The goal of the Department of Parks and Recreation is to develop facilities to ensure that all citizens of Bedford County are provided with well-balanced leisure opportunities through a variety of programs, facilities and open spaces designed to improve their social, mental, and physical development, and to provide these opportunities in safe and clean environments that promote the accessibility, visibility and healthful use of the County’s waterways, forests, open spaces, trails and other environmental assets and that preserve the features, sounds and sights that showcase the County’s natural assets.

Facilities, programs, philosophy

Over the years, the Bedford County Parks and Recreation Department (BCPRD) has placed a great deal of emphasis upon developing and administering strong youth sports’ programs. Lease agreements are maintained with the Bedford County School Board, civic clubs, and athletic associations throughout the County in order that fields and gymnasiums are available for the various youth activities offered throughout the County. The BCPRD coordinates through, and collaborates with, ten different recreation associations throughout Bedford County to provide the various youth activities. Included in the Department’s youth sports offerings are: football, cheerleading, soccer, wrestling, tee-ball, baseball, softball, basketball and tennis. Additionally, various sport’s camps may be offered throughout the year.

Currently, adult softball including co-ed, church and men’s leagues, is offered in the spring and summer. A variety of activities, with a primary emphasis on the County’s senior population, including, a senior softball team, lunch trips, day trips to various points of interest, and overnight trips, are offered. Bingo is another activity that is offered and enjoyed by many local seniors.

Special events are also offered throughout the year, such as an Easter Egg Hunt, Youth Fishing Clinic, Spooktacular, Breakfast with Santa, Elderfest and mountain bike races. Additional special events such as concerts will be offered as the parks are completed.

The Forest Recreation Center’s operations are administered through BCPRD. The facility is available for rental and includes a 5000 square foot open room and a smaller “club” room with approximately 800 square feet. Wedding receptions, dances, birthday parties, family reunions, and various meetings have been held at this facility and this facility will allow BCPRD the opportunity to offer a range of programs that it has not been able to offer in the past.

Continuing renovations to the “Old” Montvale School will allow greater use of this facility. The small gym area and some classrooms will be utilized to offer various program offerings.

While a great deal of emphasis has been placed upon establishing youth sports throughout the County, and that effort will continue, and attention has been placed upon activities for the seniors, there are additional leisure needs of the County’s population that the BCPRD would like to more fully address.

Currently, the County has four regional park sites ranging in size from approximately 120 acres to 250 acres. These sites are located in the Montvale, Moneta, and New London areas, and adjacent to the County Nursing Home facility (Falling Creek Park). These park sites illustrate the County’s desire to lessen its dependence on others for its park and recreation needs. As these parks are developed, the facilities may include multi-use fields, outdoor courts, picnic shelters, playground equipment, a variety of trails, restrooms, and other facilities addressing the diverse leisure demands of the residents of Bedford County.

Falling Creek is being enjoyed by the public as the first phase of development of this park approaches completion. Picnic shelters, playground equipment, a paved walking trail with exercise stations and 7-8 miles of more primitive trails for walkers, runners, hikers and bikers are in place.

The initial phase of grading has been completed at Moneta Park and the area has been seeded. As the areas become established in grass, fields and facilities will be constructed.

Construction drawings including soccer fields, a picnic shelter and playground equipment are being developed for Montvale Park in order that this project can be bided out. Multi-use trails have been developed totaling approximately 8 miles and can be accessed from a parking area off of Quarterwood Road. Work is underway on improvements to adjacent school fields that will serve park users. The results of these improvements will be a lighted football field and a lighted softball field.

The BCPRD staff believes that these parks and other public spaces can be a unifying element in the community and that they can promote a healthful environment and a higher quality of life. Our parks and other public spaces can provide relief from the stresses of life, protect the natural ecosystem, enhance air and water quality, preserve habitat that supports a rich diversity of plants and animals, and protect and restore waterways essential to the environmental health of the community and region.

The BCPRD supports efforts to develop parks and to preserve open spaces when done so in a planned and objective manner. Efforts to preserve open spaces should include stewardship plans that illustrate sound environmental management plans and that serve to educate the public with regards to the benefits of these open spaces. It is imperative that access to our park and recreation facilities and programs meets the spirit as well as the letter of intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The development of the County’s parks and other open spaces should take into consideration the minimizing of any economic barriers to enjoyment of these County spaces and resources without compromising the quality of any resource, program, and/or the desired experience.

Bedford County’s public spaces can connect people to people and provide a “common ground” where people of diverse backgrounds and interests can reinforce a shared identity as Bedford County residents. Our parks and public spaces play a role in preserving the atmosphere that has defined much of Bedford County’s rural heritage.

Extensive research shows that, in addition to being a vital means of social enrichment, the arts are also an economically sound investment. BCPRD will strive to expand its focus on the arts, cultural and historical programs and facilities, in an attempt to meet and/or exceed the community’s expectations. BCPRD will partner with other organizations in this effort.

Bedford County has and needs to continue to create partnerships with Bedford County Public Schools and other private, governmental and non-profit organizations. These partnerships help leverage funding and other resources for the community, and will continue to be more and more important as the availability of land lessens or becomes more costly. In order to minimize risk and inefficiencies, and provide for equitable, mutually-beneficial and well-managed partnerships, the BCPRD will pro-actively plan and set policy for procuring and managing partnerships.

Many new and rewarding opportunities are present for Bedford County as our parks are developed. We hope that you will support current and future expanded opportunities to enjoy your leisure.