As Rock Creek Park turns 125, a word from the superintendent

Tara Morrison, 44, the National Park Service superintendent at Rock Creek Park, came to D.C. three years ago from a very different kind of park in New York City: the African Burial Ground National Monument.

What surprised the Connecticut native most about Rock Creek Park was “the great number of park neighbors who are really interested in working to help the park, to assist with preservation, restoration and maintenance efforts.”

With that in mind and the park’s celebration of its 125th anniversary next year, Morrison says her goal is to engage those neighbors in meeting three top priorities:

1)      One of my priorities is to establish a park-wide stewardship program to provide opportunities for those who want to help. We’ll match park needs with the interests of those who want to help.

2)      The park is located in a very dynamic urban environment and with that comes many challenges and opportunities. One of our greatest challenges is communication and I believe one way to address that is to establish a formal outreach program – more likely designed around electronic newsletters more than monthly meetings. This isn’t something that will happen overnight.
3)      Finally, with our partners we are looking at ways in which the park can be more accessible. While there are many people who know their way around the park we know there are others who do not. Through the use of technology, signage and connecting with communities and other organizations I’m certain we will address this successfully.

Anyone interested in volunteering, should go to: http://www.nps.gov/rocr/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm

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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