Get to know a part of Northern Virginia that has all but disappeared. Hike a gentle trail to an old pyrite mine, watch birds and listen to their calls, scan the ground for wildflowers, spend the night in a historic cabin—all within Prince William Forest Park’s 15,000-plus acres of woodland.
This park protects four-fifths of the Quantico Creek watershed. Quantico Creek and the South Fork of Quantico Creek flow through the park collecting water from rain, springs, and small tributaries. Together they drain more than 20 square miles of woodland within the park. About midway through their courses, both forks of the creek cut deep valleys and cascade over steep
erosion-resistant rocks as they drop from the Piedmont Plateau to the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Near the park’s eastern edge the two branches join, and the creek flows with greater force across the Catoctin greenstone. A few miles downstream of the confluence, Quantico Creek meets the tidewater of the Potomac River, which in turn drains into Chesapeake Bay. As you sit by one of the creeks and watch the waters flow past, keep in mind that all natural and human activities within this watershed affect the quality and quantity of water that ends up in the bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
The CCC transformed many. A generation that knew only joblessness and hopelessness found purpose. In 1933 President Roosevelt devoted one of his fireside chats to the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He said:
“Men of the Civilian Conservation Corps… you – nearly 300,000 strong – are evidence that the nation is still strong enough and broad enough to look after its citizens. You are evidence that we are seeking to get away as fast as we possibly can from the soup kitchens and free rations… Through you the nation will graduate a fine group of strong young men, clean-living, trained to self-discipline, and above all, willing and proud to work for the joy of working. In is time for each and every one of us to cast away self-destroying, nation-destroying efforts to get something for nothing, and to appreciate that satisfying reward and safe reward come through honest work. That must be the new spirit of the American future. You are the vanguard of that new spirit.”