Protection of Mount Vernon View Celebrated (MD)

Bryans Road, MD, 4/28/2008: Nonprofit and government partners joined together today to announce the protection of 73 acres across the Potomac River from George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. With the strong support of the U.S. Congress, federal funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund was allocated to the National Park Service (NPS) for the protection by The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

Sixty-three acres of the property were recently added to Piscataway Park after years of work to conserve the land. The remaining ten protected acres-including a late 18th century farmhouse-were sold to a conservation-minded family who donated a conservation easement on the land, ensuring that the view from Mount Vernon would be protected in perpetuity. The land will be managed as part of Piscataway Park, a national park consisting of more than 4,000 acres along the Potomac River.

The view across the Potomac from Mount Vernon was first targeted for protection as a pilot project to protect parklands from suburban sprawl. Piscataway Park was conceived in 1952 to preserve the river view as it existed during George Washington’s day. Since that time, numerous organizations have joined in partnership with the NPS to ensure the protection of the historic viewshed. Federal funding provided to Piscataway Park has allowed the NPS, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, TPL and other partners, to protect 232 acres of critical shoreline since 1995. Other area properties have been protected but several remain vulnerable to development or other view-spoiling uses.

“Today Marylanders can celebrate and enjoy the addition of 73 acres to Piscataway Park,” said Senator Cardin. “Across the Potomac River, visitors to Mount Vernon also will benefit because this critical viewshed will be protected forever and will remain just as it was during George Washington’s time. I am proud to be here today to help celebrate this dual victory for our environment and our national heritage.”

“Today’s ceremony marks an important achievement for our state, region, and nation,” said Congressman Hoyer. “By protecting these 73 acres, not only have we further preserved the Mount Vernon viewshed, we have maintained for future generations this culturally significant and environmentally sensitive land along the Potomac River by expanding Piscataway National Park. I want to commend The Trust for Public Land, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the National Park Service, and the Cullen Family, among others, for their important contributions to this historic effort.

At the event, Joe Lawler, regional director of the National Park Service’s National Capital Region lauded the landowners for their role in this protection effort.”It takes a special kind of person to live in such a beautiful place and be willing to share it with the rest of us, and that’s just what Tim and Liz Cullen have done,” said Joe Lawler, Regional Director of the NPS’s National Capital Region.

Two nonprofit partners, The Trust for Public Land and Mount Vernon spearheaded the land deal.”George Washington helped found this great country and led it during its infancy. To protect the view from his estate is to protect a piece of our collective American heritage,” said Rose Harvey, senior vice president of The Trust for Public Land.

“George Washington enjoyed his view across the Potomac for some 40 years, and he often pulled furniture out of his parlor to the piazza, where the view was most stunning. It’s easy to understand why Washington was always so eager to return to Mount Vernon,” said Jim Rees, Executive Director of Mount Vernon.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2.4 million acres nationwide, including more than 8,000 acres in Maryland.

Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America. Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital. Piscataway Park, a 4,625-acre unit of the National Park Service, protects the historic and scenic landscape along the Potomac as seen from Mount Vernon, ensuring that its one-million-plus annual visitors, as well as local residents, can enjoy virtually the same view as did our first president.