Friday, July 17, 2015

Prince William Forest, FDR, Fairies and Spies!

Recently we went for a hike in Prince William Forest. As we entered the park, I noticed the sign stated that they had first opened in 1936. Immediately I wondered if it was one of FDR's WPA projects.  We spent the day busily hiking and discovering flora and fauna, but now that I've slowed down to read the brochure I'm thrilled with all the history I've discovered! The park was indeed one of FDR's Great Depression alphabet soup programs, specifically the RDA (Recreational Demonstration Area) whose goal was to "reuse marginal, overworked land." Built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), the camp was intended for low income families to enjoy nature. The camps were segregated which accounts for today's separate camp entrances.

By WWII the camps were closed to use the area to train future spies!  The OSS (Office of Strategic Services) taught weaponry, intelligence, and encryption.

This is a piedmont forest with the fall line accessible to be viewed by one of the trails! I've only recently moved to Virginia in the last 6 years from Texas, but the fall line is basically an abrupt elevation change in between the rockier higher west and the sandier lower east where rivers spill over rapids and waterfalls.  I studied geology in college so I love this sort of stuff!

We took parts of the High Meadows Trail and the Low Valley Trail which hugged Quantico Creek, full of numerous small waterfalls. The brochure says that this forest is "a nutrient rich mat" and they are definitely correct about that! Decaying leaves, fungi and lush moss surrounded us!


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When I was little I used to read the 1930's Raggedy Ann and Andy books all the time, then I read them to my kids when they were little. As I hiked through Prince William Forest, I could easily imagine this was Raggedy Ann and Andy's forest! The soft moss surrounding us reminded me of when they might lay down for a soft nap while fairies danced around them...


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This large cup shaped mushroom/toadstool reminded me of the fairies who might drink out of it like a cup...

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This was interesting...a rotting tree. The top part to the right was still somewhat intact. However the bottom part to the left had already disintegrated! I have seen fallen trees in the process of rotting before, but never fully disintegrated.


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1 comment:

  1. What a serene, enchanting, marvelous corner of Mother Nature's domain. I love woods like these, where unexpected treasures and humbling beauty abounds. It just sets the spirit right to be amongst the trees, flora and fauna like that.

    ♥ Jessica

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