A City of Contradictions: Parks and Open Space

After living in rural Colorado for most of my life I was use to a considerable amount of open space. Few buildings, few people, lots of nature. Growing up it wasn’t necessarily something that I loved, I was always dying to go to the city and watch the crowds marching around under tall buildings in business suits. I dreamed of moving to one those cities. And then, by the fate of college acceptance, I was living in one of those cities.

Washington, DC isn’t a traditional skyscraper city, but it was still enough concrete and large crowds to satisfy my urban itch. At the same time, after a few months in the city, I actually began to miss the quiet solitude of country life, with its limited number of people and buildings.

Unlike New York there isn’t one giant central park to represent the green, nature epicenter of the city. DC is more unique, nature can be found in patches throughout the city. Rock Creek Park, Glover Park, the C&O Canal. One of the most nature filled places in DC is a place that even some DC residents aren’t aware exists: Theodore Roosevelt Island.

Located on the Potomac River between Georgetown and Rosslyn, Theodore Roosevelt Island is a small oasis. On a warm spring afternoon in 2010 my friend Erin, a nature loving Northwestern native, and I decided to go venture to the island to be outdoorsy and hike. The island took a total of maybe an hour and a half to hike. But, being able to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city was amazing. Once in the center of the island we could barely tell we were in DC.

To help protect the island from pollution and debris, it is only accessible by a small footpath, any and all cars are forbidden.  The reality of the commercialized and materialized world however prevents the island from being completely devoid of all trash and rubbish. We saw pieces of paper and even tires along our path.

Even with the littering, the woods and creeks that are scattered throughout DC are a nice feature of the city. They’re perfect for running or walks or even to escape the city and get some time to yourself. Few cities have the advantage of saying they have as many parks or woods as DC, especially not ones that are within walking distance of most of the city residents. These preserved areas help to make Washington, DC unique.

Lost tires


Seashells seashells by the Potomac shore


Theodore Roosevelt Monument


Steps by the Theodore Roosevelt Monument
Looking out at the Potomac
Island trail
Sign of Spring on Theodore Roosevelt Island






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