National Christmas Tree all dressed up! via Matt Priddy
Brrr, baby, it's cold outside and that is not a made-up excuse. Capital Weather Gang says this polar vortex could be the most intense blast of Arctic air we have seen in over 30 years.
Yes, it's winter (nearly). And for some, the thought of going outside right now brings about a chorus off, “It's too cold” or “I'm in hibernation until spring,” among other creative excuses. But don't let frigophobes get you down. Only in winter do we get to fully appreciate things like crispy air, log fires, hot chocolate, pot roasts, and of course snow. Also, a cooler weather usually means it's a great time to have the parks and trails almost entirely to yourself. So, layer up, find a friend, and get outside!
One important political announcement for outdoorists: Ryan Zinke has been nominated to be the next Secretary of the Interior. Part of the Interior's job is to oversee management of nearly three quarters of federal land and natural resources, i.e. National Parks Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife, among others. What should we expect from Zinke if the Senate approves his nomination?
He strongly believes that federal lands should continue to be managed at the Federal level. He has refused to support the GOP stance to transfer ownership of federal lands to states.
He voted for the Keystone Pipeline and has voted for fewer regulations for fossil fuel industries.
He acknowledges that the climate is changing in part due to human activities. But it's unclear what efforts he thinks should be taken to curb climate change.
Light-filled with a spectacular glass ceiling, the Kogod Courtyard is one of our favorite indoor parks in the city, especially in the wintertime. Nestled inside the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum in Penn Quarter, the courtyard features climate-controlled comfort where exotic tropical plants thrive in juxtaposition to white marble benches, where the water scrims cutting through the space provide a soft and soothing rippling sound, and where one looks up to admire the ever-changing "light show" enabled by the glass canopy.
The Kogod Courtyard accommodates a wide variety of activities all year round, such as concerts, art performances, art–making programs, and family activities. It's also a perfect (and super romantic!) place to meet up with friends, sit, lounge, or read, while immersing oneself in the serenity of nature meets human art and creativity.
Last winter, DC was hammered by a snowstorm that excited many locals and brought out the inner-child searching for a hill to slide down. Thanks to the lifting of a 140-year ban, the Capitol Police now allows sledders to legally sled down Capitol Hill. From our first hand experience, we can say that the hill is a solid B+, but its picture worthiness is 100%.
The Capitol Grounds are made up of a 58-acre plot including 100 varieties of trees and 1000s of different flowers. Frederick Law Olmstead, also the designer of NYC’s Central Park, envisioned the space to be more of a park, so he removed over 400 trees during construction. Of the trees the he planted, just 65 remain today and many of those serve as memorials or commemorations. With snow possibly coming to DC over Friday night, the Capitol Grounds will be a top contender for your urban Winter Sledding.
Wreaths Across America intends to lay 245,000 wreaths on Arlington National Cemetery tombstones, but the group is about 10,000 wreaths short and could use more volunteers. This will be the 25th year for the wreath-laying tradition that began at Arlington and now happens at nearly 1,200 cemeteries across the nation.
HP100 is fun ride around Hans Point meant to get more people out biking and to provide an opportunity to support WABA's Women and Bicycling Program. Interested riders are encourage to ride for 100 miles, 100 KM, 100 minutes, 100 minutes split between a few friends, basically as much or as little as you'd like. There will be music, door-prizes, and lots of fun!
Explore the birds along the Tidal Basin during winter migration with a National Parks Service ranger. This is an excellent introduction to species found in the area. Bring your binoculars, wear warm clothing and comfortable shoes. The group will meet at the bookstore at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.
Carpool with Sierra Club Pro to take a hike in the woods on the Rachel Carson Greenway in suburban Maryland just north of the beltway. The hike will be about 7.3 miles (roundtrip) at a 2.5 mph pace along the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River.
Washington Parks & People is inviting the community to come over for the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. Meet at the Josephine Butler Parks Center at 6:30 PM where you’ll be invited to light a candle for a short walk around Meridian Hill/ Malcolm X Park. Afterwards warm-up will have hot cocoa and holiday cookies. Come as you are.