A view of Sligo Creek heading off into the woods. This is near the south end of the creek.

Sligo Creek is an urban stream returning to a natural state. At least to the extent it can surrounded by homes and offices. Even though it has paved paths, bridges, and parallel drives, it still has places that look fairly wild. Especially for being in the middle of a city.

This might appear to be an untouched, natural stream. But it has undergone reclamation for a few decades now as part of the effort to clean up the Anacostia and other tributaries. It’s hard to tell now which parts are really natural and which just look that way. Combine that with the broken mill dams and pipes crossing the stream, and you have quite a range of textures in a few miles of waterway.

Now a days, the watershed is pretty clean and crisscrossed with a web of paths. The result is a quite different view of the city than you get from the roads or rail. You can walk from north of Washington, DC, to the south and have water running nearby the entire way. Some sections meander through broad flood plains while others rush down gorges. From the north to the south is a drop of around four hundred feet.

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James Smith