Wilderness Crossing

Wilderness Crossing is an approved 2,600-acre rezoning and proposed development in Orange County near the intersection of Rt. 3 and Rt. 20 adjacent to Wilderness Battlefield and across from Lake of the Woods. On April 25, 2023, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve the rezoning request, making it the largest land rezoning in County history.

aerial of wildnerness crossing property with mine icon overlay
Aerial image of the Wilderness Crossing site across from the Sheetz and McDonald’s at the Rt. 3/Rt. 20 intersection in Orange County. Photo by Hugh Kenny, PEC.

In addition to concerns about industrial development (data centers and distribution centers), 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. Along with our partners in the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition, we will continue to monitor this project closely to keep local residents informed and to push the County for rigorous review of any related, future permits or requests as the developer moves forward.

Wilderness Lost?

Wilderness Lost?

Industrialization marches into Orange County, threatening historic battlefield and landscapes along Route 3 …
Wilderness Battlefield Area, Threats and the Data Center Industry

Wilderness Battlefield Area, Threats and the Data Center Industry

Wilderness Battlefield’s inclusion on this list underscores the inextricable link between natural, historic and cultural resources …
Breaking update on PEC’s VFOIA lawsuit against Orange County

Breaking update on PEC’s VFOIA lawsuit against Orange County

Orange County officials signed NDAs with Amazon; court hearing deferred …
writ of mandamus screenshot

Piedmont Environmental Council sues Orange County for VFOIA violations

In the interest of good governance and transparency, The Piedmont Environmental Council filed a lawsuit yesterday against Orange County for improperly denying public access to documents pertaining to a local rezoning application, in violation of …
aerial view of river surrounded by forest

Wilderness Crossing, RSA Withdrawal Permit, Elections

A brief update on Wilderness Crossing and some related Orange County happenings …
aerial image of forested land next to a major road

PEC supports legal challenge to Orange County Wilderness Crossing rezoning

On May 24, 2023, the American Battlefield Trust, Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, Inc., Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, Inc., and a number of Orange County and Spotsylvania County residents filed a legal challenge to the recent …
an audience in a board room

Recap of the Wilderness Crossing Vote

Thank you to all who came to speak out against Wilderness Crossing at last Tuesday’s public hearing. It was a great showing of community engagement and democracy in action despite the discouraging outcome …
Wilderness Crossing Board of Supervisors Public Hearing Tomorrow

Wilderness Crossing Board of Supervisors Public Hearing Tomorrow

Please consider joining your neighbors and groups like PEC in person to be seen and heard at the public hearing. You can also submit written comments to the Board of Supervisors until noon on Tuesday.  …