On August 25th the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary, a milestone that is indelibly inked into most Americans lives.
Who hasn’t visited a National Park? If you haven’t visited one of them, you are in luck because the Washington, D.C. region is chock full of National Parks. Be it Manassas National Battlefield, Great Falls, Wolf Trap, George Washington Memorial Parkway, or the National Mall, the National Park system offers up a treasure trove of our history, unparalleled natural beauty, world-class performing arts, a great trail system and the central focus of the Nation’s Capital, all within close reach to every residence in Northern Virginia.
However, prior to the establishment of the National Park Service (NPS), Congress designated Yellowstone Park as the first federal parkland. According the NPS website “By the Act of March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and placed it under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior. The founding of Yellowstone National Park began a worldwide national park movement. Today more than 100 nations contain some 1,200 national parks or equivalent preserves.”
Subsequently, in August of 1916 Congress had the foresight to establish one of the great institutions of government, the National Park Service (NPS). Influenced by numerous letters from landscape artist, John Muir, President Woodrow Wilson created the NPS, and transferred stewardship of 35 national parks to it as well as responsibility for those yet to be established. As residents of the greater Washington, D.C. area, we can avail ourselves to the oldest parks of the National Park System, simply by visiting D.C.
According to Wikipedia, the National Capital Parks are the oldest parks in the National Park System. These parks began with the founding of the District of Columbia in 1790. The President appointed three Federal Commissioners to design a district ten miles (16 km) square on the Potomac River for the permanent seat of the Federal Government. The current National Capital Parks office is a direct lineal descendant of the original office established by the first commissioners of the District of Columbia in 1791.
President George Washington engaged Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant to design the new capital city. The L’Enfant Plan proposed a city of beauty. The plan was designed around a series of boulevards, parks and The Mall. Additionally, L’Enfant envisioned: a Congress Garden and a President’s Park embellished with statues, columns, or grand obelisks; fountains; an equestrian statue of Washington; a Naval Column; and a zero milestone.
Rock Creek Park was authorized on September 27, 1890, two days after Sequoia and three days before Yosemite. Congress carried over some of the language of the Yellowstone Act into all three acts. Like Yellowstone, Rock Creek Park was “dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the United States,” where all timber, animals, and curiosities were to be retained “in their natural condition, as nearly as possible.” Though not a “National Park,” Rock Creek Park is a major urban park of the nation.”
In corresponding articles in this edition of @livemore, we note that the Trust for Public Land ranks this region quite high in its accessibility to parks and recreation, due in major part to the proximity of so many National Parklands. As one can see in the highlight box, our region is home to more than 50 National Parks, Monuments or Historic Sites. Each is obviously unique in itself and represent either a place of national historical significance, unabashed beauty or is representative of our wonderful culture.
As mentioned previsously, most are within biking or walking distance of your homes. Just about every park will be doing something special on August 25th, so take the day and go experience your National Parks. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
The greater National Capital Region is home to these National Parks:
Antietam National Battlefield (MD)
Catoctin Mountain Park (MD)
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (DC, MD, WV)
George Washington Memorial Parkway (DC, MD, VA)
Arlington House – The Robert E. Lee Memorial (VA)
Clara Barton National Historic Site (MD)
Claude Moore Colonial Farm (VA)
Glen Echo Park (MD)
Great Falls Park (VA)
Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove
on the Potomac National Memorial (VA)
Theodore Roosevelt Island (VA)
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (WV, VA, MD)
National Mall and Memorial Parks (DC)
African American Civil War Memorial (DC)
Constitution Gardens (DC)
Fordís Theatre National Historic Site (DC)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (DC)
George Mason Memorial (DC)
John Ericsson Memorial (DC)
Korean War Veterans Memorial (DC)
Lincoln Memorial (DC)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (DC)
National Mall (DC)
Old Post Office Tower (DC)
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site (DC)
Thomas Jefferson Memorial (DC)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial (DC)
Washington Monument (DC)
World War II Memorial (DC)
Rock Creek Park (DC)
Civil War Defenses of Washington (DC)
Meridian Hill Park (DC)
Peirce Mill (DC)
Old Stone House (DC)
National Capital Parks – East (DC)
Anacostia Park (MD)
Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD)
Capitol Hill Parks (DC)
Carter G. Woodson Home (DC)
Fort Dupont Park (DC)
Fort Foote Park (MD)
Fort Washington (MD)
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (DC)
Greenbelt Park (MD)
Harmony Hall (MD)
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens (DC)
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House
National Historic Site (DC)
Oxon Cove Park and Oxon Hill Farm (MD)
Piscataway Park (MD)
Manassas National Battlefield Park (VA)
Monocacy National Battlefield (MD)
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (DC, MD, PA, VA)
Prince William Forest Park (VA)
White House / Presidentís Park (DC)
Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (VA)
Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison St., Alexandria, Virginia. Celebrate Alexandria’s Birthday & the USA’s on Saturday, July 9, 2016, 7-10 p.m. Enjoy a concert by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra at 9 and fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Fairfax City, Independence Day Parade through the downtown area beginning at 10 a.m. Musical entertainment begins at 6 p.m. at Fairfax High School with a spectacular fireworks display at dark. Monday July 4, 2016 – rain date – July 5th. (703) 385-7858.
