Greetings from Prince William Forest Park

One of the great things about the National Park system is that American treasures come in all shapes and sizes – and under different titles. After spending the last 14 years in the Washington, D.C. region, it was the smaller NPS units – the parks, historical parks, battlefields, and moments of Washington D.C. and the rest of Mid-Atlantic – that really blossomed my love for our National Parks. With so much NPS parkland in and around our nation’s capital, it’s easy for both the residents and tourists alike to overlook or not fully appreciate many of these special places.

in 2018, fresh off completion of a U.S. conservation history Course and amidst new engagement with NPCA’s programs and volunteer opportunities, I rededicated myself to visiting, appreciating, and chronicling the beauty and importance of many of the D.C. area’s NPS sites.

One of my favorites is the natural oasis of Prince William Forest Park – the largest natural area in the D.C. metro region. The park provides a special combination or forest preservation, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. Throw in Prince William Forest Park’s unique history and place in our country’s conservation story – thanks in large part to the presence of, and impact by, the Civilian Conservation Corps on the development of the park, and this park has it all. This photo shows park signage near the main entrance on a recent visit to the park during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with facilities closed, the park provided my family and me with a great natural escape from uncertain and troubling circumstances.

Conor Marshall

Prince William Forest Park

This 15,000 acres of piedmont forest has 37 miles of trails to hike and 21 miles of scenic roads to drive or bike. As a visitor, you can rent one of the 100+ historic cabins in the park, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Construction Corps.

State(s): Virginia

Established: 1948

“they are America's greatest national treasures, embodying the American spirit, serving as guideposts of our cultural and historical heritage, as well as reminders of what can be achieved by building a strong conservation ethic among past, present, and future generations.”

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