For me anyway, it is very difficult to tell you the story of a Virginia State Park without talking about the staff.
Ok so he is not on the payroll, but I bet I got your attention! Great White Heron on the marsh at Mason Neck State Park.
Beautiful scenery, incredible birding, great hiking and biking trails, kayaking, canoeing and outstanding programs are only part of what makes Mason Neck State Park so special, it’s the staff too. It may sound a little esoteric, however, I do personally believe you can tell a lot about the park by the leadership at the park. Hmmm.. happy staff = great park atmosphere? Maybe? The staff, always friendly and helpful even on the hottest stickiest day or the coldest icy day. Smiles greet you as soon as they see you!
In fact in one of our past customer service surveys "Your Comments Count"states that the number one reason people return to a park is because of their interaction with staff.
Park Manager Jess Lowery helping a park visitor
Park Manager Jess Lowery with his strong leadership and vast experience, it is easy to see why the community surrounding the park has such great respect for him. It is also obvious that he loves the Mason Neck area! In my perception, he has a calm, intelligent way about him that influences the rest of us to be more introspective. I happened to glance at his name badge one day and noticed the “serving since” part below his name, 35 years, now that is dedication!
Assistant Park Manager David Stapleton at the Mason Neck Eagle Festival
David Stapleton, the Assistant Park Manager, is another long serving, dedicated state park employee that helps to make America’s Favoriteswinning a $50,00 grant fromthe 2014 Coca-Cola Company's America is Your Favorite Park campaign.
Patricia Paron, Program Support Technician, keeps the park running smoothly as we all depend on her! Marc Ingramm, Park Ranger and other maintenance staff are the backbone of the park. Without them, the park could not be open. They take care of trails, buildings, vehicles, signage, grass, weeds, restrooms, water supply, critters, I think you get the picture!
One of the many programs at Mason Neck State Park
I have heard people say to our park naturalists, “you have the fun job." Yes it is a “fun job” but it also takes work and dedication. They are responsible for developing the programs, promoting the programs and executing the programs. And in many cases responsible for the safety of the participants. I recently had a chance to meet with the staff responsible for the educational programs at the park. I was there to answer questions and help them as much as I could, since most of the naturalists are seasonal staff. I was the one that came away feeling inspired. It was apparent how dedicated they are with their enthusiasm for the park while offering new, refreshing ideas.
Park Naturalist Ranger Kevin demonstrates how to bake a campfire cake
Because of the small staff at Virginia State Parks everyone pitches in when needed. I have seen park management mowing grass, running tractors and removing downed trees during staff shortages or in a situation that requires immediate attention. We are indeed like one big family sometimes!
Hiking fun for all
So now that you know a little more about our staff at here for more information. Kayaking/canoeing, biking, hiking, fishing and picnicking are just a few of the fun things you can do on your own at the park. There is even a very nice play ground that provides a venue for your child's imagination and a safe place to play.
Enjoying the playground