This year the holidays feel a little different, but we here at PRKN are still using this season as an opportunity to reflect on what is important, and take a moment to think about “what the rivers mean to us” which is our Giving Tuesday theme this year. The rivers are a place of sanctuary, discovery, and memories for many members of our community, and even with the cooler weather being ushered in, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and safely enjoy some quality time with the ones you love. Since 2015, REI Co-op has been closing its doors on the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, and urging its customers to #OptOutside instead, and we at Potomac Riverkeeper Network are urging you to do the same.
As Shenandoah Riverkeeper and expert angler Mark Frondorf could tell you, trout fishing is a great activity that can be done well into the winter, with many renowned stretches along our rivers, including the Potomac’s North Branch where you can score a trout “grand slam” – a brook trout, a rainbow trout, and a cutthroat trout! There are plenty of fishing guides in the area that can introduce you to the world of trout fishing, and even take you on float trips.
There are also great hiking opportunities along the river, including in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, where you can walk, run, or bike on over 22 miles of trails, many with fabulous views of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Check out the Murphy’s – Chamber Farm trail for stunning views of the Shenandoah, and those looking for a more challenging hike can check out Loudoun Heights trail, which offers stunning views of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.
If you are looking somewhere simple to enjoy time with your loved ones, you could always pack up a picnic of Thanksgiving leftovers and check out a local park like Oronoco Bay Park in Alexandria to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and beautiful scenery along the Potomac River. There are plenty of activities within the watershed where you can #OptOutside and create lifelong, meaningful memories along our rivers. We at PRKN hope you will take a moment this holiday season to reflect on what the river means to you and your loved ones and be thankful for the beautiful watershed in which we live.