Nature & Science

Wildflowers and lichens cling to a bedrock terrace
Bedrock Terrace Xeric Savanna is a rare habitat with sparse plants and abundant lichen.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

The parkway's 4,580 acres are home to at least 81 plants and animals considered rare, threatened, or endangered in Virginia or Maryland. These include 37 species of vascular plants, 2 vertebrates, and 19 invertebrates.

Many of these rare species are associated with the plant communities found in few places in the Potomac River Gorge. Some of these habitats have names that make them sound every bit as exotic as they are, like Bedrock Terrace Rim Xeric Forest and Bedrock Terrace Xeric Savanna.

Natural areas within the park are extremely biodiverse, and parts of these areas have not been studied fully yet. As recently as 2011, a species of caddisfly new to science, Neophylax virginica, was discovered in Turkey Run. Each new study yields first records of species that live in the area.

 

Science and Nature in GWMP

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    Mailing Address:

    George Washington Memorial Parkway Headquarters
    700 George Washington Memorial Parkway

    McLean, VA 22101

    Phone:

    (703) 289-2500
    Ranger-led programs for schools and other groups: Theodore Roosevelt Island and North 703-285-2965 USMC War Memorial and South 703-235-1530

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