Olmsted Island, Great Falls Park

photo of the week for Saturday, 2008, June 14
Photographer: Daniel Ashton

Olmsted Island is a favorite vantage point for viewing the Great Falls of the Potomac.

On the Web: http://www.nps.gov/grfa
NPS Unit -


Great Falls Park is a unit of the National Park System seperate from C&O Canal. www.nps.gov/grfa

Thanks for the pointer, Rangertoo. That means my search for shots of some of the more obscure units has gone even farther than I imagined when I loaded this shot!

Actually, Kurt, you had it right the first time. Olmsted Island *is* part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, it is located on the Maryland side of the main portion of the Potomac River. The following map from the National Park Service makes that clear:

And, at the risk of being a nit-picker, Great Falls Park is actually *not* a Unit of the National Park System by itself. Rather it is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway - and in fact rescues the GWMP from being the only National Park Unit devoted to the morning and evening commute! ;-) That's a fairly obscure fact, however - I've even found some NPS Rangers at Great Falls Park itself unaware of this fact. The following link delineates that official 391 "Units of the National Park System."

Perhaps the difficulty in mobilizing support for the National Park System is no surprise, given the difficulty of understanding just what is in the National Park System!

P.S. What is the story behind this "photo"? Its definitely an odd one...

I stand corrected. Sabattis is correct. Great Falls Park was a separate park when it was part of the Northern Virginia Parks, but became a part of GW Parkway when it was transferred to the NPS in the 1960s.