• The C&O Canal a few miles above Great Falls VA
  • “The Georgetown” canal boat at Georgetown. Mile 0 of the C&O Canal
  • Crossing the Youghiogheny at Ohiopyle on the Great Allegheny Passage
  • Great Falls of the Potomac
  • Keystone viaduct on the Great Allegheny Passage
  • Mount Vernon home of George Washington
  • Dyke Marsh on the Mount Vernon Trail
  • View of the Potomac from Mount Vernon
  • Volunteers muscle a stepping stone into place on the PHT
  • Volunteers install a gravel tread on the PHT
  • Volunteers getting ready for action!
  • The C&O Canal a few miles below Great Falls VA
  • View of Harpers Ferry WVA from the C&O Canal
  • The Wide Water section of the C&O canal
  • The Paw Paw tunnel on the C&O Canal
  • A nice view of some wind mills on the GAP
  • A very picturesque spot on the GAP

"The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready. "

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

                                                                                                  

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About the Algonkian Nature Preserve (ANP)

Welcome to the Algonkian Nature Preserve's home away from home here on Imagine. Here you'll find everything needed to take advantage of this wonderful natural resource located right in our back yard. The ANP, which is located at Algonkian Regional Park, is bordered by the Algonkian driving range to the West, the Algonkian golf course and Old Sugarland Run to the South, Trump National golf course to the East, and the Potomac River to the North.

Preserve-Map small

Following is a breakdown of what the ANP has to offer.

Forest Therapy Walks

Forest Therapy, also known as "Shinrin-Yoku", refers to the science based practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness. Participants are invited to experience nature in a way that invites healing interactions. The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest. The Japanese words translate into English as “Forest Bathing”. Forest Therapy walks differ from traditional nature walks in that the former focuses on one's relationship to nature on a personal and sometimes spiritual level while the later is mostly concerned with intellectual content. This view of healing interactions implies some baseline requirements for Forest Therapy:

  • There is a specific intention to connect with nature in a healing way. This requires mindfully moving through the landscape in ways that cultivate presence, opening all the senses, and actively communicating with the land.
  • It is not something to rush through. Forest Therapy walks are not undertaken with the primary goal of physical exercise. We prefer to avoid the term "hiking" because of its implications of physical exertion.
  • Healing interactions require giving generously of our attention. We encourage mindfulness through an evolving series of suggested invitations. Each invitation is crafted to help participants slow down and open our senses. As we do this we begin to perceive more deeply the nuances of the constant stream of communications rampant in any natural setting.
  • It's not a one-time event. Developing a meaningful relationship with nature occurs over time, and is deepened by returning again and again throughout the natural cycles of the seasons.
  • It's not just about taking walks in the forest. The walks are important, but there are other core routines that we can do that will help in our deepening relationship with nature, particularly the practices of sit spot, place tending, and cross-species communication.

Traditional Nature Walks

Come walk the complex ever changing woods and meadows of the ANP. Being traditional nature walks, we'll cover many areas ecology important to the Virginia piedmont and Potomac River floodplains in particular. We'll get into everything from native trees and wildflowers to how things have changed due to the impact of man and animals. Every season is different so you will want to take these walks often.

Night Hikes

Join us for a night of exploration as we hike in the forest under a moonlit sky. From the sounds way up in the forest canopy to the rapid rustling of leaves on forest floor, you'll enjoy the unusual sights, sounds and sensations of the Algonkian Nature Preserve at night.

Community Service Opportunities

To be sure, the Algonkian Nature Preserve is a long term project that will be heavily dependent on the generosity of the general public in terms of donated time and money over the coming years. Service opportunities will mostly be in the area of helping build and maintain the ANP's accessible trail, invasives control, trash cleanup and helping tend the ANP pollinator meadow. 

ANP Event Schedule

Forest Therapy Walks

trees

Click on any of the following links for full details and to RSVP your spot on the Imagine Meetup group page! 

Sunday, Sept 25 9:00am to 11:00am (Woodlands Trail)

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Traditional Nature Hikes

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Click on any of the following links for full details and to RSVP your spot on the Imagine Meetup group page!

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Night Hikes

night coon

Click on any of the following links for full details and to RSVP your spot on the Imagine Meetup group page!

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Community Service Oppertunities

trail work2 (1)Click on any of the following links for full details and to RSVP your spot on the Imagine Meetup group page!

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Donations 

Building and maintaining an accessible nature trail can be fairly expensive. Unlike a natural surface trail, there is a material cost associated with every foot of trail that is built. You can help complete the Algonkian Nature Preserves accessible nature trail by making a donation. Every dollar you donate goes to buying critical raw materials such as gravel and pressure treated lumber. Simply call (703) 450-4655 or drop by the park office/pro shop and tell the on duty park manager that you would like to make a donation to the Algonkian Nature Preserve. Or if you prefer anonymity, there is a secure donation box located near the info kiosk at the Woodlands trailhead. Cash or credit gladly accepted.

If you represent a business and can donate raw materials such as gravel or pressure treated lumber, please email Ron Meister at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll be more than happy to discuss available options. Your generosity would be greatly appreciated  

Long Term Projects

Accessible wheelchair friendly nature trail

ada pic5There is no accessible wheelchair friendly nature trail available at Algonkian Regional Park. There are some paved walkways within the park that are pleasant enough but you really can't call them nature trails. It is envisioned that the current Woodlands trail will be expanded and upgraded to an accessible nature trail with the trailhead located at the gravel parking lot next to the athletic fields. When completed, the trail network will consist of about 1.7 miles of mostly compressed crushed gravel and some puncheon. Due to the scale of this project, this will not happen overnight but rather in phases over a number of years as resources become available.

ANP Pollinator Meadow

meadow

Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of over 85% of the world's flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world's crop species. The ANP Pollinator Meadow is a multi year project to convert the entire area that wraps around two sides of the athletic fields into a pollinator friendly habitat. 

 

Very low impact extension to the Sanctuary Trail

board walkKeeping the area where this new section of the Sanctuary Trail is planned as pristine and undisturbed as possible is the number one priority for this particular trail project. The intent is to create a narrow, low impact raised boardwalk around the far side of the ponds. One possibility is to use 2x10s set end to end on small footers to create a narrow single file walkway.

Sanctuary Trail rehabilitation

san repairJust after you cross the bridge over Old Sugarland Run, the first few hundred yards of the existing trail is in very bad condition and excessively wide. This condition arose due to the fact that this part of the trail is usually pretty muddy in the Spring and early Summer. As people use the trail, they move to the left and right to avoid the mud which slowly widens the trail over time. To correct this problem we propose installing puncheon over the first few hundred yards of trail. In addition, we would like to try and return much of the Sanctuary Trail to a more pristine, untrodden sanctuary look as opposed to the overly wide and beat to death look that much of the trail currently has. This will involve installing puncheon someday.

Foot bridge over the bottom of Sugarland Run

imagesCAA5IQ3FThe presence of Sugarland Run running through the middle of the preserve is a real bonus and will provide many opportunities for education and observation not to mention simple aesthetic beauty. However, there is a problem. Currently, there is no crossing of the lower part of Sugarland Run as it runs through the preserve effectively cutting the preserve in half. Due to the current configuration of the park, it's at least an hours hike just to get from the Woodlands Trail, which runs along the Western side of Sugarland Run, to the Sanctuary Trail, which runs along the Eastern side, a distance of maybe 50 yards. A foot traffic only cable suspension bridge, like the one pictured here, or perhaps an alternative solution, would provide an additional safe crossing point of Sugarland Run from within the preserve.

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