Saturday, July 01, 2006

Rock Creek Still A Mess

People planning to visit Rock Creek Park (or drive through it), should probably focus on the western ridge rather than the valley. Rock Creek Parkway is still a mess.

"It was worse than Isabel, and that was significant damage for us," said Cynthia Cox, assistant superintendent of the 1,800-acre Rock Creek Park, referring to the 2003 hurricane. She said creek waters have not receded enough for officials to know the extent of the damage....

Cleanup has been an immense job. In the worst-hit area of Rock Creek Park, from Virginia Avenue NW nearly to Military Road NW, crews hauled 18 trees off the parkway. An 82-foot section of pavement was eroded on Beach Drive, and parts of the bicycle path were blocked. Picnic tables were dumped downstream. Flooding damaged Peirce Mill, the park's Nature Center and its police station....

North of Broad Branch Road, Beach Drive remains closed to drivers. There, rain-powered creek waters scoured away chunks of earth that supported the pavement. Near the police station, the road has a ragged edge, bordered by a trench cut by rainwater, with gravel and sand strewn about. Road crews planned to remove, shore up and replace 82 feet of the road's southbound lane. It could take several days.
The loss of trees is probably not that big of a problem for the habitats since new ones will grow to take their place. The damage will make it difficult to visit the lower sections of the park for a while. One interesting thing from the article was that the flood gave hikers and bikers a taste of what the park could be like without the busy thoroughfares through the valley. The floods do make one wonder about the wisdom of building the roads there in the first place.