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Tract of old-growth trees in Arlington wins national recognition

© Leesburg Today - 10/27/2015

A 24-acre tract of trees -- some dating back two centuries -- in Glencarlyn Park recently was recognized by the Old Growth Forest Network for its virginal nature and resultant contributions to the quality of life in Northern Virginia.

The patch of land becomes just the fourth in Virginia to receive the designation of an Old Growth Forest.

About 100 trees in the parcel are notable, including some believed to be saplings when the British burned the White House in 1814. And they are a rarity, indeed: Some of Arlington's treescape was denuded for farming, while much that remained was razed by Union forces eager to prevent Confederate troops from having hiding places during the Civil War.

Some of the trees -- hickories and oaks -- reach 100 feet in the sky.

""We do not know why the area was never logged,"" said Alonso Abugattas, natural-resources manager for the county government. ""It may have been because of the rugged slope and the poor soils that would have made it unattractive for farming.""

Interestingly, the tract in Glencarlyn Park is not the oldest of its kind in the county. A small area of Arlington National Cemetery contains even older specimens.

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