The Anacostia River, in the midst of a renaissance, now has a better, safer water access point in Washington, D.C.
The Anacostia Watershed Society teamed up with outdoor outfitter REI to install a new dock at the National Arboretum. The old one was smaller, and couldn’t be used in certain tidal conditions.
The new dock is part of a network of six public access points along the Anacostia, which include:
Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Bladensburg, Maryland
Bladensburg Wetlands, a restored marshland just north of the New York Avenue Bridge;
Kingman Island, accessible from the RFK Parking Lots;
The Anacostia Park boat ramp in front of the Aquatic Resources Education Center;
The 11th Street Bridge Park site, where seasonal docks are accessible through Anacostia Park, and the
Anacostia Community Boathouse, at 1900 M Street SE.
The improved public access goes hand in hand with the recent push to clean up the Anacostia.
“As we celebrate 2018 as the Year of the Anacostia, we’ve seen tremendous demand for recreational access and we couldn’t be happier.” said Jim Foster, President of the Anacostia Watershed Society. “The completion of the Anacostia Riverwalk hiker/biker trail, the expansion of docks for canoeing and kayaking, the growth of stand up paddle boarding, and the summer Discovery Series boat trips are all contributing to the Anacostia becoming a valued recreational amenity, which is crucial to its long term stewardship.”
REI echoes the importance of recreational use for river stewardship:
“The more people that get outside and use the river for recreation, the more people will care about its long-term health,” says Seth Benschoter, Outdoor Programs and Outreach Mid-Atlantic Manager.
The goal is to make the Anacostia River swimmable and fishable by 2025. In 2018, the “Year of the Anacostia,” the Anacostia River Tunnel Project has reduced sewer overflows by 81 percent. The D.C. government and the National Park Service are going after contaminated sediment in the river. And several land remediation projects are expected to wrap up this year. To learn more about these projects, click here.
-Meg Walburn Viviano