George Mason High School, 7124 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia. Live music will start at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:20 p.m. Monday July 4, 2016.
Bready Park, Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave. Herndon, Virginia. (703) 787-7300. Face painting, balloon sculpturing, bingo and crafts begin at 6:30 p.m. Music at 7 p.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Monday July 4, 2016.
Ida Lee Park, Rt. 15 (King Street) and Ida Lee Drive, Leesburg, Virginia. (703) 777-1368. Parade on King Street at 10 a.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. Music starts at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks around 9:30 p.m. Monday July 4, 2016.
Lansdowne Resort, 44050 Woodridge Parkway, Leesburg, VA. (703) 729-8400. July 2, 2016. Live concert from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. followed by fireworks at approximately 9:45 p.m. Food and drink vendors on-site. No outside coolers allowed.
9431 West Street, Manassas, Virginia. (703) 335-8872. Enjoy live music, children’s activities, food and fireworks. Entertainment begins at 3 p.m. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Monday July 4, 2016 – Rain Date – July 5th.
Lake Fairfax Park, 1400 Lake Fairfax Dr., Reston, Virginia. (703) 471-5415. Fireworks begin around 9:15 p.m. Monday July 4, 2016.
Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry Street Southeast, Vienna, Virginia. Arts and crafts, food, live music, vendors, and games. Celebrations start at 11 a.m. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. at Southside Park on Ross Dr.
Monday July 4, 2016
The Trust for Public Lands and the American College of Sports Medicine have recently released studies that reconfirm the Washington region’s high quality of living. In fact, based on the past few years’ findings, this is a continuing pattern for the region.
Two recent articles that appeared in the Washington Post highlight how fit Washingtonians are as well as how much and accessible parks are in our region. For the third year in a row, the American College of Sports Medicine’s American Fitness Index ranked this region as the nation’s healthiest.
The Post article noted that “Eighty percent of area residents surveyed reported exercising in the previous 30 days, although only about 25 percent were meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s aerobic guidelines, according to the report. Twenty-five percent of residents are obese, and more than 96 percent live within a 10-minute walk to a park. Nearly 18 percent eat three or more servings of vegetables per day,” the report says. However, the report did mention that there are some existing disparities among lower income areas of the region (such as Anacostia) where better access to parks and obesity are still of concern.
According to the index, the top five healthiest metro area were:
The Trust for Public Lands (TPL) study examined parkland in 100 of the nation’s largest cities and found that D.C. ranked third (same as in 2015) and Arlington County fourth. The study ranked regions according to park size, accessibility and the types of amenities that exist in the park (playgrounds, trails, etc.). The rankings actually take into account the per capita amount that the locality spends on park related amenities and land. The report noted that DC spends $287 per resident and Arlington $235/resident. However, these numbers also include expenditures by the National Park Service, which has a large presence in both localities.
As with the American College of Sports Medicine study, TPL also noted that there are disparities in the availability of some recreational facilities in lower income sections. For instance, DC scored low for playgrounds, and Arlington could improve the number of basketball facilities.
All in all both studies show that this region is not only fit, but has great access to recreational facilities as well. And with a growing network of trails and biking/walking facilities in our region, many residents can access these amenities without driving a car, a huge bonus for both our fitness and our regional environment!
In June METRO began an extensive, year-long maintenance initiative to improve safety and reliability of the METRO system. Approximately 75% of the work in this initiative will occur in Northern Virginia. The impacts on every resident will be felt regardless of how you get to work. Commuting patterns will shift among the many modes, so be prepared for extended commute times unless you plan to do significant teleworking.
The graphic illustrates the timing of the 15 “safety surges” that METRO has planned.
For more information on the SafeTrack initiative impacts, and ways in which you can alter your commute or travel plans, visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority wmata.com/safetrack or call 202-637-7000. Or call 703.817.1307 for information on how DATA can help your employees find better ways to work during this period.
METRO Safety Surges: Dates & Lines
In a demonstration of how popular biking is in the greater DC region, more than 8,000 (organizers had expected around
3,000) riders showed up on
May 22nd to enjoy the DC Bike Ride, an event to raise funds for the Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA). Even with rain predicted, the turnout
The DC Bike Ride organizers closed off 17 miles of streets to allow for a car free experience for riders. The main event Start and Finish were on Pennsylvania Avenue near Capital Hill. A wide array of riders of all ages and skills participated. Organizers expect an even better turnout for next year’s ride, which is scheduled for May 21, 2017. If you didn’t participate this year, you won’t want to miss the event next – a nice peaceful ride among the great sites of downtown DC.