Oxon Run Parkway is a 126-acre federal parkland adjoining the Ward 8 neighborhoods of Congress Heights, Shipley Terrace, and Washington Highlands as well as the Maryland state line. It covers broad streambed and flood plain of Oxon Run, the only stream in Ward 8 to follow into the Potomac River rather than the Anacostia. Like adjacent Oxon Hill, Maryland, the stream got its named because the area reminded early English colonists of Oxford, England. Winding channels, extensive sandbars, islands and deep pools make this little river endlessly interesting.
Near Southern Avenue (and the Metro station of the same name) is a pristine upland forest of beech trees and mountain laurel. A stream running downhill doesn’t quite makes it to Oxon Run, draining instead into a rare ecosystem known as a magnolia bog, where the forest floor covered in delicate ferns.
Once part of the Camp Simms military reservation, these woods also conceal the ghostly remains of a World War II-era shooting range. On the parkway’s borders are United Medical Center and THEARC, a focal point for youth programs in Ward 8.
West of 13th Street is Oxon Run Park, a larger landscaped area that includes, fields, picnic areas, sport facilities and a recently rebuilt bike trail. This park, distinct from Oxon Run Parkway, is maintained by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation.
Although the geography of Oxon Run Parkway has protected it from illegal dumping on the scale found in the other ward 8 woods, littering along Mississippi Avenue and Southern Avenues is a persistent problem. The swift current of the stream carries litter from its source in Landover, Maryland and points in between. Much of these trash ends up caught in the natural damns that form around fallen trees.
We envision Oxon Run Parkway as a place for hiking, running, contemplation, and environmental education, complete with well-marked trails and organized activities.