Great Meadow Foundation
Thirty years ago, founder Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel stood in front of failed Fleming Farm, then a bankrupt dairy farm, slated for sale. What he saw was more than the permanent home for The Virginia Gold Cup. He had a far larger vision.
What he saw was a multi-purpose park dedicated to the preservation of open space and the potential to show others why that was so important. He saw a stage on which Virginia’s finest resources could be showcased. He saw a calendar full of events for all who embrace the great outdoors. It would begin with The Virginia Gold Cup and grow from there. From anywhere on the property, visitors could watch first-class events in a 200-acre field, a natural bowl. The sweeping view encompassed thousands of rolling acres, open fields, and wooded forests. It would fill anyone there with awe for the majesty of nature.
It was 1982 and development was sweeping over Northern Virginia at record pace. In fact, developers had Fleming Farm in its crosshairs at that time. Not if Arundel could help it. He bought the farm that would become Great Meadow.
At the same time, he established Meadows Outdoor Foundation, renamed Great Meadow Foundation in 1996. The mission of the 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation was to “preserve open space in service to the community.” Like-minded friends would join Arundel supporting his initiative. All agreed, Great Meadow could easily inspire protection of open space and Arundel was the man to show how versatile the property could be in that mission.
Today, 30 years later, literally millions have attended events at the famous park. It would be hard for them not to have been inspired by the natural beauty it affords. No doubt, they learned this land is special. All open space is special, and it is well worth our dedicated protection for perpetuity. Hundreds of years into the future, long after we are all gone, friends will still gather at Great Meadow to celebrate the protection of open space and the entertainment it affords.