The Arlington Boathouse Foundation is the community focal point for creating an Arlington Community Boathouse to access the Potomac River. Rowing, canoeing, and kayaking are not just for the young or super athlete. These are lifetime sports that provide healthy, non-polluting recreation suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities. The greatest open, recreation space in the Metropolitan area is the surface of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. Public health and child development experts advocate increasingly for restoring our connection with the outdoors and natural world. Although Arlington has eight miles of Potomac River shoreline, it has no access to the water for rowing and canoeing/kayaking.
Even before Captain John Smith’s visit in 1608, Native Americans paddled the river from what is now Arlington’s Potomac River shoreline. As the area grew post-European settlement, the River was an avenue for commerce and a growing outlet for recreation. In the late 1800’s, the Analostan Boat Club was located on what is now Theodore Roosevelt Island, and, over the years, scores of Arlington residents using the Potomac as their training base have become Olympic rowing and canoeing athletes, World Championship medalists, US National team members and high school national champions.
Yet, since the 1930s Arlington residents had to access the river from the District or Alexandria. The George Washington Memorial Parkway severed Arlington’s access to its own shoreline. As a consequence, although the County pioneered American public high school rowing more than 60 years ago at Washington-Lee High School, no Arlington school or community program has been able to reach the water from the Virginia shoreline.
Now is the time, and Rosslyn is the place, for Arlington to regain access to the Potomac River.
The site proposed is on Virginia’s Potomac River shoreline just south of Key Bridge in the Rosslyn section of Arlington County. It is adjacent to the existing paved parking lot for the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and may be located under a portion of the existing bike and pedestrian overpass that crosses the George Washington Memorial Parkway from Rosslyn.