Improbable Legacy of Cleaning Up the Anacostia River
By David Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer

True story: Washington and the Anacostia River are so close, they mingle and make mud. But they needed a man -- a very unusual man, a gray-haired former hippie with a temper like a wasp -- to re-introduce them.

That is now the improbable legacy of Robert E. Boone, who in the late 1980s became one of the first environmentalists working full-time for the region's toxic, stinking second river.

The tale of his two decades on the Anacostia involves a floating corpse, an island amusement park, and a creek littered with hypodermic needles. There was a good bit of shouting, mostly by him. And there were many boat trips, as Boone took schoolchildren and Congressmen out for their first glimpse of the river's hidden, beautiful side.

Now, he's retiring, or at least semi-retiring, just as waterfront development is spreading along the Anacostia's banks.

Use the map below to take a guided tour of the Anacostia with Boone.

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WEB EDITORS: Laura Cochran - REPORTER: David Fahrenthold - The Washington Post

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