A Perfect Time for Parks

by Jennie Saxe

Flowers blooming along the Brandywine River.

Flowers blooming along the Brandywine River.

In the mid-Atlantic, we’ve been riding a rollercoaster of weather. In late February, my family donned shorts and t-shirts for a warm weekend hike along Crum Creek in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. At the end of March, the temperatures dropped and we needed toasty jackets for our walk along the Brandywine River Trail in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

But now – finally – it looks like spring has sprung.  And for me, that means more time outdoors. We’ve written about the many great spots for hiking, biking, and playing near the region’s waterways. Next week, you might consider checking out some of the nearly 20 National Parks in the mid-Atlantic that will be fee-free for the National Park Service’s National Parks Week!

Our National Parks are about more than just getting outside – they’re a connection to our heritage. Visiting these parks, you’ll also get a chance to better understand the connections between America’s history and her waterways. The Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is situated on the Patapsco River, where the Urban Waters Federal Partnership is focused on greening the watershed and restoring this urban waterway. The wetlands near Fort McHenry provide habitat for birds and other animals and insects.

At Assateague Island National Seashore, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, one of EPA’s National Estuary Programs, trains Coastal Stewards to assist with education at the park as well as participate in environmental research. The students study the numerous animals that make their homes in (or stop in as migratory visitors to) this coastal habitat.

So many of our National Parks have a connection to mid-Atlantic waterways, and springtime is a perfect time to enjoy them. Let us know your favorites in the comments!

 

About the author: Dr. Jennie Saxe joined EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region in 2003 and works in the Water Protection Division on sustainability programs

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