These Animals Live in the Most Powerful City in the World
Exploring the wild in the nation’s capital with field notes from Rock Creek Park.
Washington, D.C.Walking along the trail on this April day, wildflowers and blossoms dot the ground: bluebells, violets, spring beauties, trout lilies, jack-in-the-pulpit, mayapples, and bloodroot. Redbuds and cherry trees flower along the park’s roadways as bicyclists power up its steep hills.
It may be surprising, but this leafy wilderness is just miles from the White House, in the bustling, traffic-laden city of Washington, D.C.
The National Park Service (NPS) administers Rock Creek Park within the city’s boundaries, overseeing the park’s forested 1,754-acre (710-hectare) main section—from D.C.’s northern border with Maryland to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in the south—as well as an additional 1,300 acres (526 hectares) of smaller, fragmented parks and historic buildings. These different pieces of land make up what’s