A short hike through Fraser Preserve offers glimpses of the many natural habitats found in the Piedmont region, including fast, clear streams, lush cold-spring swamp, marsh, mature hardwood forests, open meadow, ponds, river and stream floodplain forests and thickets, steep rocky bluffs, springs and seeps and various stages of old field succession.
The terrain slopes down to the Potomac River, which forms the preserve's northern boundary.
Why TNC Selected This Site
Fraser Preserve was acquired in 1975 as a gift from Mrs. George (Bernice) Fraser. Originally inhabited by members of the Anacostan, Piscataway and Tauxenent tribes, the bottomlands along Fraser's river border have yielded many arrowheads, pottery shards and stone weirs (dams used in taking fish from the Potomac). American University extensively studies these historic sites, and numerous artifacts are displayed in their museum.
The area now known as Fraser Preserve was once part of a tract of 5 million acres granted by King Charles I in 1649 to seven nobleman friends. In 1710, the land was passed on to the Fairfax family and eventually to Thomas Lee, the first of the famous Virginia Lees. Wheat farming prevailed in the area from about 1790 to 1840, and the tract likely was farmed until agriculture began to decline in Fairfax County following World War I.
What TNC Has Done
Mrs. Fraser also donated a small in-holding within the preserve to the Calvary Baptist Church. TNC and the Calvary Baptist Church share the common goal of maintaining Fraser Preserve in its natural state and for the enjoyment of visitors.