With over 1,500 acres of marsh and forest, Huntley Meadows is a little island of natural beauty right in the middle of the Washington metropolitan area. A year-long wetland restoration project has been in progress since April 2013 and only just ended this month. As a consequence, our hiking group had not visited since February 2013, although I was making infrequent visits just to see what was going on. Our visit was a little early in the day, starting at 7:30am, just after dawn; and a little early in the season, since winter weather seems to be holding on tightly this year. The hike was about 3 miles, twice around the central wetland, and we finished up around 9am.
We had intended to visit Dyke Marsh back on March 10th, but were disappointed when the guide from the Friends of Dyke Marsh canceled the day before the hike. This time we got two guides, and they spent a lot of the hour and a half visit discussing the need to secure government funding for the Dyke Marsh Restoration and Management Plan, which is currently posted at a National Park Service website for public review and comment. The government can ill afford to spend money on much of anything these days, since it has been spending at a profligate rate since the last year of the previous administration. You can see from the diagram at right, taken from the plan, that the marsh has been steadily disappearing since 1937, and if something is not done soon the wetlands will cease to exist, leaving only an inhospitable shoreline. I had a lot of reservations about this plan initially, but I suppose the project is less expensive and more legitimate than many of the things the government is currently blowing money on, like rigging the stock market (quantitative easing), buying votes (Obamaphones), rewarding political cronies with government-backed loans (Solyndra ), buying weapon systems that don’t work and are never delivered, and giving foreign aid to countries that accept the money with one hand while stabbing us in the back with the other. Instead, we would actually get something tangible that would repair damage caused by previous generations and benefit future generations.
Anyway, during this Saturday’s visit we covered about 2 miles in the marsh, seeing ducks, geese, herons, seagulls, and an osprey that really taxed my little pocket camera’s zoom lens capability trying to get a closeup. Between the two hikes together, Huntley Meadows and Dyke Marsh, we managed 5 miles of smiles.
I took Sunday off since it’s supposed to start snowing sometime this afternoon and/or evening, continuing until Tuesday. Next Saturday we’re off to Riverbend Park to see if the Virginia Bluebells are blooming, but even if they aren’t, we’ll be rewarded with a nice hike along the Potomac Heritage Trail and a visit to the Great Falls overlooks.
P.S. – Say, this is my 100th post!