6 mile Trail open now
The new six-mile, natural surface, multi-use trail will run along Pepco’s transmission right-of-way and will connect the Muddy Branch Stream Valley to South Germantown Recreational Park. The trail is being created and maintained through a collaboration between Montgomery Parks, Pepco and the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE). Pepco is the landowner of the trail and served as a design and permitting partner; Montgomery Parks will complete construction and patrol the trail, and MORE will maintain it.
The trail, and a 13 mile paved trail in the same corridor to be built later, is a pilot project between PEPCO and the county, and the only one required in the PEPCO/Exelon merger agreement but the county is hoping to build others. The county promises that "This is the first of several projects slated for Pepco land." So, we'll see. Because utility corridor trails like this one - or better yet paved ones - represent the next big opportunity in city-to-city bike routes.
This trail looks like a nice recreation facility and might even be a way for some to bike around, but I think the paved trail - should that happen, has the better potential for utility - especially since it will connect to Tuckerman Lane, Montgomery Mall and the Soccer Plex.
Despite the unobtrusive nature of it - especially when compared to the power lines - it managed to draw a protester.
Also attending the event was Danija Kreslins who lives along the trail. She was holding a sign that said the trail passed too close to her home — within 30 feet of her house and within 4 feet of the property line.
People on the trail could easily see into her windows, she said.
Ben Armstrong, Pepco’s senior manager of regional communications, said the company would work with Montgomery Parks to move the trail.
Planning Board Chairman Casey Anderson said the board had received any complaints about the trail. Abutting property owners often have concerns about new trails. He noted that Maine senator Edmund Muskie, who ran for president in 1968, testified against the Capital Crescent Trail.
“We’ll work through any concerns people have,” Anderson said.
Still, mostly people are happy about it.
Officials broke ground on the trail in January and residents have been traversing the path for months. But attendees of the Friday ribbon cutting took a “ceremonial first ride” to mark the official completion following a brief ceremony. Many people rode bikes, while others walked and admired what Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett called a “major success.”
The thing is, the 13 mile trail below only scratches the surface. From the Soccer Plex, the line extends west all the way to Dickerson, MD along the Potomac and a not far from the C&O Canal Trail. And there's another corridor that connects to the midpoint of this trail, it goes east all the way to Burtonsville.
Full 13 mile trail