There are approximately 450 homes on Prince William's Occoquan shoreline. Much of the waterfront property is subject to perpetual easements held by the Fairfax County Water Authority. The county regulates the use of land that falls within the easement in order to protect the reservoir as one of Virginia's vital drinking sources. (The other source is the Potomac River.)
In 1990 Prince William County established Resource Protection Areas (RPA's) along its rivers and streams in cooperation with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. Prince William's Chesapeake Bay regulations require all landowners throughout the watershed area to maintain a 100-ft. wide undisturbed buffer area adjacent to perennial water bodies. All waterfront property, to some extent, is included in the RPA. Construction is restricted in the RPA.
The Occoquan flows through an area steeped in Civil War history. One of the upstream sources of the river is the historic stream known as Bull Run, the site of two major Civil War battles. The eastern end of the Occoquan also has a rich history. A little known Civil War battle was fought just upstream of the present day Occoquan Dam.
The Occoquan River's wetlands, forest, and native grasslands provide a diversity of habitats for over 220 species of birds (including the Great Blue Heron, Great Horned Owl, Osprey, Bald Eagles, and Wild Turkey), over600 species of plants, and 65 species of butterflies. It is a Nature lover's dream!
Hiking & Horseback Riding:
5,000 acres of Occoquan parklands offer a special hiking experience. The trail system along the Bull Run stream and Occoquan Reservoir offers hikers and horseback riders 18-20 miles of continuous blazed trails between Fountainhead and Bull Run Regional Parks. The run is absolutely beautiful, with small Class 1 rapids above Bull Run Marina (up to Rt. 28) during the spring.
The main species of interest in the Occoquan are Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, and Black and White Crappie but the Occoquan is also home to Channel Catfish, Flathead Catfish, Northern Pike, and White Perch. The Virginia state record Flathead Catfish was caught and released in 1994 in the reservoir. It weighed in at 66 pds., 4 oz.!
Views while cruising up and down the gentle river are serene and beautiful! The majority of boats found on the river are Jon boats, pontoon boats of various sizes, and kayaks and canoes. Motors in excess of 9.9 HP are not permitted.
The Occoquan Boat Club was established in 1979 to represent all levels of independent oarsmen rowing on the Occoquan Reservoir, from the first-time novice sculler to the competitive sweep rower. The Occoquan regularly hosts national-level and regional crew regattas at the high school, collegiate, and master's levels during the spring and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships in June.
Behind the Dam, the Occoquan is long, narrow and well protected from wind by trees. You can row from the Dam to Bull Run Park Marina at Yates Ford Bridge, more than 10 miles one way. Boaters need to be aware that the Occoquan is tidal and water levels fluctuate every 12 hours.
Beautiful stands of hemlock and deciduous trees frame the sparkling waters of the reservoir. Cruising on the river is a great way to relax. It's only 20 minutes from the hustle and bustle of nearby cities, yet it is worlds apart.
Somehow, moving along the placid river watching Great Blue Heron and savoring the gentle breeze, it's very hard to believe that you are so close to Washington, DC. You think you must be somewhere in the wilds of West Virginia.
Who needs a second home when you have such beauty at your doorstep? Residents who live along the shores of the Occoquan River vacation at home 12 months a year.