Moyaone Association and the Alice Ferguson Foundation
By the 1950s a small community of landowners in the woods of Piscataway formed the Moyaone Association, a non-profit corporation, to develop services, such as schools and fire and police protection. The Moyaone Association and the Alice Ferguson Foundation, which worked to educate youth in the area, led the charge in fending off development. The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association (MVLA) began working with these organizations in the mid-1950s when an oil refining company considered building an oil tank farm directly across the river from Mount Vernon.
Frances Payne Bolton
In 1955, Vice Regent of the MVLA and Congresswoman France Payne Bolton bought about 485 acres of land the oil refining company was considering. Two years later, Mrs. Bolton donated the land to the Accokeek Foundation. This Foundation was formed to organize efforts working to preserve the Maryland shoreline and began rapidly acquiring hundreds of acres of lands.
A new threat surfaced in 1960 when the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) announced plans to build a 3-story sewage treatment plant across from Mount Vernon. Quick action was needed and alternate sites were proposed, yet WSSC was insistent on its initial location. Citizens and concerned groups rallied and under Mrs. Bolton’s leadership appealed to Congress. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed legislation leading to the creation of Piscataway Park, which was to be administered by the National Park Service.
The National Park Service and landowners act together to protect the river view from Mount Vernon and the beauty of the Maryland shoreline which so many call home. In addition to the land, the federal government bought scenic easements on private property make up much of Piscataway Park. Less than half of the land in Piscataway Park is owned outright by the federal government, instead, it is owned by private landholders. These easements "run with the land", meaning that once the easement is recorded, it is binding on every subsequent owner of the property in perpetuity. It is every owners’ responsibility to follow the easement recorded for their particular property and contact the National Park Service before taking any actions which might impact it.
The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land has also helped protect hundreds of acres of the Maryland shore. As recent as 2008, they added another 232 acres of land to those under protection in Piscataway Park.
Through federal government land purchases and the establishment of more easements along the riverbank, Piscataway Park now encompasses approximately 5,000 acres, embracing six miles of Maryland shoreline, and 415 properties opposite Washington’s home.