The Ragged Mountain Natural Area is Threatened

The Ragged Mountain Natural Area (RMNA) is a beautiful 980-acre park located two miles south of the Charlottesville city limits. With its mature forest and rugged topography, RMNA offers near wilderness hiking within minutes of town.

The Future Water Supply Plan will raise the level of the Ragged Mountain Reservoir at RMNA by 45 vertical feet. This will require clearcutting 180 acres of parkland at RMNA. With those 180 acres, RWSA will:

  • Flood 135 acres of mature forest that has been cited for its exceptional wildlife habitat by a Smithsonian study and Albemarle County Biodiversity Committee
    In the summer of 2002, Dr. Matthew Etterson of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center conducted a research project on the effects of forest fragmentation on nesting success of Wood Thrush at several sites in the Piedmont, including Fernbrook, Humpback Rocks, Betsy Bell, Fortune's Cove, Natural Chimneys, Paul State Forest and Ragged Mountain Natural Area. He found that among all these sites, Ragged Mountain Natural Area proved to be not only the most productive, with a total of 64 nests, but also the site of greatest nesting success. Etterson attributed that success to the maturity of the forest and the protective topography of the land.
    In the 2006 Albemarle County Biodiversity Report, the Ragged Mountains and Reservoir were cited as significant for unusual habitat that support species scarce in our area such as River Otter, Prothontary Warbler, and Wood Frog.
  • Build five miles of roads at the Ragged Mountain Natural Area
    Roads will be required for clear cutting of timber, dam construction, and reinforcement of the I-64 embankment. In addition, two miles of the now rural Reservoir Road will need to be widened and improved for the heavy equipment needed to build the dam.

* Note: The steep earthen embankment rising to I-64 was not constructed to hold back water. It will need to be stabilized by stripping, filling, and seeding/mulching as well as constructing extensions of the box culvert with new head walls. In order to gain access to this portion of the expanded RMR, approximately 2,650 feet of permanent access road will be constructed.

What We Will Lose: Wilderness in Our Own Backyard

The Ragged Mountain Natural Area is a beautiful 980-acre park, owned by the city of Charlottesville and managed by the Ivy Creek Foundation as a city-county public natural area. Unique in the local park system, RMNA offers seven miles of trails through mature forest and rugged terrain rich in wildlife and history.

Visit the Ragged Mountain Natural Area

Download a trail map with trail information.

Smithsonian study confirms exceptional wildlife habitat

Birds of the Ragged Mountain Natural Area

A Fascinating History

The region known as the Ragged Mountains is a largely undeveloped area rich in history and mystique. Read on to discover some of the fascinating details of its past.

History Overview

The Poe Connection

Building of Mayo's Dam: Holsinger Photos: 1908
Search with the keyword "dam"

125 Years of Water