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It would make no sense to plow half the trail. How would you pass a walker? What the NPS needs to do is run a Bobcat down the trail. Bobcats aren't heavy enough to damage the wooden bridges.

Bobcats are heavier than you think. The wheeled ones start at about 6,000 lbs, the tracked ones are heavier. See: http://www.bobcat.com/publicadmin/viewArticle.html?id=3910 (I rented one once and had a devil of a time getting it into my backyard.)

A pickup with a plow is lighter. A lawn tractor with a snow blower would probably be the most appropriate.

The NPS seems to drive pickups down their trails all the time so the weight is not a problem.

NPS is clearly doing a lousy job of serving the public. I went out with a shovel to investigate my usual commute yesterday (Saturday 2/20). The non-NPS Wilson Bridge trail was clear, but the NPS-neglected Oxon Hill Farms Trail was buried under up to a foot of snow. By way of expressing my annoyance, I shoveled part of it myself, something that really should not be necessary, given that these paths serve areas where the only roads are freeways.

My report, with photos, is at http://jonathankrall.net/crazy_2010.html

Thank you Darren! Great documentation!

Look at what this situation does: The runner had to make a choice between running on the GW Parkway to avoid the easy but face the traffic or avoid traffic but climb over iced-up snow. Not a pleasant choice.

I continue to be embarrassed for the NPS for their lame behavior.

Darren, thanks for posting those pics! It makes me realize it'll be another week or so at least before I can resume using my normal MVT commute route. On a positive note, that's about what the paths up closer to the Memorial Bridge looked like about a week ago (better in some spots), and they are for all intents and purposes 100% clear today. So assuming that NPS does nothing to the trail and the warm temps of the next few days, we could be looking at a largely passable trail come the end of this week or the beginning of next. Fingers crossed for NPS intervention and/or more melting!

Thank you thank you for the update! I've been trying to assess the situation while flying by on the Yellow Line, to no avail.

The rain is melting quite a bit of the snow today. Yes, even though it feels pretty cold, the temperature is still in the upper 30s. According to the Weather Channel forecast, temperatures will remain above freezing overnight. If it continues to rain, more and more of the snow will melt. Even a lot of the grassy areas are almost completely clear of snow now.

With highs in the upper 40s on Tue. and Wed., we should see an amazing transformation of many of the trails. There may be "a few snow showers" on Thur. night but the overnight low is supposed to be 32. Then 4 more days of temps in the upper 40s and overnight lows above freezing. I'm not a weather expert but that sure sounds like a good recipe for clear trails.

The rain is melting quite a bit of the snow today. Yes, even though it feels pretty cold, the temperature is still in the upper 30s. According to the Weather Channel forecast, temperatures will remain above freezing overnight. If it continues to rain, more and more of the snow will melt. Even a lot of the grassy areas are almost completely clear of snow now.

With highs in the upper 40s on Tue. and Wed., we should see an amazing transformation of many of the trails. There may be "a few snow showers" on Thur. night but the overnight low is supposed to be 32. Then 4 more days of temps in the upper 40s and overnight lows above freezing. I'm not a weather expert but that sure sounds like a good recipe for clear trails.

From the Metro the trail around National Airport looked remarkably clear this afternoon. On Saturday and even yesterday it looked all white and I could not see any asphalt. Now it looked almost as if someone had actually cleaned it up... Maybe there is biking on the MVT in February after all!

UPDATE -- most of the trail is clear as of this morning. The overpass over the airport exit road is still covered in very wet snow, it's barely passable on the bike. The spur from Crystal City under the Parkway up to the trail is also still very messy. And there are random patches of snow here and there where the asphalt channel is very thin or nonexistent.

But there's far more asphalt than snow now, and if you give it an extra 5 minutes, or have fat MTB tires and chutzpah, it is very bikeable. I only went from Crystal City to the 14th St Bridge, but will check out down to Old Town on Thursday afternoon.

No Plows or Shovels (NPS) did not treat the trails in any way that I saw, Mother Nature is our snowplow.

Darren--that's great news! I have to take the metro tomorrow anyway because I have class after work, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get at least 1 bike day in this week.

Darren, thanks for the photos and for reporting on the status of MVT!

Thanks for the update Darren!

Is the tree still across the path on 14th Street Bridge?

From the Metro yesterday afternoon, it looked amazingly clear but I could also tell that the NPS (I like your explanation of the acronym) did not do anything to get it in that condition. I think I'll try to bike home that way this afternoon.

I rode in with BlindPilot (thanks again for getting me back on the bike!) this morning. Somewhat circuitous route but a safe way to go if you can dodge the sometimes major potholes.

One good thing about this experience is that we can all much more appreciate what great trails we have in the area (in my case the Mount Vernon) IF they are available.

The tree has reportedly been cleared, and I place odds at 100 to 1 that is was DDOT and not NPS who cleared it.

I was actually a bit disappointed to see the tree removed, I had carried along a few Xmas ornaments and tinsel to adorn the tree.

Would have been great practice for those training for adventure bike races. But since I don't do any of those races, I'm glad the tree is gone. Glad the snow is disappearing too.

Another storm on the way, but a lot of uncertainty about the path it will take. There should be significant snow east of the area, in NE Maryland and NJ. D.C. might get a few flurries but there's a chance that we could get hit hard. Be prepared for snow on Wed. night and Thur. Strong wind gusts too, and possible downed trees.

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