The Potato Run property is approximately 1,000 acres and consists of several parcels of land located in Culpeper County, Virginia. The site is gently sloped to the central portion and towards Potato Run, which flows into the Rapidan River. Currently the site has two residences, multiple farm buildings and a large pond. Most of the land is used for agricultural grazing purposes.
Land use of the property and adjacent properties have remained unchanged since at least the 1860s. The property and neighboring land represent a good depiction of what the area looked like during the Civil War, with a mixture of forested land, cultivated fields, and some residential structures. Little has changed in the way of development of the area.
Potato Run provides a unique and diverse assemblage of natural habitats. Diverse types of fauna occupy the site. Several species were observed in the wetland and riparian areas and many more were found in the pasture areas of the property, including cows, llamas, horses, goats, and chickens. Natural species include: deer, raccoon, squirrels, foxes, mice, turkey vultures, hawks, woodpeckers, chipmunk, ducks, herons, egrets, Canada geese, opossum, beaver, coyote, and wild bore.
One of the most important features of the property is its frontage along the Potato Run. The stream and its associated floodplain provide valuable habitat and natural resources along its entirety within site boundaries as well as to those habitat systems onsite that are reliant on this riverine system. The stream runs for close to 10,000 linear feet across the property, providing both ecological and recreational benefits.
The placement of this land into conservation easement benefits the existing ecosystem and general public by its preservation. It also precludes the future development of this area and protects ecologically significant natural habitats, which, in the absence of the conservation easement, would logically be developed in due course.
Potato Run falls within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. The National heritage Area “was designated through legislation passed on April 29, 2008, and signed by President Bush on May 8, 2008. The legislation, S. 2739, passed the House on April 29, 2008, by a vote of 291 to 117 and the Senate on April 10, 2008, by a vote of 91 to 4. The JTHG NHA recognizes the unparalleled cultural, historic and scenic resources within the entire JTHG corridor, encompassing all or part of 15 counties in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.”
The JTHG Corridor Management Plan (2008) calls for “The following are the goals for the Byway: Conservation and Preservation: Work with existing and available tools, maintain the intrinsic qualities of the Byway primarily through private, voluntary land conservation efforts; existing and available tax incentives for historic preservation and land conservation; and the application of existing local land use plans, regulations, policies and design guidelines.”
The property is within the Goose Creek watershed with runoff flowing to the Potomac River. Any failing septic would not only impact Fauquier County but would also impact the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.