Anacostia Pedal Paddle Palooza!

Pedaling the Anacostia River Trail is just *one* of the ways to enjoy the Pedal Paddle Palooza!

It’s a pedal paddle palooza! Join the biggest watershed exploration party on September 29th to bike and kayak the Anacostia watershed. Start in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County or the District on bike and explore the trails to finish at Kingman Island.

Come to the river on September 29th!

Let us know you’re coming!

How much does it cost?

Nothing!

Where do I start?

We’ve got launch points in all three jurisdictions in the Anacostia watershed – start somewhere close to home or totally new to explore something different!

Montgomery County – Sligo Creek Park at Dennis Ave

Prince George’s County – University of Maryland

District of Columbia – 11th St Bridge

Do I need to start at a launch point?

Not required but definitely recommended. We have all the trail directions and event passports at the launch points. Raffle is only open to folks who have completed their passport book! And to be officially on the ride, there are bike waivers required that are only available at launch and paddle points.

Do I need to register?

We do require waivers to be signed for both kayaking and riding. They will be available at all launch and kayak points but also available for kayaking here. Save yourself the time outside for fun and do it ahead!

How long is this ride?

As long as you want! We’ve got activities throughout the Anacostia watershed on the trail but the average ride from a launch point to the central hub at Kingman Island is 10 miles. The trail follows the Anacostia River and water prefers to go downhill if possible, so the trail is pretty flat with a downhill trend towards the District.

When should I start?

All the launch points are open 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. The earlier you start, the cooler it will be and the less folks will probably be using the kayaks. If you pedaled straight from Sligo Creek Field (the farthest away launch point) to Kingman Island, it should take about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Add in the necessary time for stopping to smell the flowers, snack breaks and kayaking, what makes sense for your schedule?

Kayaks and paddles will be provided (for free!) on a first-come, first-serve basis.

What should I bring?

Folks who are joining us for the trail ride should have a working bicycle, helmet (insurance requirement) and a bike lock. There will be bike racks at all the kayak and motorized boat tour locations. Staff will be at all the paddle points to keep a cursory eye over your stuff – please be prepared to lock your bike. We recommend taking your phone and wallet with you in a small plastic baggie. Larger panniers, extra jackets, etc., should be safe on land. Although, please do not bring your family heirlooms or diamonds.

Folks who are kayaking should bring a small plastic baggie to keep valuables dry. A broad brimmed hat (baseball hat, etc) and sunglasses would be helpful to reduce glare and sunburn when you’re out in the water.

For everyone – please bring water, snacks, sunscreen and clothing to keep you safe outside for a few hours. Phones are also good for taking photos of our gorgeous watershed!

What’s the weather plan?

We don’t kayak or ride bikes during hazardous conditions such as lightning or thunderstorms. If dangerous storms roll over the area on Sept 29th, we will likely cancel the event. But other than that, we’ll be a go! Please bring the water, snacks, sunscreen, or clothing layers you need to keep safe outside.

What’s the scoop with the Sligo Creek launch point?

Precise address: Dennis Ave and Sligo Creek Trail (next to Sligo Creek Middle School)

Closest Metro: Forest Glen

Arriving by car: Car parking is at the Sligo Creek Middle School. Once you have parked, please follow the signs to the trail and the launch point tent!

What’s the scoop with the University of Maryland launch point?

Precise address: Paint Branch Drive and Technology Drive, College Park MD 20742

Closest Metro: College Park – U of Md.

What’s the scoop with the 11th St bridge launch point?

Precise address: Good Hope Rd SE and Anacostia River Trail (below 11th St Bridge)

Closest Metro: Anacostia

Arriving by bike: if you are arriving from the east bank, the most pleasant connections to the trail and over/under 295 and Minnesota Ave are Good Hope Rd SE, and River Terrace though Nicholson is also a decent option. If you arriving from the west bank of the Anacostia River, the most pleasant connection across the river is 11th St Bridge though Benning and South Capitol are also decent options.

