Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts might catch fire later this month.
No, the Original Kings of Go-Go, this summer season’s opener, isn’t rolling into town ahead of schedule. Instead, the National Park Service plans to conduct a “small prescribed fire” in the circular driveway in front of the Filene Center, according to a news release.
Expected to take place the week of March 14 or 21, depending on the weather, the fire is intended to control woody and invasive species and preserve the wildlife habitat, the federal agency says. It will be only the second-ever prescribed fire at the park, following a successful burn in April 2018.
NPS says the fire will spread over less than 1 acre of land.
“The safety of park staff and visitors is our top priority, along with protecting the iconic Filene Center,” Wolf Trap’s Acting Superintendent Ken Bigley said. “We will only conduct the prescribed fire if conditions are appropriate. Fire allows for the native vegetation to flourish along with improving the habitat for wildlife.”
According to NPS, the park’s public areas and trails near the circle, Stage Road, and Lot 4 parking lot will be closed “for several hours” during the fire. Additional, temporary road closures might be required if smoke reduces visibility.
Here’s more from NPS on how the fire will work:
Many factors must align to conduct a prescribed fire and ensure public and firefighter safety. The timing of the prescribed fire is dependent on weather conditions being within required wind, temperature, and relative humidity parameters. Wildland fire engines, firefighters, and the nearby paved road serve to create buffers and fire breaks to ensure the fire is contained. NPS staff will monitor air quality and smoke impacts. Upon completion of the fire activity, wildland firefighters will continue to monitor the area to ensure the fire is completely out.
Photo via Wolf Trap National Park/Facebook
Hikers at Turkey Run Park now have safer access to trails alongside the Potomac River, thanks to the hard work of more than 100 volunteers.
The National Park Service and the nonprofit Potomac Appalachian Trail Club officially reopened a half-mile section of trail in the McLean park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (March 5), the NPS announced.
It was the federal agency’s largest volunteer-designed and built project in the D.C. area, according to a press release.
“This project is a great example of the success we can have when park staff work together with partners and volunteers to meet the needs of visitors,” George Washington Memorial Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said in a statement. “We embrace the collaboration, trust, and open communication we have with partners and are grateful to PATC and the volunteers for making this project possible.”
According to the NPS, it took more than four years and over 1,000 volunteer hours for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club to rebuild a section of trail that had eroded due to its age and location on a gorge leads to the Potomac River.
The project was intended to provide safer and easier access to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, a regional network that follows the river and runs along the northern edge of Turkey Run Park.
Founded in 1927, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club consists of volunteers and a professional support staff who manage over 1,000 miles of hiking trails across Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
Among other challenges, the Turkey Run project required constructing a wood staircase with over 100 steps that enables trail users to climb almost 170 feet in less than two-tenths of a mile, according to PATC President Joe Lombardo.
“This daunting task required the skill and dedication of experienced crew leaders to design and execute a unique trail rehabilitation plan that provided improved access and was sensitive to the natural setting of the park,” Lombardo said in the NPS news release.
George Washington Memorial Parkway, which encompasses Turkey Run Park, did not immediately return FFXnow’s request for additional comment on the trail project and an update on its plans for the former Claude Moore Farm, which is being revamped as South Turkey Run Park.