May 21, 2024

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Old Hemlock Trees Inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network

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Hemlock Overlook Regional Park is the first Old Growth Forest in Fairfax County and the 11th in Virginia.

CLIFTON, Va. — Hemlock Overlook Regional Park in Fairfax County is being inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network. This is kind of like the Hall of Fame for really old trees. 

The Old-Growth Forest Network helps preserve and protect rare forests. It is estimated that some of these trees are 250 years old and they can live up to 500 years old. Hemlock Overlook is Virginia’s 11th old-growth forest and the first in Fairfax County.  

WUSA9 spoke with Paul Gilbert, the Executive Director of NOVA Parks, about this forest. He said, “an old growth forest is not only a rare thing but a remarkable thing. It’s not just the age of the trees but it’s the whole forest as one living unit that has more biodiversity in the soil. You look around and it looks very unlike what are you used to seeing.”  

The Hemlock tree is known for growing on the side of exceedingly steep hills. Growing in this manner actually helped them survive for so long. In the 19th century, when logging and milling were common, the Hemlock was too difficult to cut down because of the angle of the hills that they grew on.  

On Tuesday, April 18, NOVA Parks will commemorate the induction by unveiling a new sign. This will be a permanent marker for the important forest. It will stand on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail about halfway through the trail.  

If you would like to go and see the historic trees the park is open year-round from dawn to dusk.

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2023-04-19 09:57:03

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