Annual Winter Solstice Field Trip and Hooley

Sunday, December 17th, 2017 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Mattawoman Wildlands at Chapman Forest, Maryland

Join our partners at the Virginia Native Plant Society (VNPS) as they celebrate the beginning of the winter season at Mattawoman Wildlands at Chapman Forest (the vast section of Chapman Forest South abutting Mattawoman Wildlands) with its spectacular scenery and remarkable diversity of native plants, wildlife, and natural communities! It has been 8 ½ years since the VNPS last visited this forest, for a jointly sponsored Summer Solstice Field Trip.

Field trip is free and open to non-members. Registration is not required.

The south tributary of Chapman Forest South is a pristine, spring-fed stream that begins as a series of acidic seeps and Magnolia Bogs and flows through steep, forested ravines to Mattawoman Creek. We will walk along the floodplain of this stream from near its convergence with Mattawoman Creek and proceed upstream a ways through gradual elevation changes to upland Oak-Heath Forest at the summit of the gravelly ridge.


Bring: Wear sturdy shoes and bring lunch or snacks and water. Most of the walk traverses rolling, fairly open forest and along some trails, though some steep grades and damp areas will occasionally be encountered.

Directions: Take Indian Head Highway (Rt. 210) south from Capital Beltway (495). Proceed south on Rt. 210 for app. 15 miles.  Continue on Rt. 210 to the Rt. 227 intersection at Bryans Road (McDonald’s, Burger King, and shopping center on right and large CVS and builders supply will be on left) – don’t take Prince George’s County versions of Rt. 227 many miles before this intersection! Turn left at Rt. 227 and proceed south for approximately 3-4 miles. Slow down as the road begins to descend down the big hill to Mattawoman Creek (Lamont’s will be on the left about here) and be prepared to turn right just after the stream crossing at Buteaux Crossing and before the abandoned railroad tracks.  Parking area will be on the right at the railroad tracks.  We’ll meet in this main parking lot.

For overflow parking, there is the also the area very near Mattawoman Creek opposite the parking lot above on the east side of Rt. 227, but it is small, often muddy, and dangerous to turn in and out of. Parking along the road is not an option.

Carpooling is encouraged. For those interested in carpooling to the field trip – or has room to provide a ride – we will send out a list of names, general location, and contact info closer to the time so that folks wishing transportation to the field trip can arrange something. A number of folks in the Alexandria-Arlington-D.C. area will likely be looking for a ride to the site.


 *In the event of heavy-steady snow, sleet, pouring rain, or icy, dangerous conditions of roads, the field trip will be cancelled. 


For more information on the natural communities of Chapman Forest, see Forest Communities and Geology of Washington and Vicinity, pp. 30-38, at the City of Alexandria Flora and Natural Communities webpage.

For more information on Mattawoman Wildlands at Chapman Forest and Mattawoman Creek, visit the Mattawoman Watershed Society webpage.


Field trip co-sponsored by the Maryland Native Plant Society, Mattawoman Watershed Society, Potowmack Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society, and the Botanical Society of Washington.

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Virginia Working Landscapes
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
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