Rock Creek Conservancy has submitted comments to the National Park Service regarding its Nature Center Complex Development Concept Plan. These comments reflect the work done with Rock Creek Park stakeholders, results from the Green Ribbon Panel that was commissioned for the Park's 125th anniversary, our Strategic Plan, and the Park's own documents.
- We strongly support improved Park facilities. Desired results include the removal of the fewest large trees, proper stormwater management, the protection of wildlife and native vegetation, and an enhanced visitor experience through education and access.
- We support expanding or rebuilding the Nature Center with a restored or enhanced nature trail. We do not want to see the construction of a canopy walk without the consideration of mature trees in the area. We also hope that any upgrades to the facility will include stormwater management.
- Our desire is to see the Park explain its operational objectives and limitations in order to assess the priority, costs, and benefits of changes to the Horse Center relative to other resource needs. If the footprint of the Horse Center is expanded and the surrounding natural environment is threatened, we will have concerns.
- Any activities to improve the Maintenance Area must not adversely affect bird habitat. It is our desire that any improvements will not just focus on the facilities themselves, but the enhancement of the habitat, also.
- We believe Miller Cabin should be rehabilitated in its current location on Beach Drive.
- Overall, we are unsure if the proposed concepts sufficiently manage vegetation for wildlife in areas around the Nature Center, Maintenance Yard, and Horse Center. We urge the Park to improve vegetation management for wildlife by minimizing the removal of trees, minimizing mowing, maintaining native vines and shrubs, and using native plants when re-landscaping.
To read the comments in their entirety, click here.