A wooded parcel in Arlington’s Glen Carlyn Park was recognized by the Old Growth Forest Network.
When thinking of Arlington, a community renowned for its urban villages and bustling Metro corridor, few people think: old growth forest.
Yet just south of Route 50, in verdant, secluded Glencarlyn Park, stately oaks and hickories — some reaching more than 100 feet into the sky – have flourished for generations. One Black Oak’s trunk is nearly 12 feet around.
Some of the park’s trees date back more than two centuries and were likely saplings when, just across the river, the British burned the White House during the War of 1812. Amazingly, this magnificent stand of trees has never been logged.
“We do not know why the area was never logged,” said Alonso Abugattas, Arlington County’s natural resources manager. “It may have been because of the rugged slope and the poor soils that would have made it unattractive for farming.”
It is the pristine nature of these 24 heavily forested acres within Glencarlyn Park’s nearly 96-acre spread that has earned the designation of Old Growth Forest by the Old Growth Forest Network. The national organization works to preserve, protect and promote the few remaining stands of old growth forest in the United States. Roughly 95 percent of such forests have been removed or radically altered.
Some 100 ancient trees survive in Glencarlyn Park’s old growth parcel. The designation recognizes not only the trees, but the shrubs, other plants and wildlife they support.
Arlington’s is the fourth Old Growth Forest location in Virginia and the only one in Northern Virginia.
This is part of a parcel in Glen Carlyn Park that was designated part of the Old Growth Forest Network (shown here with Greg Zell, now-retired natural resource specialist).
Glencarlyn Park is home to the second oldest forest in Arlington (the other being a small part of Arlington National Cemetery). The parcel, dominated by oaks – White Oak (Quercus alba), Black Oak (Quercus veluntina), Southern Red Oak (Quercus falcata), Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea), and Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana), also contains ancient Mockernut Hickory (Carya tomentosa) and Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra), and Mountain Laurel. Glencarlyn Park is in one of seven County-designated Natural Resource Conservation Areas.
Glencarlyn is one of Arlington’s largest parks. Connected to Four Mile Run and the W&OD trails, the park boasts a playground, an amphitheater, a dog park and the Long Branch Nature Center.
Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.