FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - As summer ramps up, so is security and enforcement at one of Northern Virginia’s popular nature preserves and parks.
To protect one of the Fairfax park system's few nature preserves, the Fairfax County Park Authority stepped up enforcement of park rules at Scott's Run Nature Preserve in McLean starting last weekend over Memorial Day.
Since alcohol or glass bottles are prohibited in the park, bags and coolers will be checked at trailheads in the parking lot from 10 a.m until 6 p.m., seven days a week.
According to the park authority, Scott's Run has seen visitors take part in activities and "bad behavior" that pose safety risks and a threat to the rare plant species at the nature preserve in recent years.
The park wasn’t too busy during last weekend’s Memorial Day holiday because of the rainy weather but the park authority is expecting more people and families who are ready for summer, to hit the park and the trials beginning this weekend as it’s going to be a lot warmer and clearer weather.
Fairfax County Police told Fox 5’s Ayesha Khan that visitors will notice more officers in patrol cars and on foot monitoring the park.
Police have not made any recent arrests or have had any calls for service but Park authority said that last year, a group of young people was caught on cellphone video partying on the rocks, drinking and making noise.
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Park authorities also hauled a ton of trash left behind in the park over last year’s Memorial Day holiday, so this time county police and park authority are taking a much stricter approach which some park visitors Khan spoke with said, they don’t mind.
"I’m ok with having my bag checked," said Camille White, who was visiting from the District. "I’m here to enjoy nature and not necessarily the party because there are places to party in D.C And I don’t think a park is one of them necessarily."
Park authority will also monitor the waterfall area and warning against swimming and wading as the area has dangerous currents and submerged rocks that can be deadly for swimmers.
"I think in order to use this place and appreciate nature it needs to be preserved and that definitely needs to be a priority," said Rachel Pederson, who was visiting the park Friday.
Park authority is also warning visitors about limited parking. Space is limited to 50 cars. Visitors are asked to stay in the designated parking areas and not park along the roadway such as Georgetown Pike or in surrounding neighborhoods for safety reasons.