George Washington Memorial Parkway Natural Resource Condition Assessment
George Washington Memorial Parkway was developed as a scenic parkway to help preserve the Potomac River Gorge and shoreline while serving as a memorial to the first President of the United States, George Washington. The Potomac Gorge is one of the most significant natural areas in the United States, and is home to more than 400 occurrences of over 200 rare species and communities. The park houses several unique habitats, including a major river system with numerous tributaries, stands of upland forest, seeps and springs, and abundant wetlands. The vital signs framework was used to assess natural resource condition within George Washington Memorial Parkway. Natural resources in George Washington Memorial Parkway are in degraded condition overall, and are under threat from surrounding land use, regionally poor air quality, overpopulation of deer, and exotic species and pests. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of streams, changing forest composition, and allowing for the success of exotic species and forest pests and disease.