Skip to content

Wetlands: A Natural Treasure EarthCache

Hidden : 01/03/2007
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Terrain:
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   other (other)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!

Watch

How Geocaching Works

Please note Use of geocaching.com services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:


This is an Earthcache – as such, there is no physical cache. Instead after observing the wetland, you will answer 5 questions and message me the answers. Posted coordinates are for parking. Please follow the trail to the observation tower.
Located in the southern part of Huntley Meadows Park. Ample parking is located at the listed coordinates. The cache will take you around 1.5 miles along flat hard packed trails and a ½ mile boardwalk wetland trail to an observation tower.

Facilities at Huntley Meadows Park:
- Visitor Center with exhibits, classroom and auditorium
- ½ mile boardwalk wetland trail
- Wildlife Observation Platforms
- 2 mile interpretive trail system
- Hike-Bike Trail

Nestled in Fairfax County's Hybla Valley, Huntley Meadows Park is a rich, natural island in the suburban sea of Northern Virginia. Its 1,425 acres harbor majestic forests, wildflower-speckled meadows and vast wetlands bursting with life.

Huntley Meadows lies in a wet lowland that was carved out by an ancient meander of the Potomac River. The resulting freshwater wetland is one of the rarest habitats left in Fairfax County. A healthy wetland supports more life than almost any other habitat. Wetlands also purify polluted waters and control the destructive power of floods and storms. Some of the best wildlife watching in the Washington metropolitan area is enjoyed here. From the ½ mile wetland boardwalk trail and observation tower, people have excellent views of beavers, frogs, dragonflies and herons. Water levels and plant life vary throughout the year, but the park always offers a lot to see. Bird-watchers and photographers gather year-round to look for local and rare birds. Try to visit during fall foliage season when trees surround the wetland with color.

Acre for acre, no other ecosystem benefits people and wildlife more than wetlands. Wetlands work like natural filters that slow the movement of water over land and trap nutrients, sediment and other pollutants before they can enter rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay. In many ways, wetlands in our region work almost as hard as farmers do.

Each year hundreds of programs are conducted for the general public and scheduled groups. Visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Tuesdays, when we are closed. Holidays we are open noon to 5 p.m. Call the Visitor Center at 703-768-2525 for additional information.

Logging Requirements: To log this Earthcache: Read the geology lesson above. Answer all four questions posted below. Answers can be sent via e-mail or messenger contacts on my Geocaching profile within a reasonable time. Group answers are fine, but please include the members of the group you are with.

QUESTION 1. Huntley Meadows lies in a wet lowland that was carved out by an ancient meander from what river?

QUESTION 2. Acre for acre, a healthy wetland does what?

QUESTION 3. Did the water level appear high or low during your visit?

QUESTION 4. In your own words describe how a small elevation changes in the wetland alters the plant life.

QUESTION 5. How many species of birds did you see in the park today?

OPTIONAL PHOTO: Add a picture of the wetlands, wildlife or your fellow cachers enjoying getting out of the traffic for a bit.

Congratulations to Marylandgeocacher for celebrating find #500 here!!!

Additional Hints (No hints available.)