Location: Accokeek, Maryland
Webpage: National Park
General Description: Piscataway Park is approximately 5000 acres from Piscataway Creek to Marshall Hill along the Potomac River, jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Accokeek Foundation. In the mid-1950s, the view from George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, across the Potomac River was threatened by development plans that would have included an oil tank farm, a sewage treatment plant, and residential homes. To preserve this area for future citizens to be able to enjoy the same view from Mount Vernon as George Washington would have had, this land was purchased by the National Park Service that led to the creation of Piscataway Park in 1961 as the first National Park established to “preserve historical vistas.” Today the property includes an wetland boardwalk, fishing pier, boat dock, picnic facilities, historic farm exhibit, heritage livestock, heirloom gardens, nature trails, an educational ecological farm, and a Saturday On-Farm Market during the fall season.
1) It is obvious that although this is a National Park, the main focus of the Visitor Center and exhibits are in support of the work being done by the Accokeek Foundation and its partners in preserving the river banks along the Potomac River. The staff was very nice, although during the week in early spring does not have many visitors.
2) We took a hike through the wetlands along the boardwalk, which was very nice. However, you can still see the impact of passed management practices attempting to drain the wetlands to create farmland. This hike took us to the ecological farm, which is a educational and demonstration farm of farming without chemicals. Unfortunately, there was nobody at the farm that we could ask questions while we were there, so we did not learn much about what they are doing.
3) The historic farm exhibit with heirloom farm animals was interesting and we did meet some of the workers at the farm who were very nice.
4) From the fishing pier you can get a good look at Mount Vernon across the river.