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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park

Northwest Branch Trail - 2017

Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park totals more than 1320 acres traveling along Northwest Branch Stream.

History: Montgomery’s Natural Areas Inspired Silent Spring

Renown environmentalist and biologist Rachel Carson (1907-1964) spent most of her adult life in Montgomery County. Already a New York Times best-selling author for Under the Sea-Wind (1941; reprinted 1951) and The Sea Around Us (1951),Carson lived near the southern end of this stream valley while she wrote her most famous book—Silent Spring (1962).

Rachel Carson standing on a rock with binoculars around her neck and woods in the background.

         The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Carson’s readable account of the devastating impacts of the pesticide DDT is widely credited with changing the way Americans think about the natural world. Her warnings helped launch the modern environmental movement, leading to the banning of DDT, and the start of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Her message about the need for everyone to be good stewards of the environment is just as compelling today as it was when she wrote the book.

Learn more about Rachel Carson and her time in the area on “Rachel Carson Lived Here,” from Friends of Sligo Creek.