The park at Mount Trashmore is located in the heart of Virginia Beach at 310 Edwin Drive next to I-264 at exit 17. The grounds cover 165 acres and include two manmade mountains, two lakes, playgrounds, a skate park, and several multi-use paths. The name Mount Trashmore refers to the larger of the two mountains, measuring 60 feet in height and 800 feet in length. The mountain was created out of a former landfill and is recognized worldwide as an environmental marvel.
Virginia Beach is situated six to eight feet below sea level, and this particular characteristic prevents the city from burying waste. The solution, prior to the year 1966, was to dispose of trash in a landfill. The landfill located at the site of Mount Trashmore was costly, approximately $75,000 a year to maintain, and had only a finite amount of space. The director of the Virginia Department of Health, Insect and Vector Control, Roland E. Dorer, devised the plan to convert the landfill into a mountain and turn it into a recreational space for the residents to enjoy.
Dorer’s plan included a lake, amphitheater, and walking track along with the mountain. Care had to be taken to address both the odor and the presence of methane gas. Odor was eliminated by adding soil and water to the waste. Seepage points were built to allow the methane gas to be released safely. Dumping of trash ceased after 1971 when the mountain was compacted and soil laid. In total, the mountain was made of about 640,000 tons of trash, and is, in fact, the first park to be built on such a landfill. Opened in 1973, Mount Trashmore is the highest point in the city of Virginia Beach. The name started as a nickname from local residents but eventually became the official title.
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