A tree uprooted from a steep embankment and toppled on the path through Glover Archbold National Park, at a place about a quarter mile north of Reservoir Road.
Some path travelers turn back. Some climb through the thick tangle of limbs and leaves. Many go around the fallen white oak, which crashed at least 10 days ago.
Diamante Parrish, 21, a student at American University and a frequent park visitor, said Thursday that it was his first encounter with the obstacle.
He had already met one obstruction, where the trail meets Canal Road at its southern tip. National Park Service officials said they closed trail access out of concern about debris falling from the abandoned trolley trestle that spans the woods there (See, NPS Shuts Glover Archbold Trail Head, The Hoe.org).
“I considered just walking around the fence, but wasn’t sure what was going on,” Parrish said, adding that he took the detour posted by the park service.
Parrish said he enjoys “feeling the energy” in the woods. “It revitalizes me,” he said. “This is like a home to me and I want to know what’s going on with it.”
On Friday morning, Emily Linroth, a park service public affairs specialist, voiced appreciation for notification about the fallen tree. She said a maintenance crew will be dispatched to the scene.
“We have thousands of acres of parkland around the city,” Linroth said. “It’s great when people notice those things and do let us know about it so we can take care of it.” Visitors can call 202-895-6000 to report a concern.
Park rules bar citizens from taking on tree clearing, in the interest of protecting the park from damage or removal of natural and cultural resources, according to Linroth. The terms are covered in the Rock Creek Park Superintendent Compendium, which is posted on the park service website. Rock Creek Park administration covers Glover Archbold National Park.
As the decaying, sawed trunks along the park path testify, the tree crash does not pose a novel circumstance.
Bridgid Myers, 36, said she strides through the park 4-5 times a week. “I love that there are trails in D.C. proper where you can walk and not feel like you’re in the concrete jungle.”
Myers, who is from southwestern Wisconsin, expressed concern about the fallen tree, but said it hadn’t greatly impeded her transit. “You can get around it,” she said. “It’s just a little bit harder.”
Mila Salazar, 62, stepped up her trips into the park when she got a dog about two years ago.
“It’s like nature on our doorstep,” Salazar said. “It’s a great resource.”
© 2016 John A. Bray