Arriving by car: Parking is free at the Anacostia Metro garage over the weekends. There is also plenty of free parking along Anacostia Ave in the park, and paralleling the trail.

Anything else I should know? To get from the Metro, follow the signs to the parking garage. Once at the parking garage, walk out the back and across Howard Rd to the gate of the fence. You’ll see a 1 story National Park Service building and the blue roof of the Park Police headquarters behind it. Walk straight through (the public is allowed!) and straight to the river. Once you arrive at the trail, take a right and we’ll be at the bridge you can see!

How do I join?

Come to the river on September 29th!

Let us know you’re coming!

Where’s WABA?: September Edition

Have a trail or bike question? You’re in luck because it’s September – which means all the street festivals happen and WABA has a busy schedule planned! We’ll have trivia, oodles of really great bike maps and lots of thoughts on getting around our region.

Find us at:

Park(ing) Day
Friday September 21st, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
2101 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE, Washington DC

Hillcrest Community Day
Saturday September 22nd, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
3100 Denver St SE, Washington DC

DC State Fair
Sunday September 23rd, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
4th and M St SW, DC

H St Festival
Saturday October 13th, 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
~600 H St NE, Washington DC

Want to help us spread bike love and talk your socks off? Volunteer as part of our outreach team.

How to Find a Trail Ranger Near You

The WABA Trail Ranger team has been everywhere this summer! Well, everywhere near the Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail and Metropolitan Branch Trail.

But as a primarily roving field-based team, we’re hard to find sometimes. Ever try to find two people in green shirts on 16 miles of one trail? Nah, thanks.

So we’re delighted that we’ll be at a bunch of different community events this month! A publicly announced exact location for a predetermined amount of time!

Need a 2018 bike map? Have a trail question? Come say hi!

Saturday August 4th – DC Bike Festival
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
2241 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE

Sunday August 5thCapitol Riverfront Farmers Market
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
200 M St NE

Saturday August 11th – SW Community Day
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
1098 Delaware Ave SW

Saturday August 18th – Quarels St Farmers Market
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
4404 Quarels St NE

Saturday August 25thDowntown Anacostia Farmers Market
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
13th and W St SE

Volunteer with the Trail Ranger Team!

Want to explore and give back to the trails with an expert team? Join us on weekdays on the trails! Really like talking up trails? Join us on weekends doing outreach at festivals!

The Trail Ranger team is looking for a few folks to join our volunteer cadre. Volunteer Trail Rangers allow the program to have greater impact, build trail support through experience and bring fresh ideas to our program.

What you get: a chance to explore new trails, see behind the scenes of how our trails operate and help keep your community rolling and walking along our trails.

So what exactly are you proposing here?

Trail Ranger volunteer shifts are mostly 4 hours long. Trail shifts meet at a Metro station close to the day’s trail primarily during weekdays. The team meets you there with all the tools and supplies needed for the workday. You and the team ride to the trail and spend a few hours riding the trail, fixing or reporting maintenance issues and talking with trail users. You’ll likely stop for a few snack and water breaks, and potentially join the team for lunch.

The Trail Ranger team rides on Anacostia River Trail, Marvin Gaye Trail, Suitland Parkway Trail and Metropolitan Branch Trail.

We bring all the work tools – we do ask that volunteers come with everything to keep themselves safe and rolling: a working bicycle and helmet, water bottles, snacks, sunscreen and work appropriate clothing.

All shifts are coordinated via a signup form and sent to the volunteer group every two weeks.

But what about weekends?

Most weekends the Trail Ranger team is hosting events or joining festivals to talk up our trails. Do you like talking to folks and spreading the love of bicycling and trails? Oh boy, do we have the role for you!

We could always use a few more folks joining us at major festivals. All volunteer tabling is coordinated through the same process as shift volunteering.

So how do I join??

