Since opening, the Indian Head Rail Trail has spent quite a lot of the time partially closed, but as of this month the work that closed it has been completed and the trail is fully open again.
Just when Charles County got the trail established in 2014 on an old railroad line that ran to Indian Head’s Navy Powder Factory from 1918 until the 1960s, portions of the trail were shut down earlier this year while water lines were inserted for the Mattawoman Treatment Plant.
As part of the work, the trail is being improved as well. There are interpretive signs and amenities being placed along the trail.
“One thing we found out was how much people appreciate the trail when it was closed,” said Charles County Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson. “Citizens were very anxious to have it reopened. We understand how much of an asset it is.”
The trail was almost entirely paid for with the revenue from recycling the old rails (which always makes me think of the movie "Rocket Boys.")
Donations from private sources and a grant from the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Consortium helped pay for signage and amenities.
The paved Indian Head Rail Trail traverses roughly halfway across Charles County, connecting Indian Head to White Plains.
There are lots of plans for future trails in Charles County as well.
“We have very extensive plans to establish over 100 miles of trails throughout Charles County,” Robinson noted. “It’s something that’s not going to happen overnight.”
Robinson added that long-range plans call for construction of a hiking trail along the right of way for the “ill-fated and ill-conceived” Cross County Connector from Middletown Road to Indian Head Highway.
“If all goes well, we hope to connect that to the Indian Head Rail Trail,” he said. “Connectivity is going to be critical as we move forward.”
The cross-county connector may have been a controversial road proposal, but Charles County Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) has proposed keeping the hiking and biking trails associated with the now-defunct project.
This evening, county staff presented to the Charles County Planning Commission a proposal for a cross-county trail that will link with an ambitious and extensive network of trails planned throughout the county,” he wrote in the post.
The XCCT would run parallel to and north of the Indian Head Rail Trail.