It looks like the Matthew Henson trail has jumped its final hurdle. Construction was to begin Nov 6th of 2005, but area residents filed suit in December 2006 arguing that "a trail through the Matthew Henson State Park and Greenway would damage the park and make neighborhoods unsafe."
Judge William J. Rowan III in a March 13 opinion ruled that state and county agencies conducted sufficient studies, underwent proper permitting processes and planned for an environmentally sensitive trail that was in the public interest. Workers began clearing land last week for the trail.
Strathmore-Bel Pre Civic Association residents and environmentalists argued that the trail would harm rich wooded areas and streams
That is, at least, somewhat fair. There will surely be some environmental impact. Which is why an EIA is done and the response is that...
county agencies and the proponents say the trail would encourage environmentally friendly recreation and travel, establish east⁄west connectivity for the Rachel Carson and Sligo Creek Park trails, and enhance nearby neighborhoods.
I was sad to see the Sierra Club oppose this, parks that are used are protected by the users. They clean them and look out for them. And the most used parks are linear parks with trails (I was told recently). Residents are also worried that the trail will
depreciate values of nearby homes
That's simply not founded. Studies have shown that trails increase value as pointed out in the article.
In fact, real estate ads often boast of features like the Capital Crescent Trail, a popular cycling route, as selling points because such trails offer recreation, a scenic view and opportunities for alternative commuting
Finally, they cracked out the old "bring crime" chestnut.
But Layhill Village resident Ken Giordon said the trail would bring strangers, crime and spur home depreciation. His house sits about 100 feet from the trail’s path. Also, he said the trail’s proximity to Bel Pre Elementary School poses a danger to students.
Oh, won't someone think about the Children! So many crimes utilize bikes and bike trails. You know what provides even better access than a trail - roads. We ought to shut down all roads near schools, y'know, for the children.
Hopefully this is the last bump in the road for a trail almost ten years in the making
It is part of the Countywide Parks Trail Plan, a master plan that the Planning Board approved in 1998 after assessing environmental impacts and five different approaches to the proposal, including not creating the trail, said Lyn Coleman, Department of Parks trail supervisor. Park and Planning and the Montgomery County Council approved the $3.9 million, three-phase project in April 2003, with plans to complete the 4.4-mile trail within two years.