We require you attend a one hour training conference call to make sure that we’re all on the same page about legal road riding, how to do outreach and how to be a Trail Ranger. Sign up here.

Already been to a training call? Shifts are here.

Lotuses & Water Lilies: A Bike Guide

Ever seen a leaf four feet wide? You can at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens just off the Anacostia River Trail! It is probably THE bike ride for July and the Trail Ranger team is here to help you out.

Where are these lotuses?

Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is home to a lot of lotuses though some can also be found at other sites around the region. The aquatic gardens is the only National Park Service site dedicated to aquatic plants and home to many unusual varietals.

1550 Anacostia Ave SE
Washington, DC 20019

Google Maps screenshot of Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. Image Courtesy of Google Maps.

How do I get there?

The park has limited car parking and public transportation could use some investment (the closest Metro station is across a highway – quite walkable via an overpass). So biking is a great option!

From the Anacostia River Trail:

Note: Our Trail Ranger Matthew may not be there as pictured. (But the beautiful chalking will be!)

From the South: Go along the trail until 40th St and Anacostia Ave. It looks like:

But with more leaves and the grass is greener now! Ride along Anacostia Ave until you arrive at the parking lot for the park. Once in the gates, walk your bike to the first pond and take a right to find the bike parking.

Note: if you want a longer ride in the shade, keep going on the trail instead of Anacostia Ave and connect with the park via the north trail entrance described below.

From the North: Go along the trail past Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Ride until the trail dips under the Amtrak tracks and New York Ave. Just after the trail will arrive on land again and you’ll see:

You’ve arrived at the trailside park entrance!

Signal, stop and walk your bike (this helps protect the turtles and water chemistry of the surrounding wetlands) on the gravel path for a few hundred feet. You’ll come upon the bike parking just as you arrive at the main portion of the park.

From the neighborhoods if you’re east of 295: The best ways to cross the freeway are Deanwood Metro underpass to Polk St NE to the overpass to Douglass St NE, or on the sidewalk on Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave, right on Kenilworth and left on 42nd Ave NE.

When to go?

If you want to visit when its less crowded: weekdays! The lotuses are still kind of a hidden gem but less so every year. If you want the trail and park to not be crowded, visit during the weekday.

If you want programming: there will be lots of things happening in the park during the 2018 Lotus and Water Lily Festival July 21st to July 22nd. All of the details can be found here.

The WABA Trail Ranger team will be there all July 21st – stop by our table and say hi!

If you want to go for a bike ride:

Join us and DPR for a trail ride on Monday July 23rd! Registration required here.

Join us and NPS for a guided ride of park history and ecology on July 29th! Registration required here.

Try It By Bike!: A Guide to Riding Around Red Line Metro Closures

For all of us who can’t take off a leisurely July 21st to Sept 3rd vacation and avoid some very humid days, the Metro closure of the Brookland and Rhode Island Ave Red Line stations are going to affect many travel patterns. There will be bus shuttles between stations and a temporary bus lane on Rhode Island Ave (!). But it can also be a easy bike ride—there is a trail that parallels the Red Line!

Want to avoid crowded roadways and train platforms while Metro undertakes maintenance? The Metropolitan Branch Trail follows the Red Line from just south of Fort Totten past Brookland, Rhode Island, NoMa to Union Station with some great connections to downtown and points east & west.

Metropolitan Branch Trail signage.

The Metropolitan Branch Trail runs along the Red Line in D.C., and you can pick it up just south of Fort Totten! An easy alternative route to use while Brookland and Rhode Island Ave. are closed.


