Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area to open to the public on Friday, October 3, 2014

Long-term transformation project now includes a new trail system, boat ramp, pedestrian bridge, overlook platforms, floating crew dock, and formalized vehicle parking

Friday, September 26, 2014

(Virginia Beach, VA) – Construction is nearly complete at Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area located at 5381 Shell Road and will open to the public on Friday, October 3, 2014. Specifically designed with low environmental impacts, Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area features enriched access to outdoor recreation in the northwest border of the city.


The renovated natural area now features a new boat ramp, picnic shelter, playground, formalized car and trailer parking utilizing low-impact design stormwater treatment components, stabilization along the shoreline to prevent erosion and re-establish native vegetation, several fishing and overlook platforms, and a floating crew dock. Additionally, a pedestrian bridge has been constructed to connect the north and south parcel, and the installation of hard surface trails accompanies renovations made to the existing soft surface trail system. Future improvements include the installation of a park office and restrooms.


The 42-acre preserve located at the corner of Shell Road and Northampton Blvd in the Bayside area of Virginia Beach, Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area is a network of three wooded waterfront peninsulas of land that was acquired in multiple parcels between 2005 and 2009 through the City of Virginia Beach Open Space Acquisition Program.


Though the natural area surrounding Lake Lawson and Lake Smith is being improved by the City of Virginia Beach, the City of Norfolk still owns the water/reservoir and 25 feet around the shoreline from the water’s edge. As such, Norfolk currently controls the use of water regulations, including the requirement for a boat permit to use the water.


For more information about Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area, please contact Mike Moore or Rick Rowe in Parks & Natural Areas at 385-0400.


Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation’s vision is a balanced, sustainable and value-focused system of parks, recreation and public spaces that creates a sense of community.  We are accredited by CAPRA, the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association. For more information, call (757) 385-1100 (TTY: 711 Virginia Relay), visit or sign up our email newsletters at Find us on Facebook at