Wilderness Crossing

aerial image of forested land next to a major road

Wilderness Crossing is a 2,600-acre rezoning and development proposal in Orange County for the intersection of Rt. 3 and Rt. 20 adjacent to Wilderness Battlefield and across from Lake of the Woods. It would be the largest land rezoning in Orange County history and could raise taxes for county residents and cause unnecessary harm to natural and historic resources for years to come.

In addition to concerns about taxes, infrastructure (water and sewer), traffic, and habitat fragmentation, Wilderness Crossing is also the site of numerous unreclaimed gold mines—essentially, mines that have never been closed off and cleaned up of contaminants such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead. The largest mine on the property, called the Vaucluse mine, was at one time considered for potential inclusion as an EPA Superfund site. Since it was never cleaned up, the tailings pit is likely still leaching toxic chemicals into Shotgun Hill Branch today and is an expected source of contamination in Wilderness Run, and ultimately, the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers. PEC recommends that Orange County seriously consider how the toxic legacy of gold mining at this location could impact the health, safety and welfare of future residents and downstream communities.

PEC has been following the Wilderness Crossing proposal since the application was first submitted by developer KEG Associates III in March of 2021.

Keep reading…

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aerial photo of orange county where wilderness crossing is proposed

Wilderness Crossing: Breadth of Rezoning and FOIA Results Prompt New Concerns

We want to highlight how ridiculously broad this proposed rezoning would be and share some important information gathered through a ...
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aerial photo of orange county where wilderness crossing is proposed

Wilderness Crossing: An In-Depth Look

Wilderness Crossing is a huge development proposal on a site with known, unmitigated hazards, and located at the gateway to ...
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large group of people sitting in a gym watching a presentation

Wilderness Crossing Town Hall Recap and Next Steps

It was great seeing so many folks at our Wilderness Crossing town hall late last month in Locust Grove. Below ...
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large group of people sitting in a gym watching a presentation

Resources from Wilderness Crossing Town Hall

PEC and partners from the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition held a community town hall on October 25, 2022 at the Locust ...
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aerial photo of orange county where wilderness crossing is proposed

Wilderness Crossing Town Hall on Oct. 25

As reported in my last email, the Wilderness Crossing proposal continues to wind its way through the rezoning application process ...
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gold mine webmap screenshot

Virginia’s Former Gold Mines with Priority Level for Reclamation – PEC WebMap

In 2022, The Piedmont Environmental Council was proud to partner with volunteers from UVA’s Clark Scholars program on a project ...
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aerial photo of orange county where wilderness crossing is proposed

Wilderness Crossing is Back

I’ve been monitoring the project for several months, as it has slowly made its way through the county application process ...
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a map that show the Wilderness Crossing site in red, with at least seven former mine sites denote with pick axe symbols

A Potential Superfund Site?

Last year, we told you about a developer's proposal for a 2,602-acre development across from Lake of the Woods on ...
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aerial photo of orange county where wilderness crossing is proposed

Wilderness Crossing developer proposes reckless path forward

In January, the developer behind Wilderness Crossing submitted a letter to the county regarding unreclaimed mine sites on the 2,602-acre ...
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a map that show the Wilderness Crossing site in red, with at least seven former mine sites denote with pick axe symbols

Shocking news about historic gold mining contamination

Last fall, PEC learned some important new information related to the gold mining legacy at the proposed site of the ...
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