How to Prepare

Check your brakes, pump up your tires, and give biking a try! A few things we’ve seen that are useful for beginning to bike for transportation:

  • No need to start with the Big Ride. Maybe test out a daily commute on a weekend when there isn’t a 9am important meeting. Where are you going to park your bike?
  • Options are your friend. You can drive a car to a park-and-ride, and ride your bike from there. Take bikeshare downhill and bus home. Try out a bikeshare bike for a week and see how getting around feels.
    • A Capital Bikeshare corral with unlimited parking will be available at 3rdSt. NE and M St. NE from 8am-1pm, on Monday – Friday from 7/23 – 8/31, so you can easily drop off your bike.
  • You do need a working bicycle, a u-lock and some way to carry your things. A helmet is encouraged. But, like so many things, no need to go all in on all the fancy gear to start with! Are bike specific bags nice? Sure! But you can also use the random Aldi’s reusable bag you got free that one time. If you’re going to be biking when it is dark, a front light is legally required and you should have a rear light too.
  • It’s hot! Sunscreen, a water bottle and sun protection are probably a good idea. I like wearing casual clothes on my ride and changing at work to avoid sweaty clothes. But for folks with shorter rides or who aren’t perennially biking fast to avoid being late for meetings, a slower pace should help minimize sweat.
  • Trails are kind of like roads, but better. Ride to the right and pass folks on your left. Let people know that you’re passing them and give them space. Don’t do anything sudden. And above all, be courteous about the shared space.
  • We’ve got maps, events, classes, and all sorts of other resources below to make your bike commute comfortable, safe and fun.

We’ve also got tools for employers looking to make life a little easier for their staff.


What’s WABA Doing?

  • Pushing local transportation officials to create space and infrastructure for biking during the surges.
  • Steering our existing programs and resources to help and support people impacted.
  • Leading the bike community to help by providing resources, programming and events.

For press inquiries, please contact Colin Browne.


Already a Bike Commuter? Help your neighbors and your coworkers!

Metro maintenance is huge and we need your help to make sure that nobody on a bike is left behind. How can you help?

  • Be a resource for their questions.
  • Can you go on a ride with them? Collaborate on route route planning?
  • Connect them with other resources – any WABA events that they should join?

New to Bike Commuting?

Join us at a City Cycling class! This class is the right fit for you and will give you three things you can’t get anywhere else:

  • A safe and supportive environment to practice riding and build confidence
  • Access to the best bike teachers in the region to answer all your questions
  • Riding techniques, tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your ride

View the schedule and register for classes here.

And check out our extensive resources for new riders!

Ask our Trail Ranger team questions! We’ll be at a few more outreach events this summer with free bike maps, resources and answers. Can’t make it to a market? Email us at trailranger@waba.org or give us a call at (202) 518-0524 x208 and we’re happy to help.

Takoma Farmers Market
July 8th, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Laurel Ave, Takoma MD

Met Branch Coffee Hour
July 13th, 7:30 am – 9:30 am
4th and S St NE

MBT Meander Ride
July 15th, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Silver Spring Metro
Details and registration here.

NoMa Farmers Market
July 22nd, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
First and Pierce St NE

Oh, and here’s what you need to know about bikes on Metrorail and bikes on Metrobus.


Help Your Employees Bike to Work!

Make commuting the best part of their day by hosting an Everyday Bicycling Seminar with WABA.

Our bike experts will solve bike mysteries and bust bike myths in a relaxed and engaging “brown bag” format.

Complete the form here and our coordinator will be in touch.

It’s time for Tales & Trails!

Which bridges were burned in the War of 1812? What is the story of the ship Pearl? Where in Anacostia Park did the Bonus Army camp? What led to the violence at the Anacostia Pool in 1968? Anacostia River Trail and Anacostia Park have seen both the freedom and oppression of people, to just and unjust decisions by those in power. Our Tales & Trails ride series in collaboration with National Park Service goes beyond the built trails to the vibrant history these lands have seen.

Join the WABA Trail Ranger team and National Park Service for a dynamic guided history tour of Anacostia River Trail in Anacostia Park as we celebrate the Year of the Anacostia. These rides were so popular last year, that we’re doing them again! Explore the Anacostia River Trail though a different lens on a guided history tour of the trail.

