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 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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aerial image of forested land next to a major road

Wilderness Crossing: New Residential Development or Potential Superfund Site?

In November 2021, PEC learned that of the five formally-named gold mine sites located on the proposed Wilderness Crossing residential ...
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aerial view of an open-face dirt hills of an open pit gold mining, with green/brown tinted retention ponds and construction vehicles.

Metal mining in Virginia risks public and environmental health

Gold mining historically occurred throughout Virginia in the gold-pyrite belt, including substantial operations across the PEC region in Orange, Culpeper ...
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aerial photo of orange county where wilderness crossing is proposed

The Trouble with Wilderness Crossing

When it comes to policies and decisions that impact communities and quality of life for their residents, the most important ...
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aerial image of forested land next to a major road

The Wilderness Crossing Proposal Explained

The massive 2,602-acre rezoning would be the largest in county history, if approved ...
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aerial photo of orange county where wilderness crossing is proposed

Massive Rezoning Proposed in Orange County

Orange County is considering an enormous, 2,602-acre development and rezoning proposal, called Wilderness Crossing, which would be the largest land ...
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