Monticello Park in Alexandria was newly dedicated as a Community Forest by the Old-Growth Forest Network (OGFN) at a dedication event earlier this month. The 7-acre park is unique in our region as one of the few places that still boasts an intact, original forest that has not be cut or timbered.
The Old-Growth Forest Network dedicated the park as the only national organization focused exclusively on protecting and restoring old-growth forestry. OGFN's work depends heavily on volunteers, with a volunteer coordinator in each county that helps them find old-growth forests that require protection.
“There are a number of environmental benefits, which of course include temperature cooling, shading, and stormwater runoff management, because the forest slows down the flow of stormwater,” said Brian Kane, OGFN's Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager.
There’s an enormous amount of increased carbon storage in forests in general, but in old-growth forests we are learning that it’s almost four times the capacity for storage within the soils, the roots, and the trunks of these trees,” Kane said.
NVCT has been involved for many years with the protection and safeguarding of Monticello Park, including holding a conservation easement on an adjacent property that has similar ecological features to the park.
NVCT Executive Director Alan Rowsome spoke briefly about the significance of Monticello Park to the local community. The Trust has continued working with private landowners, creating a buffer to Monticello Park that may one day become part of the park itself.
"This is a great example of a community working together to do something really good... There's not a lot of examples of an old-growth forest in our area," Rowsome said.
"7 acres to many people may not seem like much, but to this community, it's everything. It's probably why you live here; it's probably why you love to be here, and it's why we work to protect places like this and work with landowners along the edge of the park to hopefully preserve more of the border (of Monticello Park)."
During the dedication, the City of Alexandria's Natural Resource Manager and Department RPCA, Rod Simmons, received a plaque from Kane. Simmons thanked community stakeholders and conservationists for their help and highlighted Monticello Park's significance to its community.
"Monticello Park is the only one of its kind, and it's the most diverse, most important forest in eastern Alexandria."
ABOUT NORTHERN VIRGINIA CONSERVATION TRUST
The Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT) is a regional, nonprofit land trust that forever conserves, manages, and advocates for land that has natural, historical, and cultural value to our Northern Virginia communities. NVCT works with conservation partners, local governments, and private landowners to preserve, restore and steward the land in Northern Virginia. Since its founding in 1994, NVCT has protected over 8,000 acres in urban and rural areas. To learn more, visit nvct.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.