Fort Stanton Park

Fort Stanton Park is nestled amid the Ward 8 neighborhoods of Anacostia, Skyland, Fort Stanton and Woodland. The park was created in 1926 to preserve the hilltops where the Union army constructed Fort Stanton and Battery Rickets to defend the Nation’s Capital during the Civil War. Fort Stanton was named after then-Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and Battery Rickets for Captain James B. Ricketts, an artillery officer. These forts had a combined garrison of more than 500 men, but they never saw battle. They attracted African Americans escaping slavery in Maryland and seeking protection and employment with the Union army. The forts were abandoned at war’s end in 1865 and returned to nature. The remains of earthworks and ditches can still be seen in the woods.

Fort Stanton Park is home to a recreation center, an urban farm, a reservoir for DC Water, and one of only two designated hiking trails in Ward 8. It’s more than 150 acres of woods include deeply cut stream valleys, stands of towering tulip trees, and several small rock outcroppings.

The  southernmost mile of the  Fort Circle Hiker-Biker Trail runs through Ft. Stanton Park, from the Anacostia Community Museum past Good Hope Road to Naylor Road. North of Naylor Road, the trail enters Ward 7, where is continues for another six miles to 42nd and Grant Streets NE.

​Sadly, years of littering and dumping have polluted the landscape. Invasive plant such as kudzu, bittersweet, Asian wisteria, and Japanese knotweed have destroyed whole areas of forest and threaten others.

Since 2018, Ward 8 Woods has been fighting to save this special place before it is too late. To date, we have removed more than 50 tons of trash and cut vines from over 500 trees. 

We are partnering with Casey Trees to reforest an areas of Ft. Stanton Park that has lost its tree canopy.  

We envision additional trails to make the wood accessible from the surrounding residential areas, and environmental education programs in partnership with schools neighboring the park.  

Join our monthly Ft. Stanton Park Volunteer Days

Every 1st Saturday of the month, 10:30 am to 1 pm

Click here to meet: at Ft. Stanton Recreation Center, 1812 Erie Street SE, WDC 20020

Gloves, bags, and water are provided. Volunteers should dress for the weather with clothes they won’t mind getting dirty and shoes with strong traction. Boots are preferred. 

Documentation of community service hours provided upon request

For more information contact Nathan at

© 2023 Ward 8 Woods Conservancy. All Rights Reserved.