Greenbelt Park Collection

Found in Greenbelt Park, this is a petrified trunk of a Cycadeoidea marylandica from the Jurassic period (about 206 to 144 million years old).

Long before colonial settlers appeared here, trees and flowers covered these rolling hills and wildlife roamed the woodlands. Algonquin Indians hunted this land in competition with other smaller tribes. A balance existed between the land and its plants, animals, and native people. Then the colonists arrived and trees fell and forests gave way to farmland. Wildlife retreated to the frontier. For the next 150 years, people cleared the land, plowed the fields, and planted tobacco, corn, and other crops. The rich fertile soil returned high yields. The people did not give back to the land as much as they took. The land wore out, producing less each season and farming ceased. The land was left bare and defenseless. Erosion caused many scars before nature could slow the process with new growth. Since the early 1900s the land has been recovering. Today the mixed pine and deciduous forest testifies to the land's ability to recover. The land of Greenbelt Park was acquired by the National Park Service in 1950 under Public Law 643.

Collection Summary

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Mike Antonioni
(National Capital Parks–East)

Last updated: June 23, 2016