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Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment

Division: Park Planning and Stewardship
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Logo for the 2016 Countywide Park Trails Plan using icons for all types of trail users.

A comprehensive amendment to the Countywide Park Trails Plan that uses updated methodologies, tools and strategies to plan and implement major park trail systems throughout the County

Update | Background | Public Input  | Calendar & Meeting Notes  | Contact Us

Update

On September 29, 2016, the Planning Board approved and adopted the Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment  – Worksession #3 Edition (4.2MB PDF). A final edition will be available soon.

What’s Next?

Trail planning staff will return to Planning Board for feedback and public input for evaluating unsanctioned (unofficial) trails in the Upper Paint Branch and Cabin John watersheds with the possibility of converting them into sanctioned, sustainable multi-use natural surface park trails that may also provide important connections to nearby parks and facilities.

Background

New Methods, Tools and a “Loops and Links” Trail System Framework

A new plan framework has been introduced to the public which is based on a new “Loops and Links” system along with updated methods and tools for park trail planning and analysis. Learn more about the proposed plan amendments.

The proposed plan aims to be more achievable and sustainable, ensure all trails are built as sustainably as possible, serve as many trail users as is feasible and possible, and achieve maximum Levels of Service based on trail user needs and desires, and population density calculations.

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks’ major trail systems include 108 miles of hard surface and 155 natural surface trails. The Countywide Park Trails Plan (CWPTP) has guided park trail planning since 1998. The plan established a county-level vision for natural and hard surface park trails.

  •  Learn more about our trails in this YouTube video – May 2013

Innovative at the time, earlier versions of the Plan did not have the benefit of new methods and tools available today. This has led Montgomery Parks to revisit the Plan to address various needs, concerns and reflect other recent changes in long range park planning (Vision 2030 and PROS 2012). – Right: 2008 Countywide Park Trails Plan – click on image for larger view.

The Need for an Amendment

Innovations in GIS mapping and Resource Analysis have helped Staff more efficiently and accurately analyze impacts of proposed/planned trails. These tools allow Staff to minimize environmental and natural and cultural resource impacts and anticipate other implementation difficulties. In addition, the  Vision 2030 Strategic Plan also provides data and recommendations for better Level of Service analysis countywide. This plan will use these tools to conduct more detailed analysis at the countywide master planning level.
This plan amendment strives to:

  • Incorporate recommendations from the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan
  • Apply current theories and best practices for long-range park (and trail) planning
  • Identify and recommend solutions to implementation issues
  • Adjust trail alignments to rely less on easements across private land
  • Align CWPTP recommendations with Area, Sector and Functional Master Plans, and identify and propose possible remedies for inconsistencies
  • Ensure plan recommendations are consistent with policies of other land management agencies (WSSC, PEPCO, DNR), as well as adjoining counties and municipalities
  • Reorganize and clarify the plan language to be more logical and useful
  • Clarify the decision making processes for which trails are suitable for which user groups
  • Clarify the role of park trails as recreational facilities versus transportation facilities

Previous Amendments

In February 1991, a staff study, A Planning Guide to Trails for Montgomery County Parks(PDF, 3MB) was completed. The first Countywide Park Trails Plan was approved and adopted in July 1998, and amended in March 2004 and September 2008.

Various Community Area, Sector and Functional Master Plans along with the following Park and Trail Corridor Plans have since amended the Countywide Park Trails Plan.

Public Input

You told us what you think

Your help makes our trail system the best it can be.

Ideas from the public have been welcome throughout the planning process including a number of opportunities for early input.

Outreach strategy

Public outreach for the CWPTP Amendment began during the Vision 2030 Strategic Plan process in 2010.  Park planning staff met with representatives from trail user groups to help shape the goals and objectives for the strategic plan. Outreach efforts continued in coordination with the 2012 Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan as well.

Staff relied on this web page to keep citizens updated throughout the planning process. Interested citizens and civic groups were encouraged to contact the project manager to become part of our e-mail lists.

Public outreach for this project included this project web page, public meetings, press releases and email campaigns to Homeowner and Civic Associations in the Clarksburg Planning Area. We will also used an online comment tool, our E-newsletter, social media channels using the hashtag: #trailplanning on Facebook and Twitter, and the Parks Department Media Center.

An informal Trails Working Group (PDF, 81KB) helped identify issues and shape the plan objectives and will continue to advise the plan throughout the planning process. This working group is comprised of representatives from park trail stakeholder groups including: Conservation Montgomery, Montgomery Bike Advocates, Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE), Hiking Along, Inc., Park trail volunteers, Trail Conservancy, Montgomery County Road Runners Club and Trail Riders of Today (TROT).

Staff continues to coordinate closely with the Planning Department and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and has consistently sought input from the Montgomery County Bicycle Action Group (MCBAG), environmental groups such as Conservation Montgomery, and the Countywide Recreation Advisory Board.

