To help meet current and future needs for the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, B&N developed a Master Plan for several hundred acres of the 27,000-acre site. The primary goal of the project was to improve multimodal transportation around the refuge that would enhance visitor experiences.
The B&N team conducted interactive design charrette meetings to understand the project goals, evaluated multiple options with the staff, and proposed future development projects for the Refuge.
Planned growth for the area included expanding the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Visitor Center originally designed by B&N, as well as construction of the new Harriet Tubman Visitor Center and Museum nearby. The Master Plan included integrating these projects that were already underway. Throughout the Master Planning process, B&N also led the following activities:
- Evaluated paths for vehicles, bicycles, and foot traffic, then recommended vehicular and pedestrian transportation improvements along the waterfront and new trail networks throughout the Refuge.
- Coordinated Master Plan features such as trails, entrances, and parking areas with the new Harriet Tubman Visitor Center and Museum. The loop trail improved connectivity between the sites, creating a scenario for increasing visitor attendance.
- Evaluated visitor enhancements, including entrance upgrades and more informational signs. Explored adding camping areas and expanded waterfront activities to the site.
- Provided areas for habitat restoration.
- Recommended sustainable improvements, including a green, 300-car parking lot utilizing grass pavers to reduce the impervious footprint, and an electric tour shuttle along Wildlife Perimeter Road to lessen impacts to the bird sanctuary.