There are over 25 designated “Walkabouts” in Arlington, Virginia and Potomac Overlook Regional Park is one of them. Some things have changed at the park since the retirement of Chief Naturalist, Martin Ogle over a year ago. Enthusiasm for the Gaia theory seems to be evaporating as signs are growing old and deteriorating. Not having a naturalist in residence living on the premises makes a difference, and that is not intended to be critical. It is just a fact. Ogle was constantly pruning and primping the landscape in the spaces designated for groups as if it were his own front yard. His support for the community garden was strong and that was reflected in the enthusiasm of the gardeners. Now, there is still a garden of sort, but it is not well planned or kept as before.
The new brand at the park appears to be more natural, rustic, and less kept. That hasn’t seemed to diminish the traffic. The trails are tamped down by the heavy volume of visitors. The staff remains enthusiastic in support of visiting children’s groups. The staff is also most knowledgeable about the park and its natural inhabitants.
Let’s focus on the positives:
- Potomac Overlook Regional Park is a historical destination where Native Americans have encamped since 500 B.C.
- Artifacts of the old Donaldson Farm remain visible, and the nature center displays exhibits including stuffed animals and live reptiles that are educational for everyone.
- A small library space in the Nature Center is a comfortable place to warm up on cold days or to cool off on hot ones.
- The trails afford visitors several options for getting exercise, and one provides access to the Potomac River.
- Keep your eyes open and you may see some of the more than 30 deer that are resident in the woods among other wild creatures that include coyotes, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, chipmunks, and a variety of birds.
- The bird exhibit is still there, where wounded birds are cared for and can be visited quietly.
Potomac Overlook Regional Park is a community asset that deserves more attention and vigilance. What is happening with this park? That question will be asked of the Parks and Recreation administration. Stay tuned for answers.
Potomac Overlook Regional Park
Address: 2845 N Marcey Rd, Arlington, VA 22207