Rock Creek Park—Washington, D.C.'s Urban Oasis03:41
Download

Play
Autumn leaves are scattered on a trail near Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC on October 16, 2015. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Autumn leaves are scattered on a trail near Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC on October 16, 2015. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The country's oldest urban national park, Rock Creek Park, spans 1,800 acres in the middle of Washington, D.C. The park not only includes hiking trails but also has historic buildings, a golf course, amphitheater and planetarium.

Anthony Linforth, a ranger at Rock Creek Park, tells Here & Now's Meghna Chakrabarti what makes the park special.

Interview Highlights: Anthony Linforth

On Rock Creek Park's history

"There was a battle fought here during the Civil War in 1864, the Battle of Fort Stephens. In fact it's the only battle in which an American president was shot at. Abraham Lincoln was at Fort Stephens, and Confederate sharp shooters are said to have taken shots at him. It was a battle where General Early of the Confederates had swept up the Shenandoah Valley and was threatening Washington, D.C. from the north, and the Union forces here were able to keep them at bay."

On the challenges the park faces as an urban park

"There was a battle fought here during the Civil War in 1864, the Battle of Fort Stephens. In fact it's the only battle in which an American president was shot at."

Anthony Linforth

"One of the challenges is certainly for some of the plant species that we have here. We have a lot of people that have landscape around their homes and some of those plants don't mix well with our native plants, and so there is a constant battle to try and make sure that invasive species don't come into Rock Creek Park.

We also are accessible for most people, but there are still certain people who aren't able to get Rock Creek Park. There's buses that bring people through the park, but there's not a lot of places for people to get off the bus and go for a hike. We're trying to develop some hiking suggestions that allow people to come from the community and utilize the park."

On Rock Creek Park's attendance

"We get quite a few people that come here. I am truly amazed though that every day walking through our doors we have somebody that says, 'Oh my gosh, I've lived here all my life, and this is the first time I've come to the nature center.' We also get a lot of people that come in and say, 'The last time I was here was 30 years ago on a school trip, and now I'm bringing my kids here.' And we're hopeful they'll continue to come and enjoy Rock Creek Park."

Guest

  • Anthony Linforth, park ranger at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.

This segment aired on May 30, 2016.

Support the news

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news