FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA 9) -- Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly expressed that he was humbled by the Fairfax County Park Authority's decision to rename the 40-mile Cross County Trail, the "Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail."
"I am truly humbled by this unexpected honor," said Rep. Connolly. "The Cross County Trail is one of my proudest accomplishments in public office."
Connolly has been a long time champion of parks and trails.
As Providence District Supervisor and then Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, he initiated and led the effort to complete the Cross County Trail network.
"There are a lot of people who share this honor with me. This project is a true example of what can happen when the local community, volunteers and our elected officials work together. Thanks to that effort we are leaving behind a real gem for future generations to enjoy," he said.
"I am delighted that the Cross County Trail will be renamed for Gerry Connolly," stated Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova.
"During his tenure as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Gerry made tremendous strides in developing Fairfax County's park system and creating recreational opportunities for residents. Without his vision and leadership on the Board and his support in acquiring new park lands, the Cross County Trail would have never been possible. The Park Authority's recognition of Gerry's hard work and many years of commitment to the Cross County Trail, Fairfax County Parks, and the environment are well deserved," Bulova said in a statement.
The completed Cross County trail is more than 40 miles long today and connects Great Falls on the Potomac to Fairfax's southern border at the Occoquan River.
Building on the success of the Cross County Trail, one of the first pieces of legislation Connolly introduced in Congress was the Complete America's Great Trails Act. This legislation establishes tax incentives for landowners to grant public access and conservation easements in National Scenic Trail corridors.
"Ten of our 11 National Scenic Trails are incomplete, including sections of the Appalachian Trail," Connolly said.
"Our collaborative effort and success with Fairfax's Cross County trail is a great model to use at the federal level. This legislation is a critical step towards completing our trails and protecting our nation's beautiful lands."