I believe that nature lovers go quite wrong when they insist that nature be preserved throughout Reston. “Keep every tree, don’t touch the wetlands (usually known as swamps),” they intone.
In communities where density of development is comparable to Reston’s, New York’s Central Park can serve as a model. To quote from S.C. Miller’s book on that park: “Twenty years under construction, Central Park required thousands of men to dig out its ponds and build up its hills. Landscapes are culture before they are nature; constructs of the imagination projected onto wood and water and rock——the Park is as much a man made creation as the buildings that face it. The 843-acre park seems natural—in reality, however, it is naturalistic——an engineered environment that is closer in essence to scenes that are created in Hollywood than it is to mother nature.”
Lest it be argued that Reston is no New York City, it can be pointed out that for several of England’s great estates, the same principles of replacing nature with a naturalistic environment were embodied in the work of the great Capability Brown, landscape architect of the 18th century. For Reston, I believe the Nature Center should be preserved as nature, whereas all other open spaces in Reston should be cultivated as naturalistic.
Bob Simon, Reston