Calendar and Meeting Notes

The calendar will be updated as community meetings and events are planned for this project. Digital copies of the Meeting Notes, Presentations and Planning Board Memos will be attached to each calendar event after it is completed.

DATE | TIME PLANNING STAGE | TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION LOCATION | DESCRIPTION
2011  

October 6

Objectives, Outreach Strategy & Schedule
M-NCPPC Planning Board presentation. Staff Memo – from the Planning Board archives for this date – item # 7
M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

FALL / WINTER

Monthly “Trails Working Group” meetings TBD – Ongoing

FALL / WINTER

Meetings with McBAG, Conservation Montgomery and Countywide RAB TBD – Ongoing
2012  

January 24

Upcounty Public Meeting in coordination with the 2012 Park Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan update M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

January 25

Downcounty Public Meeting in coordination with the 2012 Park Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Plan update UpCounty Service Center
12900 Middlebrook Rd. Germantown

December 6

Status Report
M-NCPPC Planning Board Presentation. Staff Memo – from the Planning Board archives for this date – item # 5
M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
2013  

June 24

Upcounty Public Meeting to seek feedback on new “Loops and Links” plan framework. – PowerPoint presentation (PDF, 8MB), Survey Results(PDF, 800KB) M-NCPPC Shady Grove Training Room
16641 Crabbs Branch Way,
Gaithersburg, MD 20855

June 25

Downcounty Public Meeting to seek feedback on new “Loops and Links” plan framework. – PowerPoint presentation (PDF, 8MB), Survey Results(PDF, 800KB), Video Record (external link) M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
2014 Staff Draft Plan Development
2015  

January 5

Upcounty Recreation Advisory Board Meeting Presentation. PowerPoint presentation (PDF, 3MB) 4010 Randolph Road, Silver Spring, MD 20902

January 15

Montgomery County Bicycle Action Group (McBAG) Presentation. PowerPoint presentation (PDF, 3MB) Executive Office Building
101 Monroe Street,9th Floor Conference Room
Rockville, MD 20850

September 16

Public Meeting– Staff presentation of the draft plan. PowerPoint presentation (PDF, 2.3MB) M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks Shady Grove Maintenance Yard Training Room (enter under the green awning)
16641 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville, MD 20855
2016  

January 21

Planning Board Meeting – Staff Draft Review
– The public is welcome to attend, however public testimony will not be taken.  Staff Draft PowerPoint Presentation (PDF, 4.5MB)
M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Public Review Period

Public review of the document to give testimony to the Planning Board at the public hearing. Public Hearing Draft – Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment (4.2MB PDF), Trail Implementation Priorities Matrix Chart (PDF, 3.1KB)

March 3

PLANNING BOARD PUBLIC HEARING
– The Planning Board heard the final public testimony regarding this plan amendment.
M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Public comment ended at 6pm on March 17, 2016

May 12

PLANNING BOARD WORKSESSION #1
Planning Board review of the plan amendment. Public Hearing Draft – Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment (4.2MB PDF)
M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

July 14

PLANNING BOARD WORKSESSION #2
Continued Planning Board review of the plan amendmentPublic Hearing Draft – Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment (4.2MB PDF), Worksession #2 presentation (900KB, PDF)
M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

September 29

PLANNING BOARD WORKSESSION #3
Planning Board final review. Public Hearing Draft – Countywide Park Trails Plan Amendment  Worksession #3 Edition(4.2MB PDF)
M-NCPPC – Montgomery Regional Office (MRO) Auditorium 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910

September 29, 2016

M-NCPPC Planning Board Plan Approved and Adopted

Media Center

This is where you will find links to press releases, print articles, videos and community links for your convenience.  If you would like to see additional links added to this site, please contact the Project Coordinator.

  • FEBRUARY 8, 2016 – MEDIA RELEASE: Parks Department Encourages Community to Testify Before the Planning Board on Public Hearing Draft of Countywide Park Trail Plan Amendment
  • SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 – BLOG POST: Paperless Airplane. Hike, bike, roll, stroll, run, ride…. got trails?
  • AUGUST 26, 2015 – MEDIA RELEASE: Montgomery Parks Seeks Public Input at September 16 Meeting on Future Updates to the Park Trails
  • JULY-AUGUST 2015 – ONLINE ARTICLE: Bethesda Magazine. Capital Crescent Trail Congestion
  • JANUARY 27, 2015 – ONLINE ARTICLE: Bethesda Magazine. Montgomery County Council Asks for Recreational Trails along Power Lines as Condition of Utility Merger
  • JUNE 10, 2013 – MEDIA RELEASE: Montgomery Parks to Host Public Meetings on Amending the Countywide Park Trails Plan
  • MAY 29, 2013 – YOUTUBE VIDEO. An overview of the countywide Park trails system.
Last Updated: June 25, 2018