CFA 16/JUL/20-2


3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC
United States

U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. National Arboretum
Master Plan
Review Type


Dear Dr. Olsen:

In its public meeting of 16 July conducted by videoconference, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed a concept submission for an update to the master plan for the U.S. National Arboretum, located at 3501 New York Avenue, NE. The Commission approved the proposal with the following comments.

The Commission members commended the proposed update, which they agreed results in a master plan that is both visionary and pragmatic in its proposed changes to the arboretum, an important but underused resource in the national capital. They commented that the master plan update clearly illustrates changes that will integrate the arboretum’s scientific research programs with public garden exhibits, creating places where visitors can learn while enjoying an immersive landscape experience. For further development of the plan, they recommended considering the arboretum as a constituent part of the larger mosaic of the Anacostia River watershed, and in relation to other studies of the river’s ecology. Noting the ongoing impact of climate change, they suggested that the arboretum can serve as a refuge for native plants, such as by planting them on north-facing slopes to maintain their viability in the context of rising temperatures. They expressed strong support for the new public entrance proposed to be located on Bladensburg Road, and they requested additional information on its design as part of the next submission.

The Commission looks forward to further review of this prominent project. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the development of the master plan.


/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA

Dr. Richard T. Olsen, Director
U.S. National Arboretum
3501 New York Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

cc: Doug Reed, Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture