What is it with Golf Courses in Reston? Two corporate neighbors own these lovely expanses of green where peace and solitude reign, except for the occasional appearance of oddly dressed people pursuing little white balls.
These folks ride in tiny cars alongside the grassy fields, occasionally hopping out to look everywhere in the lush, green grasses and behind trees and bushes for little white balls, which they proceed to whack with big sticks. Then they jump back in their car to follow those little white balls, only to whack them again!
Apart from the curious activity of the colorfully garbed golfers, the gentle rolling green areas are peaceful and quiet homes to numerous birds and surprising numbers of small animals from field mice to squirrels, rabbits, foxes, deer and more. It is also welcoming space for Reston residents who enjoy nature walks along the stretches of green and lovely shaded pathways.
In his video story Reston-Past, Present and Future, Reston videographer Steve Resz warned us that these two lovely park-like areas (and other green spaces, like school grounds) might one day be threatened in the name of profit.
After nearly 40 years as an integral part of Reston, the Reston National Golf Course in south Reston indeed is in the crosshairs of developers’ sights. The owners of RNGC, a public course, realize that having Metro nearby means their picturesque 166 green acres will bring them even more green if they were packed with condominiums and parking lots. So much for being a valued neighbor offering refuge from the hustle and bustle of urban living!
Meanwhile, north of the toll road the other golf course, Hidden Creek County Club, has spent the summer draining water from Lake Anne to the point where it has interrupted the workings of the antique chilled water air conditioning system of area residents. Lake Anne’s edges are now mud flats, inhibiting pleasure boating on the lake and creating ideal mosquito breeding pools. Some residents now fear that developers will see the mud flats and envision more condos springing up!
Hidden Creek drains the lake to water its greens and fairways free of charge. That’s right -- they pay nothing to siphon the water under an agreement with an early Reston developer and Fairfax County, in days when the now-private club was public.
While Reston National and other golf courses use county water just like everyone else to water their grass, Hidden Creek refuses to do so even in periods of drought like we’ve seen this year. HC reminds one of the stereotypical corporate bad guy, driven solely by a bottom line without regard for impact upon the community.
I understand that representatives of the Reston Association and Reston Lake Anne Air Conditioning (RELAC), in fact, met with Hidden Creek management in early August to appeal to them to cease and desist draining Lake Anne until the drought eased. HC management appeared to agree. But, within days, they were back sucking the life-giving water out of Lake Anne. Why use readily available county water when you take it from a neighbor’s lake for free?
Why do Reston National and Hidden Creek now behave like so many American corporations that have only one eye, the one for the bottom line? It was not thus in the early days of our republic. Corporations were chartered by the several states. Their charters had to be renewed every few years, and the corporations were expected to act in accord with certain societal mores, to add value to the community.
I doubt that, given their behavior, these Reston businesses’ charters would have been renewed.