Category: Environment

Hiking the Northwest Branch Trail

I like to discover beautiful places to visit in the mid-Atlantic region, and I like to share my favorite places with others. I’ve recently discovered this one, and I’m sorry it took me so long. The Northwest Branch Trail is inside the Capital Beltway, so it’s close to Washington, D.C. It’s a seven-mile, paved trail that follows the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River through leafy, wooded terrain, with rock formations on both sides. The trail connects Prince George’s County with Montgomery County, and it runs from Hyattsville, Md. all the way to the Beltway in Silver Spring. Here’s a Mesh gallery of shots I took while meandering down the trails.

The lovely, restored Adelphi Mill sits on its banks.

Adelphi Mill in Adelphi, Md., near the Northwest Branch trail. (Photo by Andrea Kenner)
Adelphi Mill in Adelphi, Md., near the Northwest Branch trail. (Photo by Andrea Kenner)

It’s cool in the summer, and almost makes you forget you’re in a dense, urban area. But please don’t forget — it’s always safer to walk with a dog or a human friend.

Where do YOU like to commune with nature? If you’re in the mid-Atlantic region, do you have any favorite places you’d like to share? Please let me know in the comments.

New Hope for the American Chestnut Tree

American Chestnut tree
Bob MacInnes, “American Chestnut” October 10, 2010 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.

As a child, I was fascinated by the stories my father (who is now almost 81, by the way) told me about the American Chestnut tree. Dad never saw one of the trees himself, but the house where he grew up had a beautiful old staircase that was made from American Chestnut wood. My father told me that the eastern forests were once dominated by these tall, majestic giants, and I always wished I could see one. According to Wikipedia, starting about 1904, the trees started getting wiped out by a disease called chestnut blight.

I probably never will get to see an American Chestnut tree, but there’s a good chance that future generations will, thanks to the work of some dedicated scientists and volunteers. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, scientists at the American Chestnut Foundation have been working for many years to breed a new disease-resistant strain of American Chestnut tree. The organization has had some success with interbreeding American Chestnut trees with a Chinese variety that has some natural resistance to the chestnut blight. They’re also experimenting with a virus “that can be injected into affected trees to combat the fungus,” the Washington Post said.

According to the Post article, “some envision huge tracts of strip-mined Appalachia one day being restored with lovely chestnut forests.” To learn how you can help to reestablish the American Chestnut tree for future generations to enjoy, please contact the American Chestnut Foundation.