In 1890, the land we know today as the Lake Artemesia Natural Area, did not have a large lake, but included several small natural ponds that were used to raise goldfish. Artemesia N. Dref inherited the land from her father, and in 1972, she donated six acres to The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC).
Lake Artemesia was created in the late 1980s, when Washington rail developers removed thousands of cubic yards of soil and gravel to construct the base for the Metro Green Line, which now runs along the park's western boundary. In exchange for use of the gravel and soil, Washington Metro Area Transport Authority (WMATA) planners worked with M-NCPPC to create a master plan for Lake Artemesia Park which consists of a 33-acre lake, a 1.4-mile circuit hike around the perimeter of the lake, restroom facilities, fishing piers and natural landscaped habitats.
The project benefited not only M-NCPPC and WMATA, but also offers long-term benefits to the surrounding community and environment. People come to Lake Artemesia Natural Area to enjoy the outdoors, exercise, fish, bird-watch and observe the wildlife. The park helps reduce gasoline emissions by connecting several hiking, biking and equestrian trails and communities, allowing many people to safely commute to work on bike, or take a walk to
visit a friend instead of using their automobiles.
In addition, the lake itself is a wetland, an important natural filter. Wetlands are a natural nursery for diverse wildlife because they provide plenty of food and shelter. Lake Artemesia has become home to a variety of waterfowl, amphibians, songbirds, fish, insects and mammals.