 

Sunday, July 29th – “The Bonus Army at Anacostia”
Good Hope Rd and Anacostia Drive SE
10:30 am – 1:00 pm

Join us to 86 years to the day since the Bonus Army camped in Anacostia Park.

In 1932, over 30,000 World War I veterans camped at Anacostia Park in peaceful protest for a wartime bonus that ultimately resulted in the G.I. Bill. This bike tour leads visitors through the former encampment and details their struggle as they lobbied Congress during the Great Depression.

ASL interpretation for this ride is funded by National Park Service – Anacostia Park.

Registration required here

Sunday, August, August 12th – “Where Botany Meets History”
Good Hope Rd and Anacostia Drive SE
10:30 am – 1:00 pm

As part of the celebrations for the Year of the Anacostia, we’re biking to Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. From the native to invasive, this tour focuses on the flora and fauna you will meet along the way. Upon arriving at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, riders will dismount and have a Ranger-led tour among the flowering lotus and lilies. Find out how this part of the Anacostia became the premier site of flowering lotus in the District of Columbia!

Registration required here

Saturday, September 1st – “Happy Birthday Anacostia Park!”
Good Hope Rd and Anacostia Drive SE
10:30 am – 1:00 pm

As part of the celebrations for the Year of the Anacostia and the 100th Birthday of Anacostia Park on August 31st, we’re touring the park! On September 1, explore the entire history of the park from the prehistoric era to the present day. Stories of ornithologists, Civil Rights leaders, environmental activists as well as the famous and infamous make this tour one to remember!

ASL interpretation for this tour is funded by Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

Registration required here

We will bring extra water and snacks but please bring a water bottle, helmet and a working bicycle.

We will be primarily on trails and this will be a no-drop social pace ride primarily focused on history. We will be starting promptly at 10:30 am to make sure we end on time – lots of history to cover! We’ll also reimburse you for your usage fees if you use Capital Bikeshare for the ride.

If you are no longer able to make it, please let me know at ursula.sandstrom@waba.org. We want to make sure that all of our allotted spots are filled.

Should there be substantial rain, rides will be rescheduled.

Welcome the 2018 Trail Ranger Team!

Welcome to the 2018 Trail Ranger team – Trey, Carly, Tim and Matthew! The Trail Rangers are all about providing a consistent and helpful presence on DC’s mixed-use paved trails. We help trail users, engage with trailside neighborhoods, improve trail conditions, and work with city agencies to keep the trails clean, bright, and clear of obstacles. Keep an eye out for them on the Marvin Gaye, Anacostia River, Suitland Parkway and Metropolitan Branch Trails (Click here to see where these awesome trails are!).

Trey

Carly

Tim

Matthew

What’s your favorite snack?

Milkshakes – Tim

TWIZZLERS! – Trey

A simple trail mix of almonds, dried cranberries and chocolate! – Carly

Cheese and crackers – Matthew

What is your bike story – how did you start and what has the journey been?

“I rode a bike as a kid, but stopped riding as a teenager and adult. Three years ago I decided that I wanted to bike from Arlington, Virginia to Dallas, Texas. I bought a bike, did very little training, and started biking to Texas. During this trip, which took me 28 days, I fell in love with biking again and remembered the joy I had of riding my bike as a kid. Since that time, I have been riding my bike often throughout the Virginia/DC area.” – Tim

“I’ve been biking since my first year of college… because walking to class is boring. I then started riding more and exploring places I could never get to in a car. Biking is now my favorite hobby!” – Trey

“As a child growing up in Gaithersburg, I loved biking on the C&O Canal towpath and on the trails of Seneca Creek State Park. In college in the suburbs of Boston, I took my bike to the roads for the first time; on the weekends, I would pick a new direction, hop on the bike, and ride for a whole day, stopping to talk with people and investigate new places. I regularly biked a few miles to the west to volunteer at an organic farm, and a few miles to the east to attend classes at a different college, and fixed and maintained the bikes at my cooperative house. Thanks to my bike, I connected with and gained an encyclopedic knowledge of quirky locally owned businesses, beautiful parks and preserves, and communities beyond my campus. Now back in my home region, I look forward to connecting similarly with communities across Washington, DC.” – Carly

