The Anacostia may not be the first river that you think of when you think of Washington, D.C.
But the District's other river offers abundant wetlands, improving wildlife habitats, rich history -- and now you can see that for yourself on new boat tours.
"It's one of the best kept secrets around, the Anacostia River -- not too many people know too much about it," said Steve Kinzer of the Anacostia Watershed Society.
The Anacostia runs from Prince George's County in Maryland into the District. It has a rich history; the British used a stretch of the river to invade Washington, and later it was the scene of a daring slave escape.
Kinzer, now 71, remembers swimming in the Anacostia as a teenager. But it's fallen on hard times since then; it's been 60 years since the river was clean enough for swimming.
"I hope the younger generation can appreciate this river like us old timers do," Kinzer said.
Still, with the help of a concerted effort, the river is getting cleaner. And now, a partnership of the D.C. Department of the Environment, the Anacostia Watershed Society and the Anacostia River Keeper has begun boat tours of the river, to get more people interested in its welfare.
The free boat tours begin next month. There will be educational programs too, and volunteer-led clean-ups.
There are a number of ways to schedule a tour with DOEE's Anacostia River Explorers: RiverSmart Educational Boat Tours. You can reach out through:
- Anacostia Riverkeepers
- Anacostia Watershed Society
- Or schedule a school trip through the Aquatic Resources Education Center
Boat tours also will be offered at the:
- Anacostia River Festival, Sunday, April 17 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival, Saturday, April 30
And you can help make the river cleaner at these events:
- Anacostia River Festival Clean Waterways Cleanup with Anacostia Riverkeeper, Saturday, April 16, 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- 28th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, Saturday, April 16
- Earth Day Cleanup with Anacostia Watershed Society, Saturday, April 23 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
In addition, Events DC, in partnership with the Anacostia Watershed Society, has initiated a monthly clean-up of the one mile stretch of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail that is adjacent to RFK Stadium festival grounds.