By the end of the month Cabin Johners should have a new natural surface trail to enjoy on walks between Seven Locks at Cypress Grove and the park by the one-lane bridge.
A five-person crew has been working the better part of two months to build a new roughly 1.5 mile section of the Montgomery Parks Cabin John Stream Valley Trail, according to Bob Turnbull, Montgomery Parks Natural Surface Trails Construction Manager. Turnbull estimates the cost to be about $60,000, including an $18,000 bridge that is the final piece of the trail to be built.
With its completion, the whole 8.8 mile Cabin John trail, which runs from Cabin John Regional Park at Goya Rd. to MacArthur Blvd., will be a multi-use trail for bikers as well as hikers. There will be updated maps posted at the kiosk at the MacArthur Blvd. trailhead as well as at the Cypress Grove entrance to the trail. In addition to the bridge installation, the crew is still working on some safety tweaks.
“We’ve ridden the trail, and in a couple of places, it is too fast downhill. So we are going back to slow it down and improve the sight lines for shared use,” said Turnbill. They will also be curtailing access to some of the old trail that has become too dangerous due to erosion. However, they are maintaining several access points to the creek where the new trail intersects with the old one. Turnbull says they have gotten better at building natural surface trails in difficult terrain, and he believes this section will now be more sustainable.
Turnbull is asking the community to help maintain the trail by:
- Reporting safety issues, such as downed trees and other serious trail concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 301-495-2595.
- Curtailing your use of the trail after heavy rains. He suggests calling the RainoutLine phone at 240-270-0008, and selecting ext. 6 for the Cabin John Creek Trail to hear an automated message about trail closures due to weather.
- Becoming a Trail Ranger volunteer for this section of the trail. Trail Rangers inspect and perform light trail maintenance work on assigned trail(s) once every three months and after major storm events. (You must be 18 years old to be a ranger.)
BIGGER TRAIL PROJECT POSSIBLY COMING SOON
Turnbull is hopeful that Montgomery Parks will be back in this area late next year working on a bigger project to recreate a trail that would let hikers and bikers go back into the woods from Seven Locks and River to a new crossing directly opposite where the Cabin John trail runs from River Rd. to Bradley Blvd.
Currently, trail users have to leave the park at Seven Locks Rd. shortly before the River Rd. intersection. They then have to cross the intersection and stay on River Rd. until after the Quarry Springs condominium development, where they pick the trail back up again.
If Parks is able to secure this $200,000 donation, said Turnbull, it will be able to build a natural surface trail through the 57 acres of park land from River Rd. up near Carderock Springs Rd., where a safe road crossing with flashing beacon lights will be built to connect with the rest of the Cabin John trail.
BY SUSAN SHIPP