Ever feel like you’re living in a nature lover’s Paradise? Maybe while you’re eating lunch in the swampy, muggy heat of Farragut Square or while jogging along that potholed path along Rock Creek Parkway? Me either, but according to NerdWallet’s new study, we’re in the third best city for nature lovers in the country.
“Washington D.C. isn’t only the White House – there is plenty of green space within city boundaries, with over 19% of the metropolitan area devoted to parkland,” the study says. Which is true. What they don’t tell you is that while Rock Creek Park counts for a large part of that parkland, it has a massive highway running through the middle of it. There really is nothing like enjoying nature to the sounds and smells of gridlock.
“With over 10 national parks within a 100-mile radius, nature-lovers always have something new to explore,” it continues. Which is also true, but it just took me damned near 5 hours to drive the 80 miles to Shenandoah in Memorial Day traffic. I’m going to go ahead and say that this study didn’t take traffic conditions into considerations. Ten National Parks within 100-miles is great, but given the area’s traffic problems, they might as well be in Ohio.
“While the best known parks are the President’s Park (including the White House) and the National Mall, there are plenty of other attractions in and around DC.” Wait, President’s Park has a 10 foot high fence and a paramilitary guard surrounding it, and the National Mall would be considered a national embarrassment in just about any other nation’s capital city. I think I saw tires at the bottom of the Reflecting Pool, and I the area’s squirrel population formed a picnic-stealing cartel. A field of pockmarked, brown grass with a fly infested puddle in the middle is hardly a nature lover’s paradise.
“Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens is the last remaining tidal marsh in Washington D.C., so check out the wide variety of flora and fauna that are native to the area, like herons, foxes and waterlilies.” I’ve lived here for years and I had to look this one up. It turns out that it’s way out by the Anacostia River, so you’ll also be able to see other native things to the area, like floating bodies and gently bobbing syringes.
“Head outside of the city to the Potomac Heritage trails that cover the same ground George Washington explored in the 1700s,” the study starts to conclude. “Be sure to stop by the National Aquarium to see the 1,500 species they exhibit, including sea turtles, sharks and alligators.” You’d better be sure to hurry too, because that’ll be closing in September.
I’m not saying that Washington D.C.’s nature lovers are anywhere near as bad off as their counterparts in other parts of the country. We’re actually quite spoiled. But, to rank this federally-run, traffic-infested swampland as the third best city for nature lovers is just plain foolish.