Great Falls National Park
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A spatial exploration of informal trail networks within Great Falls Park, VA

A spatial exploration of informal trail networks within Great Falls Park, VA | Great Falls National Park | Scoop.it
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The proximity of Great Falls Park to the population centers around metropolitan Washington, DC have led to heavy usage of the park.  This heavy usage has resulted in the development of informal trails and unauthorized foot traffic which has fragmented fragile ecosystems and accelerated erosion

 

Wimpey, Jeremy, and Jeffrey L. Marion. "A Spatial Exploration Of Informal Trail Networks Within Great Falls Park, VA." Journal Of Environmental Managemen t92.3 (2011): 1012-1022.

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JSTOR: Agricultural History, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Spring, 1992), pp. 66-74

The region of Maryland and Virginia downstream of Great Falls, also known as the “Tidewater” or Atlantic Coastal Plain, was rapidly populate and cultivated after European settlement, with the population of the Chesapeake colonies growing from 700 in 1650 to 1,150,000 in 1800.  This large-scale cultivation of the landscape created severe erosion which was mitigated through the adoption of techniques borrowed from local Native Americans including “swidden” agriculture, a rotation between forest and crop land cover.

 

Percy, D. "Significant Colonial Landscape Alteration Rates in the Maryland and Virginia Tidewater".  Agricultural History
Vol. 66, No. 2, History of Agriculture and the Environment (1992) , pp. 66-74
Published by: Agricultural History Society

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National Geographic : 1987 Jun, Page 716

The Patowmack Canal company, founded by George Washington, built a canal around the falls in the 18th Century to make the Potomac navigable to the Appalachians.  Washington's involvement in negotiating the construction of the canal and the trade policies by which it would be governed played a large role in bringing about the Constitutional Convention in 1786. 

 

Garrett, Wilbur E. "Waterway That Led To The Constitution: George Washington's Patowmack Canal." National Geographic 171.6 (1987): 0

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THE FALL LINE: A PHYSIOGRAPHIC-FOREST VEGETATION BOUNDARY

Virginia Bush's insight:

Another peer-reviewed paper that talks about the "fall line" over which Great Falls flows.  I am interested in learning more about what a fall line is, how it forms, and what it represents in terms of a geological boundary.  I have noticed a big difference not only in how the landscape looks on both sides of the fall line, but how human communities look too.  I plan on writing about how the fall line is an important feature in both the physical and human geography of the mid-Atlantic.

 

Hart, Justin L.. "The Fall Line: A Physiographic-Forest Vegetation Boundary*."Geographical Review 97: 502-519. Print.

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Recent and historic sediment dynamics along Difficult Run, a suburban Virgi...: EBSCOhost

Virginia Bush's insight:

Erosion is an ongoing problem in the Potomac River watershed.  Erosion of river banks not only degrades topsoil, but adds suspended sediment to the water which reduce water quality in the river and the Chesapeake Bay downstream.  Erosion occurs primarily occurs high in the watershed, above Great Falls, while sediments are deposited on floodplains lower in the river.  This problem persists despite improved management practices because of an increase in large floods associated with climate change.

 

Hupp, Cliff R., et al. "Recent And Historic Sediment Dynamics Along Difficult Run, A Suburban Virginia Piedmont Stream.
"Geomorphology 180-181.(2013): 156-169.

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Land-use history (1720–1992), composition, and dynamics of oak–pine forests within the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of northern Virginia - Canadian Journal of Forest Research

Land-use history (1720–1992), composition, and dynamics of oak–pine forests within the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of northern Virginia - Canadian Journal of Forest Research | Great Falls National Park | Scoop.it

The Fall Line over which Great Falls passes constitute both a geological and ecological boundary between the Piedmont/Appalachian Highlands and the Atlantic Coastal Plain.  Forests on the highlands are those which grow on rocky, shallow soils or narrow stream valleys.  Conversely, Tidewater forests are comprised mostly of bottomland species that require moist, saturated conditions with low variation in annual water level


Orwig, D; Abrams, M. "Land-use history (1720–1992), composition, and dynamics of oak–pine forests within the Piedmont and Coastal Plain of northern Virginia".  Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 1994, 24:1216-1225, 10.1139/x94-160

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JSTOR: The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Apr., 1978), pp. 226-259

The warm, low, flat plains of the Tidewater provided an ideal environment for the cultivation of tobacco.  During the period 1740-1790, small tobacco farms were consolidated into large plantations.   This resulted in the concentration of the slave population into larger groups which is identified as the starting point for an African-American cultural community which persists in the Tidewater today.

 

Kulikoff, Allan. "The Origins of Afro-American Society in Tidewater Maryland and Virginia, 1700 to 1790"
The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Apr., 1978), pp. 226-259

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The Wildest Urban River: Potomac River Gorge: EBSCOhost

Virginia Bush's insight:

A good peer-reviewed survey of the vegetation of Great Falls park that I think will be useful for the kind of broad characterization that I'll be doing in my paper.  The gorge around the Potomac River near Great Falls has a lot of interesting microclimates and has preserved a lot of ecosystems and habitats that have been lost to urbanization in other parts of the river downstream.

 

Cohn, Jeffrey P.. "The Wildest Urban River: Potomac River Gorge." BioScience 54: 8-17. Print.

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