Climate Change

Image of a man on a bike and listing of the key messages of climate change.

NPS

How Will Climate Change Affect GWMP?

There is no doubt that climate change is impacting GWMP but what do people need to know? Here are some of the effects of climate change we are already seeing in GWMP.

 
A birds-eye-view of Memorial Bridge crossing the Potomac River
Aerial view of the GWMP along the Potomac

NPS

  1. Heat/Temperature Changes

  2. Sea Level Rise
  3. Increased Frequency and Severity in Rainfall
  4. Ecosystem Changes
  5. Effects on Roads

What Can We Take Away From These Effects?

  • Changes in climate conditions (from what has been historically recorded) are due to human activity.
  • Climate change happens as changes in average conditions as well as single extreme weather events such as flood, storms, heat waves. This will affect the park condition and resources.
  • The National Park Service will continue to monitor the effects of climate change in GWMP through planning, research and natural resource monitoring for informed and effective management and outreach.
  • For more information, check the Frequently Asked Questions for the most common questions people ask on climate change.
 
Visitors enjoy the scenic view of the Potomac River from the boardwalks that wind through the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
People exploring the wayside in Dyke Marsh

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How Does This Affect Your Visit?

Some of the effects of climate change will directly affect your visit to George Washington Memorial Parkway. Here are the ways in which climate change impacts GWMP, how it will affect your visit and tips on how to enjoy GWMP and other national parks.

 
Infographic describing effects of climate change.
 

What can you do to make your visit more enjoyable? Here are a few tips:

  1. Wear long pants tucked into the long socks or wear light colored clothing with high socks if the temperature is too hot for pants
  2. Put on bug spray with DEET to prevent mosquito bites
  3. Stay in well travelled paths
  4. Keep pets on a leash
  5. Learn what poison ivy looks like and watch out for it! Here is a picture of poison ivy in spring (left) and winter (right)
 
Poison Ivy

NPS/Alicia Lafever

6. If you suffer from pollen allergies, plan your visit to GWMP when the pollen count is low
 
A volunteer helps cut down poison ivy/sumac from a tree at GWMP
Volunteer cutting an invasive plant on a tree

NPS

What Can You Do?

Although the topic of climate change may seem daunting, there is still something we can all do about it. GWMP is already making strides in mitigating climate change and everyone who visits can too. Remember, it’s not too late for every park visitor to make a difference. YOUR individual actions matter! YOU have the power to make a difference for future generations of park goers to have the same park experience as you did!

How is GWMP preparing for the effects of climate change?
    • Ongoing research and monitoring
    • Dyke Marsh restoration
    • Eradicating invasives species
    • Education and outreach
What can you do on your visit to GWMP?
 
A man and his dog enjoying a walk along Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve
A man and his dog enjoying a walk along Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve

NPS

      • Carpool, bike, or take public transportation when visiting GWMP
      • Ask park rangers about what they’re doing to lessen the effects of climate change and what you can do to make an impact
      • Use social media to tell others what you learned: Take and share pictures of biodiversity in your favorite national park
        • Participate using #FindYourPark and tell us how GWMP has spoken to you
        • Challenge your friends or family to visit parks and share their experience.
      • Share our webpage to inform others
      • Be part of the climate change conversation. Talk about it with family and friends.
      • Be an environmental steward! The parks depend on us to thrive. Thank the park rangers and maintenance crew for helping preserve the unique nature you came to visit!
      • Watch the Green Our Rides video which highlights the impact of sustainable practices in the national parks across the US. For further information, view the National Park Service Climate Change Response Program’s videos
What can you do at home?

Your individual actions matter! Every decision you make in day-to-day life makes a difference. The best way to reduce your impact on the environment is to first get informed on issues of climate change in your region. Then, make an attempt to reduce your carbon footprint at home.

      • Reach out to policymakers to implement more climate action policies
      • Be part of environmental groups in your community
      • Think of ways your home can be self-sufficient
      • Promote native species by planting native plants and trees in your garden and community. Say, “No!” to foreign plant species, they may be pretty but they can hurt the native ecosystem, reducing resiliency as climate changes
      • Visit these websites for more information on what you can do to get involved or what you can do at home

Articles

 
George Washington
George Washington

NPS

What Would George Do?
How can one of the founders of the United States of America be a role model for sustainability? Learn more about how George Washington was ahead of his time—environmentally! What practices can we take away from our first president that we can apply to the current issues of climate change?

 

References

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Last updated: October 19, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

George Washington Memorial Parkway Headquarters
700 George Washington Memorial Parkway

McLean, VA 22101

Phone:

(703) 289-2500

Contact Us