Ragged Mountain Natural Area

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The Ragged Mountain Natural Area consists of 980 acres of forest that surround the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. There are seven miles of trails. The natural area was originally administered by the Ivy Creek Foundation but that is now being handled by the City of Charlottesville, the entity that owns the property. [1]


In April 1997, representatives of the Ivy Creek Foundation began negotiations with the City of Charlottesville to have the land surrounding the reservoir designated as a "public natural area reserved for quiet hiking, fishing, and wildlife observation[2]." The goal was to protect the reservoir's watershed from development. The foundation agreed to build a rustic parking lot, monitor biological conditions, and create and maintain a trail system.

The project received financial assistance from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and the Virginia Department of Forestry. The Ragged Mountain Natural Area was opened to the public in March of 1999.

The Ivy Creek Foundation managed the property from its opening in 1999 until 2014. Following the completion of the Ragged Mountain Dam in 2014, however, the foundation board decided to not continue their managerial responsibilities and City Parks and Recreation assumed management of the natural area.[3]

With the completion of the expanded reservoir, the trail system is being expanded. A floating bridge was installed across the waterway in May 2016.[4]


Visitors can drive to the area by driving down Reservoir Road off of Fontaine Avenue. There is a parking area.


Officials in the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department are considering opening up certain trails in the natural area to cyclists, runners and dogs. The City Council considered the issue on October 19, 2015 at their regular meeting, but voted to table any changes to area rules until an ecological study of the natural area had been completed[5]

Between April and May 2016, Charlottesville Parks and Recreation held four public meetings regarding public trail use.[6]

At the May 24, 2016 meeting, Parks and Recreation officials presented four potential options for public trail use, ranging from ending public access to the natural area to allowing dogs and bikes on the "road beds" of the natural area, but not on trails. Attendees at the May 24 meeting expressed a preference to an alternative shared use option that would allow bikes on the trails. Parks and Recreation officials said public comments from the meetings will be incorporated into a draft plan that went before the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in July. [7]

The parks board held a public hearing in July at which over 75 people spoke with opinions largely split between preserving the trails as is and opening up their use to cyclists. [8]

External links


  1. Web. Trails in Charlottesville, City of Charlottesville, retrieved February 23, 2015.
  2. Ivy Creek Foundation website, retrieved on February 27, 2009
  3. Web. Charlottesville officials hear support for bikes at Ragged Mountain, Tim Dodson, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 25, 2016, retrieved May 26, 2016.
  4. Web. Unique bridge allows visitors to cross reservoir, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, World Media Enterprises, May 16, 2016, retrieved May 26, 2016.
  5. Web. Council delays opening Ragged Mountain Natural Area to bikes, dogs, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 20, 2015, retrieved May 26, 2016.
  6. Web. Ragged Mountain, City of Charlottesville, May, 2016, retrieved May 26, 2016.
  7. Web. Charlottesville officials hear support for bikes at Ragged Mountain, Tim Dodson, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 25, 2016, retrieved May 26, 2016.
  8. Web. Public split during hearing on Ragged Mountain Natural Area, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Tomorrow, July 21, 2016, retrieved July 25, 2016.