The Ridge Trail Extension
National Trails Day is our biggest volunteer trail workday of the year. Each year we partner with longtime park supporter REI for important trail projects and outreach events. We are fortunate to have so many great supporters at PVSP – and each year REI leads the way.
While Ridge Trail has always been a marquee trail at PVSP, the south part of the trail was historically the brutal climb up “Waterbars” – a dilapidated fire road noted for its steep grade and water bars that were added on various occasions to check erosion down the steep slope. Not only was the water bars entrance quite steep, but it also spilled out onto the park road, forcing trail users to use a shared road with vehicle traffic to enter the trail system.
The dream was to add an entrance to the Ridge Trail at the 104/105 pavilions, this would eliminate the road section, increasing visitor safety and adding a sweet section of single track to the top of the hill. In addition, a historical marker had just been added to a high overlook commemorating the Capt. John Smith’s exploration of the Patapsco Valley as part of a project led by Chesapeake Conservancy– and how cool would it be to build a trail out to the site?!
As with any major project – there were challenges! We worked closely with Howard County Recreation & Parks to gain permission to cross a section of their property. Before work could begin we needed to demolish a ruined house at the top of the hill, and for that to occur that we needed to refurbish a long-abandoned road to gain access to the site. Thanks to Bravo Equipment and a generous donation from the CycleMill we were able to complete this part of the project and begin the ambitious Ridge Trail Extension trail build. This was made possible by a community grant from our partners at REI
REI has a heritage of giving to support access to the outdoors in the communities where we operate. In central Maryland we have been pleased to partner with FPVSP to create new trails that are safer and more sustainable for all of the users groups that love this park.-Joe Hohn, Manager, REI Columbia