many Park Staff also attended the event.

Photo by Randy Streufert


Members' Corner

We're inaugurating a new feature in this month's newsletter.  We'd like to highlight in the newsletter the photos and experiences of visitors to Mason Neck State Park.  Send us your photos of your experiences the Park, with a few words or sentences explaining them, to Members' Corner Photos and we'll publish them in the newsletter and may even put them in the Friends of Mason Neck State Park website.  That way everyone can appreciate what a wonderful place Mason Neck State Park is.  

Here's the first Members' Corner submission:

Ugly can be beautiful.  While photographing wildflowers near the shoreline towards Sandy Point, this ugly-looking fly landed near me.  I'd seen this kind of fly before and assumed it to be just another kind of biting fly, like a horsefly - those pesky insects that like to take out a chunk of one's flesh. 

But I was wrong!  I later identified it as a species of Robber Fly.  Turns out that hornets and horseflies are among the prey they seek out.  They land on their victim in flight and inject a chemical solution into its back.  The Robber Fly then carries its now-dead prey away to feed on it.  What a beautiful way for a horsefly to end up and what a great predator-insect to discover at MNSP.  

Mason Neck State Park

Is Searching for Volunteers

Mason Neck State Park needs YOU!  Do you want to help preserve Virginia’s natural heritage? Are you a retiree or empty nester with a passion for conservation? Are you looking to show a current or future employer you can handle the challenge of public outreach? Then you are perfect for the job of Mason Neck State Park Volunteer! This is where you can help! Mason Neck State Park is offering new volunteer opportunities to help us better serve all those who visit the Park, which has been voted among the best state parks in the Nation. 

Contact Station Greeter:  YOU will greet visitors at the Contact Station, check passes or collect parking fees, and (most important!) suggest ways to best experience the many wonders of the Park, whether a family picnic or a visit to the playground alongside Belmont Bay, a hike or bird walk along one of our many trails, or (for the more adventurous) a few hours kayaking, canoeing, or biking. 

Visitor Center Greeter:  YOU will be the face of the Park to all those who enter the Visitor Center by answering questions about Park activities and conservation initiatives, scheduling canoe/kayak tours and bike rentals – and just chatting with the many people who visit the park from all across the Nation and the world, perhaps encouraging them to return to enjoy one of the many educational programs the Park Rangers offer each month. 

For more information, contact:

Ariel Hartman, Assistant Manager

Mason Neck State Park

703-339-2385 (Office)

Or email Ariel at





We would love to have you join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park!  Memberships fund the many Park activities we support each year.  And for as little as $20 per year, you will enjoy monthly newsletters, emails about special events and priority registration for special events such as our members-only Owl Moon in September, and Swanfall in December, and other activities during the year. You can sign up right here:  Join the Friends of Mason Neck State Park  

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