Rock Creek Park is the heart of D.C. How can we make it even better?


D.C. legal assistant Grace Reed relaxes in  Rock Creek Park on June 14.  “It de-stresses me… an escape from the city.”  (Photo by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Two questions for readers of The Post magazine’s special issue on Rock Creek Park: What do you  already like about the park? And what improvements would you like to see there?

You should be well placed to answer those questions, which Rock Creek Conservancy wants to address as it figures where to put its resources for the next decade. The nonprofit — which aims to create a healthier park and make it more accessible to local people and tourists — has set up a series of community engagement meetings and an online survey  in preparation for the park’s 125th anniversary next year.

RCC, which works closely with the National Park Service, has already held two neighborhood meetings — at the Mount Pleasant  and the Chevy Chase libraries — and is planning three more for the fall, focused on four key topics, which it settled on in coordination with the park service and other nonprofits: access to the park, the historic buildings and landscapes, environmental challenges, and programs and recreation.

Many of the people who attended know the park well, according to Margo Reid, director of the RCC’s anniversary planning. But the meetings, which attracted about 75 people,  have already surfaced some ideas — such as how to better manage pedestrian and bike traffic on trails and how the community can help improve water quality in the creek and its tributaries.

You can find a link to the survey, which was launched July 7, at http://www.rockcreekconservancy.org. The results will help inform RCC’s 10-year plan and its anniversary celebration, which begins in January with the presentation of a “state of the park”  paper and culminates in a party in September, all built around the theme: Find yourself in Rock Creek Park.

Frances Stead Sellers is senior writer at The Washington Post magazine. She joined the magazine in 2014 after spending two years as the editor of the daily Style section, with a focus on profiles, personalities, arts and ideas.

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Peter Marks · July 16, 2014