9) Mason Neck Wildlife
Located about 20 miles from Washington D.C., the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck Wildlife Sanctuary offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing and bird watching. The sanctuary was first established in 1969 as a refuge for the bald eagle. At that time, the low number of breeding pairs rendered the eagle near extinction; and, it was later placed on the register of endangered species in 2007. Since then, populations of the bald eagles have grown and the future of the species is more secure. Other park attractions include one of the largest fresh water marshes in the region, with deer, beaver, ducks, raptors and the Great Blue heron flourishing in the surrounding areas. There are 1,883 acres of hardwood forest, with over 36 species of trees, like maple, oak, hickory and beech. The forest provides an ideal nesting and hunting environment for the bald eagles and the hundreds of other bird species inhabiting the sanctuary.
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