Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Volunteers continue to step up. When will the Park Service?

Despite the often rainy weather, April was a huge volunteer month at the Parkway.

On Friday, April 22, 20 staff from the U.S. Coast Guard's Personnel Service Center cleaned the beautiful but heavily polluted area behind Brother Place SE.

The next day, April 23, nearly 100 volunteers braved a cool rain at Shepherd Parkway as part of the Anacostia Watershed Society's annual Earth Day Clean-Up.  Work sites included the foot of Malcolm X Avenue, 2nd Street, the Lebaum Street.

Over the two days, we removed over 300 bags full of trash, 112 tires, and untold thousands of pounds of car parts, carpets, furniture, and other large items.

Areas of the park where you could not see the ground when we began are starting to look like healthy forests again. New dumping continues to occur but is less frequent than in the past, and we strive to undo it as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, our heroic volunteer efforts have yet to be matched by any serious action on the part of the parks "managers" at National Capital Parks-East. After five years of clean-ups and nearly two years of meetings, Shepherd Parkway still has

-No signage
-No public programming
-No trail access
-No anti-dumping enforcement
-No historical interpretation, save for one sign
-No serious plan for its future

NPS sites in the whiter, more affluent parts of DC have all of these. The neglect of Shepherd Parkway is a classic case of environmental racism, and it must end.

Please sign the Shepherd Parkway Call to Action to let NPS leaders know that Ward 8 deserves better.

Our next Community Clean-Up will be on Saturday, May 14 from 11 to 1. Meet at the picnic area near the corner of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Avenues SE.

While supplies last, all volunteers will receive a bright yellow Anacostia Watershed Society Earth Day t-shirt.