“I learned to bike a long time ago but I never regularly biked anywhere in the city until I bought my first $40 Flying Pigeon bike while living in Beijing. I loved biking in the city – there were protected bike lanes even before America had them! When I moved back to DC after China, I was determined to continue biking. I’ve since lived without a car, relying on my two legs or my bike to get around DC, and I love it so much! I’ll never go back to driving!” – Matthew

Favorite thing about biking?

“I love being outdoors in nature and being able to exercise at the same time.” -Tim

“My favorite thing about biking is being able to customize my bike so it is one of a kind.” – Trey

“Creating a sense of place – understanding the characteristics that are special to a particular community – has been a favorite activity of mine throughout my life, whether in my own backyard or in a new state or country. For me, a bike is an unparalleled vehicle for discovering and appreciating the unique features of a place, and easily stopping, continuing, and connecting with people along the way. In urban areas, biking provides the speed and convenience of traveling just about anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, while maintaining close contact and a dynamic, spontaneous interaction with one’s surroundings. “ – Carly

“I feel so free! There’s just something about knowing that I can hop onto this machine and go anywhere with my own body. And when I’m on a trail in the middle of a forest, it feels so great to exercise and connect to nature!” – Matthew

What are you excited to do as a Trail Ranger this summer?

“I am excited about contributing to positive biking experiences on trails in the area and building relationships with the biking community.” – Tim

“I am excited to meet other cyclists and encourage more people to ride bikes.” -Trey

“I look forward to helping folks who are new to the trails feel inspired and empowered to get on their bikes and ride, and to developing relationships with the communities of regular trail users.“ – Carly

“I am so excited to give back to my community! I want more people in DC to bike and the only way we can do that is if we protect our investment and by getting out on the trail and showing friendly faces!” – Matthew

Want to join the team?

Be outside on your bike with the DC Trail Ranger team this spring and summer on regular shifts! To help make sure all volunteers are on the same page, we are requiring all volunteers with the DC Trail Ranger program join us for a quick orientation.

Sign up for an orientation slot here!

Come to the River: Anacostia River Festival!

The cherry blossoms are in peak bloom which means the Anacostia River Festival, one of the District’s biggest annual festivals, is right around the corner! Rivers, trails, bike rides – all the elements for a great weekend. We have a number of ways you can join us for the fun – at one event, or all of them!

Monday, April 9th

Crafting for Anacostia River Festival Bike Parade
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

We’re teaming up with Project Create DC to host a bike craft night for the annual bike parade. We’ll be making river-themed versions of the DC flag so come with your best ideas for local river wildlife flags! Felt and materials provided.

More details and let us know you’re coming

Saturday, April 14th

Anacostia River Festival Cleanup
9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Help make the big day a success by joining us the day before the Festival for a massive trash removal effort and park cleanup! We’re joining Anacostia Riverkeeper so we should have a decent crowd of folks. We’d all prefer that our watershed not have trash in the first place, but second best is a fun morning with great folks making a tangible impact to prettify our public space.

More details and let us know you’re coming

Sunday, April 15th

Ride Along The River with WABA
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and the Anacostia River is gorgeous. Join us for a ride that celebrates spring! Come explore the beautiful Anacostia River Trail with us, enjoy a great ride, and we’ll end up at the Anacostia River Festival as a group.

More details and let us know you’re coming

Anacostia River Festival
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The big day! 10,000 people, boat tours, crafts, hammocks, and free bike valet. It’s a great afternoon in the park at the Anacostia River Festival. Bring your family and friends and spend the day with us!

