is celebrating the Fourth of July with four free events.
The Mason Neck Wagon Ride Expedition
- Head down a dusty trail and enjoy a lively conversation about history and wildlife. The ride ends with s'mores.
- Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m
All-American Rocket Power
- Shoot rockets with air pressure and water power.
- Time: 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Star Spangled Hiking Helpers
- Add some color and decorations to your hiking stick.
- Time: 3:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Symbols of Freedom: American Bald Eagles
- Bald eagle nests are all over Mason Neck State Park. Staffers will talk about the species and will hand out binoculars and a scope for spotting.
- Time: 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Meet the Park Manager
Jess Lowry and his staff recently reopened the park after Friday's violent thunderstorm, which cut power all along Mason Neck.
"In cases like this, when a storm knocks trees over our roads, our primary concern is visitor safety and reopening the park to the public as soon as possible," Lowry recently told Patch.
Lowry, 58, has managed the park since 2004, and lives on a home on the property with his wife.
"I do not sleep with one eye open," said Lowry, who oversees 16 full and part-time employees. "Fortunately, the people who come out to Mason Neck are interested in protecting this resource and we don't see a lot of after hour problems."
Lowry, an Ohio native, started work with Virginia State Parks in 1978 as a park ranger for the Natural Tunnel State Park. He also worked at Douthat State Park and Clayton Lake State Park before settling at Sky Meadow State Park for 18 years.
"I've always felt good about helping people enjoy themselves," said Lowry, who received his degree in Natural Resource Recreation at the University of Arizona. "And I know what the outdoors can do for you after a hard week at the office. You come out to Mason Neck and you find yourself on a trail, or renting a kayak or canoe.
"It does different things for different people - especially for kids. They benefit from a the outdoor experience so much more than relaxing for two hours in front of the TV," said Lowry.
Have fun folks, and happy Fourth of July!