Exploring Maryland: A Walk Around Lake Artemesia
Walk Around Lake Artemesia
On a hot and humid summers day in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a
walk around Lake Artemesia near College Park and Greenbelt, offers some
outdoor relief. Visitors take some relief in the shade of the weeping
willow trees or catch a breeze blowing across the lake.
Locals flock to Lake Artemesia for a range of reasons, running, cycling, fishing, walking being the most popular. Rarely will you find the park empty. The lake is bordered by several miles of paved trails that loop in a figure of eight around the waters. In turn, the trails link up with a huge network of routes that spread like a nervous system throughout the Washington DC metro region. From here you can cycle, walk or run all the way into the center of the city, or if you’re feeling up to it, on to Mount Vernon, south of Arlington.
Lake Artemesia’s History
Lake Artemesia is a relatively new park, created in the 1970s. Originally an area of small ponds and marshland, Arthur Drefs surveyed and purchased it in 1890. The family cultivated the ponds as a goldfish farm until the Washington Metro system was under construction. At this point Arthur Dref’s daughter, Artemesia N. Drefs donated 10 lots to Prince George’s County for preservation and open parkland. The Metro Green Line runs along one side of the lake
Wildlife at Lake Artemesia
The lake area boasts a wide range of flora and fauna. Everything from deer, to turtles and snakes, can regularly be seen in and around the waters. If you’re cycling the trails early in the morning watch out for large snapping turtles crossing the trails. More than once we’ve come across them making their way to the lake from the surrounding woodland.
The lake is popular with fishermen and birdwatchers, with the Prince George’s Audobon Society hosting bird walks every first and third Saturday of the month. A wide range of birdlife can be seen at the lake. Ubiquitous ducks share the waters with heron, ibis and Canada geese. In the reeds and woodland, you’ll find swallows, martins, and bluebirds.
College Park and Greenbelt
Lake Artemisia is located in the town of Berwyn Heights but borders the historic towns of Greenbelt and College Park. If you head south for a short distance on the trails, you will come to the College Park Airfield, and the oldest continually operating airport in the world. The airfield boasts a small but interesting museum that chronicles several important aviation firsts that occurred there. From the initial creation of an airfield by the Wright Brothers soon after their first flights in the Carolinas, as well as College Park’s role in establishing the first airmail route.
This image was taken with Sony a-R and is a single shot exposure with some light processing in Adobe Lightroom.
1. Prince George’s Audobon Society