Goose Creek Association Makes Environmental Activism a Priority


(Monday, July 9, 2007 11:03 AM EDT)

The Goose Creek Association was founded almost four decades ago to fight the discharge of sewage effluent into Goose Creek.

Since then, the association has expanded, and members are still very busy trying to protect the natural resources, historic heritage and rural quality of life in the Goose Creek watershed area.

The Goose Creek Association became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2006, and currently has about 600 members from western Loudoun and northern Fauquier counties.

Key issues the association is concerned with include improving water quality through certified stream-water-quality monitoring; protecting dirt roads and rural villages through the designation of historic districts; advocacy for conservation easements; purchasing development rights; and protecting views and open spaces.

Katherine “Butter” Strother, Fauquier County co-chair, and Nancy West, Loudoun County co-chair, are dedicated to furthering the mission of the Goose Creek Association, and are very personally invested in the cause.

“People ask why I'm involved,” West said in a recent interview. “I tell them, it's because every beautiful place I've lived in has been ruined by overdevelopment.”

“It's a personal commitment,” Strother said. “It's not just a job we drift in and out of.”

One of the greatest challenges the co-chairs have faced during their time with the Goose Creek Association is what they called the “overdevelopment of Loudoun County,” but they said they are glad they were able to convince the county's Board of Supervisors to deny the building of about 34,000 houses on Route 50.

They are also proud that they were able to establish a number of historic districts in Fauquier County.

“Loudoun's area of Goose Creek was given scenic status in the 1970s,” West said. “We put a task force together that had legislation passed in the General Assembly, to finally get scenic status in Fauquier.”

Members of the association want to spread their mission, and they are particularly excited about their “Life in the Country Day” in late September.

The event will feature activities such as a stream-monitoring demonstration, water-critter and wetlands-plant identification, fly-fishing, canoeing and kayaking.

There will also be a petting zoo assembled by several local farmers, and sheep-related wool-industry crafts for everyone to participate in.

“The event is a family day, with a focus on kids,” Strother said. “It's important to focus on them, because they're the ones who have to learn to appreciate the rural way of life and the rural economy.”

To learn more about the Goose Creek Association, see the Web site at

Chad Vogel gives a demonstration with his Suffolk Punch timbering horses at last year's "Life in the Country Day."

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