Biodiversity and History Along the Potomac River — George Washington’s Plantation and Four Parks Including Great Falls on the Potomac of the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia
Saturday, August 8, 2015: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Charles St. Entrance, Baltimore Convention Center
Edward M. Barrows, Georgetown University
We will experience the rich ecosystems of the U.S. Coastal Plain Geological Province at President George Washington’s Plantation, Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, and Roosevelt Island and of the Piedmont Geological Province at Turkey Run Park and Great Falls Park. The Plantation harbors huge, old, planted trees; natural areas; and diverse, historic gardens of flowers, fruit, herbs, and vegetables. During a walk in DMWP, we will examine a Mid-Atlantic, flood-plain forest, swamp forest, and a rare, tidal, fresh-water marsh. The National Park Service plans to restore part of this marsh soon which will be large, challenging project. Roosevelt Island is primarily a flood-plain forest with large trees; Pawpaw patches; the impressive memorial dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt, founder the U.S. National Park System; and the famous rocks where Matthew Brady photographed Union soldiers and the old tobacco port of Georgetown during the U.S. Civil war in the 1860s. At Turkey Run Park, we will walk along the Potomac River on an ancient Native American trail called the American Heritage Trail, and observe flood-plain forest, upland boulder forest, and rocky Turkey Run. Our last stop, Great Falls Park, comprises the historic Patowmack Canal; upland forest; rare, bedrock terrace forest; the huge, magnificent Great Falls of the Potomac; and the northern end of the Potomac Gorge. The Potomac Gorge is a biodiversity hotspot. About 20,000 species live within our field trip sites. Bring your binoculars and cameras.
Registration Fee: $60
Equipment and Attire: Participates should be prepared for rain or shine and wear comfortable walking shoes. Walking will be on gentle slopes and flat areas and will not be overly strenuous, except for Turkey Run Park where participants may chose to explore the park using a gently sloping trail or a steep trail depending on their physical abilities. It will be great to bring binoculars and cameras. Insect repellent might be needed at some sites. The day might be warm and humid or on the cooler side.
Itinerary: 8 AM. Leave the convention center to arrive at Mt Vernon at 9:15 AM. Walk among gardens and natural habitats. Take a guided tour of Washington’s home. (about 1 mile round trip)
11 AM. Leave Mt Vernon to arrive at Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve (DMWP) at 11:20 AM. Eat a boxed lunch. Hike to the boardwalk via Haul Road (about 1 mile round trip).
Noon. Leave DMWP to arrive at Roosevelt Island (RI) at 1:30 PM. Walk across the bridge to the monument and Civil War rocks (about 1 mile round trip).
2:40 PM. Leave RI to arrive at Turkey Run Park (TRP) at 3 PM. Take the trail from the main office to Turkey Run (about 1 mile round trip).
4 PM. Leave TRP to arrive at Great Falls Park (GFP) at 4:30 PM. Walk from the parking lot to Great Falls. Have a snack brought by each person. (about 3/4 mile round trip)
5:15 PM. Leave GFP to arrive at the conference center at about 7 PM.