Spotlight Cache: Wetlands, A National Treasure

#WorldWetlandsDay (February 2, 2023)

Huntly Meadows Park

Today, we’re celebrating #WorldWetlandsDay by spotlighting one of Northern Virginia’s favorite wetlands, Huntley Meadows, in Alexandria. This is the largest park operated by Fairfax County, encompassing 1,452 acres of land. The land has a pretty interesting history. In colonial times, it was owned by George Mason. His descendants continued ownership of the land into the 1900s. An entrepreneur purchased it with the intentions of building the world’s largest airport. That didn’t take off (pun intended,) and the federal government snatched up the land for all kinds of testing and experimenting. The Bureau of Public Roads tested asphalt road surfaces and the Navy conducted highly classified radio communication research here. In the 1970s, the federal government declared the land surplus and it was given to Fairfax County for use as a park. Not long after the feds left, the beavers returned, transforming the land and biodiversity.

photo by Rosyextreme, logged on June 2021

Wetlands: A National Treasure (earthcache)

And while we are celebrating Huntly Meadows, we also want to spotlight Wetlands: A National Treasure (GC105P8). This cache, published in 2007 by mgsgagag was adopted by and is being maintained by effstop. It won Best Earthcache in 2007! As an Earthcache, there will be a little bit of work involved in learning about wetlands to get credit for this cache, but that’s what we want on #WorldWetlandsDay after all. When you get there, I bet you will be looking for more than just answers to your Earthcache questions. There is so much to see as you wander from the woods onto the boardwalk and out over the water. Any time of year, you are likely to see lots of wildlife. But spring and summer are probably the most active times to catch birds, turtles, frogs and more. If you take some good photos, you might want to share them in the Facebook group, Huntly Meadows Park Photography; the group has over eight thousand members. Be sure to share them in your geocaching log too. We love seeing how much fun you have when caching.

photo by hotcactuspepper, logged on March 2021.

According to the Friends of Huntley Meadows:

  • Please plan to carry your valuables with you or leave them at home.
  • Car break ins are occurring. To help discourage this activity, please do not leave anything people would want to take.
  • The Fairfax County Police are doing extra patrols, but with everyone’s help of leaving nothing of value to steal, this will make the parking lot unattractive to this activity.

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