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I may get flack for saying it, but part of me thinks it's a good thing since the trail isn't in such good shape there anyway and maybe it would force them to fix it. I prefer the road there anyway, but I do see lots of families using the trail--especially on weekends. So hopefully they'll fix it. Although I'm not sure how as RC runs really high after thunderstorms--ie I would not hang close to it at all at those times.

If this happened to the road it would be fixed tomorrow.

That trail is downright dangerous. It can't be patched, or widened, or tinkered with. It needs to be redesigned and built from scratch.

When the sewage filled water of Rock Creek, swollen by the run off from Maryland and DC, runs past a place filled with exotic species, we CANT fix the path: it might harm the environment.

Seriously, perhaps a platoon of cyclists on the road will make the point

Get off the road! You're supposed to be on that luxurious bike trail that we drivers built for you!

Last time I used the road by the Zoo - on a weekend - I was the recipient of an aggressive close pass with the horn blaring.

SJE - The DC WASA CSO outfalls all begin at the zoo and continue south. So while that section of RC (and south) has overflow during a heavy rainfall, not all of RC is "sweage filled" http://www.rockcreekconservancy.org/images/stories/rock%20creek%20cso%20map%20from%20dc%20wasa.gif

@Joe in Bloomingdale
I recall many times filling my canteen and drinking from streams in the Rocky mountains.
There is not one stream in DC that is fit to wade in much less drink.

The NPS's new strategy will be to announce the new "water feature" on the trail.

Joe is correct that not all of RC is human "sewage filled" from CSO's, but neither is he probably trying to make the point that it's "drinkable" upstream. No stream anywhere near an urban area anywhere in the US can be considered safe to drink without treatment - and it's unreasonable to think that could ever be possible. Unfortunately, it will take a pedestrian to fall into the stream and get injured at that point to cause this trail to be fixed.

@Joe - The CSO outflows begin at least a little further upstream. Piney Branch is home to them too. Doesn't invalidate your point, of course.

@SJE - Count me in for the platoon! I commute there 2-3 times a week, and the choices of road or path both have serious drawbacks.

For those who haven't seen it, WABA posted a tantalizing hint of progress to their blog a few weeks ago.


@david - there is a slight difference between "sewage filled" and potable stream water. Just a small one. We do live in an urban high density environment

I wouldn't make a practice of filling canteens from streams. There are very few watersheds in the US that are safe from Giardia, even in wilderness areas.

Yes, there's Piney Branch. I think that the farthest-upstream CSO on Rock Creek proper is at Harvard St.

This patch of trail's been eroding for a long time.

I rode on the RCP and MUP a few weeks ago and my wheels are out of true. It is a seriously bad route for bikes, irrespective of collapsing pavements etc.

Thank you for informing us about the erosion issue on the bike path. While a portion of the trail is on Zoo property, the U.S. National Park Service maintains the trail for all of us. We have notified them of your concerns. In the meantime, we have cordoned-off a section of the trail with the goal that cyclists and pedestrians will take extra care this holiday weekend.
-Smithsonian's National Zoo, Office of Communications

Kudos to the Zoo. The trail was open at about 4:30, July 3 when I rode home yesterday with some orange cones and 2 staff in Smithsonian shirts making sure no one fell in the creek.

Hopefully the Zoo and NPS can find a way to keep the trail open until it is repaired. The link through the Zoo gets a lot of use and the only other option is through the tunnel which is not very safe.

Looking forward to biking through the Zoo portion of the trail on my way to the fireworks today with my 10 year old (driving home). I don't want to take her through the tunnel.

Dear Zoo, thanks, but shouldn't you also be checking such things yourself? Y'know, in case it was already actually dangerous and someone got hurt. Next time you are out looking for red pandas, take a short walk on the trails.

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