Bike Path to the Potomac from Lakelands : LUSENET : Kentlands : One Thread

There has been a proposal, approved by the Montgomery County Parks and Recreation folks, to build a path along the Muddy Branch Greenway down to the Canal from Gaithersburg. If built, the path would go right through Lakelands and Kentlands (more or less along our existing paths by the lakes) and continue about 5 miles down to the Historic C&O Canal Tow Path.

This bake/running/walking path would be an incredible value-add for our community, and for other people in Gaithersburg who could pick it up back on the other side of town and ride to the River as well.

I understand that people living down by the canal are not very excited about the idea and have slowed the process quite a bit. I think the City should take an active role in pushing this proposal and the development of the path.

Currently, it is all but impossible to get to the river from Gaithersburg, short of driving a car. (You can run or ride, but the road is treacherous.) Not completely by happen stance I'm sure, the inaccessibility of the river to everyone other than the minority few who live near it have made the Potomac River the private haunt of a minority few.

Building a hiking/bike path through the Muddy Branch greenway, would create a short (less than 5 mile) run/walk/ride to the river for anyone with the desire to do it. As a result, families and people without cars living in downtown Gaithersburg would have the ability to enjoy the river and the historic canal tow path.

I know with everything that the city has to prioritize this may seem trivial. However, I am amazed at how many people (adults and children) living in Gaithersburg have never had the opportunity to ride a bike or run on the C&O Canal Tow Path. It's a shame, and it's simply unfair.

I love my quiet mornings alone on the river, but I would give them up gladly if it meant more kids from the other side of town could enjoy the river too.

We should all get behind this proposal (which has already been approved) and push for fast implementation. It would benefit us as kentlands/Lakelands residents, and it would benefit our neighbors on the other side of town.

I try desparately to stay out of local politics, but this is an issue we should flex our neighborhood's political muscle on.

Sincerely, Joe Paiva Gaithersburg Resident

-- Joe Paiva (jpaiva@bConvergent.NET), February 25, 2002


Joe, Thanks for bringing up this issue! I had never heard about this trail until yesterday, by chance (it must have been the warm temperatures got me thinking about spring weather), I was looking into local bike path info on the web.

One of my favorite internet resources on this subject,, highlighted this path as needing some public support. It supposedly has been in a Master Plan for decades, but there was recent discussion to scale it back from a paved bike path to a non-paved hiking trail. The author of this website was calling for action by January, 2002. I assume this means the issue was to be brought up at some County Council meeting last month...

When you said that it "has already been approved", does that imply that you know the results of any discussion about building this bike path at recent County Council meetings?

I truly hope this gets completed as a bike path. A hiking trail is good, but a bike path would be GREAT!

-- David Fishback (, February 27, 2002.

I never knew about the proposed path either until I read an article in the Gaithersburg Gazette about it last month. Apparently the Montgomery County (I thought it said Parks Dept, but it could have been Council) approved the path at a meeting last month. However, the path was downgraded from paved to "packed dirt" or something like that.

The article, adn teh quotes from County officials, were alittle obscure on two points: When and What a "Packed Dirt" path actually means.

The C&O Canal Tow Path is not paved, but it is a great bike path. Something like that would be awesome. On the other hand, a path like the mountain bike trails around Clopper Lake would be great for mountain bike folks, but would really make it much less accessible for the larger public riding hybrid and "cross" bikes.

From a public access perspective, I think a pure walking trail is a cop out on the part of the County cowing to the whims of a vocal minority in Potomac. The average person in Gaithersburg is not going to walk 5 miles each way to the river.

The when part was worse. The Gazette quoted the County folks (correctly or incorrectly) as offering some very conflicting information on funding. Some quotes put the actual construction out several years.

Maybe, if enough of us get behind this, we can off set the Potomac crowd and get the path built.


-- Joe Paiva (jpaiva@bConvergent.NET), February 27, 2002.

I have contacted local and county officials on this, but we need mroe support from kentlands residents.

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THIS IS NOT A HUGE ISSUE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. If you can not recognize that this is a serious moral/political issue in so far as a few rich people in Potmoac are dictationg that nobody else in Montgomery County has the right to have direct access to the Potomac River....If you can not recoginize that this is an issue of bigotry and exclusion being paraded in a facade of environmentalism, than you should at leats see the direct impact this could have on the quality of life in our neghborhood and/or the value of our homes.

THIS WILL HAVE A SERIOUS IMPACT ON THE VALUE OF HOMES IN THE KENTLANDS AND THE LAKEANDS. A 4-5 mile bile path originating in our neighborhood and connecting with the C&O Canal Path will be a huge boon/benefit to our community, and it will definitely have a huge positive impact on home values.

Below is a copy of the email I sent ot Blair Ewing and Phil Andrews. I urge each of you to join me in letting them know where we stand as a community on this issue.


Dear Mr. Andrews,

You came by my house and walked through the Kentlands yesterday. I am sorry that I missed you, because if I can not change your mind on this issue, my plan is to walk through the neighborhood to every door you went and tell my friends NOT to vote for you. I say this only to make sure you realize how badly you have misjudged the political landscape and made a major mistake by introducing Bill 22-2.

I am a moderate democrat, a successful and well respected local businessman, and an engineer with extensive education and experience in the field of environmental engineering. I plan to speak at the upcoming hearing on this Bill, and I promise you I will do everything in my power to defeat you on this and make it an election issue if necessary.

I may be well-off now, but I wasn't always, and I know when a bigotry and exclusion issue is being wrapped up and paraded as something it clearly is not. Bill 22-2 is not about environmental protection and you know it. This is about a small minority of county residents who believe they have the right to co-opt access to the C&O Canal and other public lands within the county for their own use. This is about rich people in Potomac who don't want middle class folks from Gaithersburg riding bikes in their neighborhood.

If you are sincere in your convictions, I make this challenge to you: Provide me a list of the so-called environmental concerns being raised and let me address them on a point-by-point basis with real scientific analysis and facts.

You should think about all the running clubs, bike clubs and walking groups. You should also think about the homeowners associations and residents of the Kentlands (where I live), Lakelands (where a number of my staff live), the Woods at Muddy Branch, and the other 4-5 large PUDs in this area who would be positively impacted by this path and harmed by its non-completion. There is nothing that will make a homeowner more mad faster than a direct hit against their home resale values or the failure of the government to deliver on a promise that impacts their (and their children's) daily activities.

I try to stay out of local politics, but the stench of this is more than I can take. This is an issue of exclusion and special (a.k.a. rich) minority privilege, and I am one of a large group of folks in this neighborhood who are not going to stand by and watch bigoted politics hide behind an environmental facade.


We need to get John Schlicting and Gherri Edens to support us on this and make a stand for our neghborhood and the rest of Gaithersburg.


-- Joe Paiva (, July 03, 2002.

Joe, I would like to support you on this issue. I thought the only debate was over the surface, asphalt or gravel. It would be GREAT FOR GAITHERSBURG. Can you inform us were we can read Bill 22-2 or is it posted somewhere on the net. Thanks for bringing and keeping this issue to the forefront. Bill Edens

-- Bill Edens (, July 04, 2002.

I just checked the website I talked about earlier in this thread-- it has a link to the proposed legislation. Or see it at also offers some discussion and justification for opposing Bill 22-02. It's a near-term issue: July 16. So I hope the word can be spread quickly.

I believe bike path access should be seen as a BENEFIT to the environment and to quality of life in Montgomery County, not a drawback that gets blindly eliminated through legislation.

-- David Fishback (, July 08, 2002.

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