More details

Volunteer at the Festival with WABA
12:30 pm – 5:30 pm

The Anacostia River Fest is a huge outreach day for WABA and our booth is busy all day. To pull off all the fabulous programming and get more people biking on the Anacostia River Trail and beyond, we’re going to need some help!

Volunteers will be supported by WABA staff, including the Trail Ranger team. The main role for volunteers will be cheerfully greeting Festival-goers, promoting WABA and biking, and answering questions.

More details and let us know you’re coming

A Few of My Favorite Things

Every job comes with its inherent specialities and institutional knowledge, and the Trail Ranger program is no different. As the DC Trail Ranger Coordinator, I’ve spent a lot of time on the trails we maintain and serve – specifically the Marvin Gaye, Anacostia River, Suitland Parkway and Metropolitan Branch trails. I know a lot about how the trails have changed over the last five years of the program and collectively, we’ve spent hundreds of hours on each of the trails.

But what is gained is more than knowledge of broken-glass patterns (always an increase after DC United games on the Anacostia River Trail). It is an appreciation of the smaller details of a trail, built up over repeated shifts. Like that one quiet shift when things feel a little boring and you finally stop to actually observe the flowers. There are special attributes to all of the trails but on the Marvin Gaye Trail, I’ve particularly come to appreciate:

Early Mornings in the Spring

Early morning in the spring is an absolutely magical time to be on the trail. The world is quiet except for the chattering of birds. The Marvin Gaye Trail follows the Watts Branch, the largest tributary of the Anacostia River in DC, from the easternmost corner of DC to Minnesota Ave NE. The trail is entirely within the boundaries of a city park.

Marvin Gaye Park and Trail is particularly great for birds because a lot of work has been done to restore native plants and repair the stream corridor – including 10,000 new trees and plants in 2012 alone. A healthier forest and stream ecosystem mean more food, shelter and space for birds. It’s easy to hear which birds have moved in or are visiting during the early mornings when most birds are the most talkative.

Sand and greenery in the foreground, a clear rocky stream is flowing behind it. Everything looks prestine

Herons and Beavers

Well, one heron, one time. Herons are a pretty common sight on the Anacostia River Trail, especially near Kingman Island. But one time – I saw a heron at 42nd St. and Hunt Pl. NE in the stream and it was majestic! Though there is certainly work to be done with trash removal along the stream corridor, the amount of trash surrounding the heron was less inspiring.

A far more common sight are the presence of beavers – especially their tell-tale cut down stumps. They are really good at logging! And the beaver dam is pretty (dam) cool.

Lots of underbrush greenery and dead leaves on the ground. To the right is Watts Branch Stream but the photo is focused on the beaver cut sharp stump in the middle of the photo.

Nannie Helen Burroughs

At one-and-a-half miles long, the trail is in a history-rich environment. A DC boundary stone is just off the eastern end of the trail and the Crystal Room where music legend Marvin Gaye first performed is mid-way through the trail (now Washington Park and People’s Riverside Center). But for historic legacy, it’s hard to beat the campus and gates of the National Training School for Women and Girls on Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE.

Founded in 1909 by Nannie Helen Burroughs, the prominent 20th century African-American educator and civil rights activist, the school’s location went against the common thinking of the time that a vocational boarding school was more appropriate in the south. The school proceeded to educate thousands of African-American students with Nannie Helen Burroughs as principal until her death in 1961. Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue is particularly notable since many nearby major roads still honor slave-owning families that used to own much of the land around Deanwood (notable examples include Sheriff and Benning).

Front white gate of a fence with peeling white paint. THere is an gold image of Lincoln on top of the arch and it reads "Progressive National Baptist Convention" in black cursive font.

Playground at Marvin Gaye Recreation Center

Musical-themed splash park and playground at a recreation center named for Marvin Gaye, and the result of hard work by the community for neighborhood amenities. Need I say more?

A playground on a sunny day. there is a giant guitar in front and the slides structure behind has keyboard printed roof. There is a water splash park.