Suitland Parkway Northside Trail
Since 2018, the Ward 8 Woods Conservancy has worked to reclaim the parkland along Suitland Parkway, removing over 60 tons of trash and beating back the advance of invasive plants.
In February 2021, we officially proposed the first new hiking trail in Ward 8 in a generation, tentatively named the Suitland Parkway Northside Trail.
The trail would parallel the existing, paved Suitland Parkway bike trail for approximately two miles, creating a potential 3.4-mile loop for users. The route starts at Pomeroy Road in the west and runs to Southern Avenue in the east, with street crossings at Stanton Road, Irving Street, and Alabama Avenue. It would also connect to the existing George Washington Carver Trail near the Anacostia Community Museum. Click here for an interactive map of the proposed route.
The time for this trail has come, for many reasons:
- equity In 500 acres of public woodlands, Ward 8 contains just 1.4 miles of hiking trail. Ward 7 contains more than 6 miles of trail, and there are 36 miles of trail in Rock Creek Park alone.
-access: The roughly 50 acres of woods on the northside of Suitland Parkway feature dramatic landscapes and diverse habitats. More than 5,000 people live within four blocks of this public park land, which the trail would make accessible for walking, running, and nature study.
- demand Portions of the proposed route already show evidence of being walked on. A properly designed and officially designated trail will be safer and will concentrate impact while protecting the surrounding land. Of the 200 responses to our trail survey (113 from Ward 8 residents), 86% favor new hiking trails in local woods. Proposed trailheads north of Suitland Parkway were among the most popular, including from the Anacostia Museum.
-human and environmental health During the pandemic, hiking trails in the DC area have been inundated with users seeking exercise and the psychological benefit of time in nature. The parking problems and stress on the land that led to can only be relieved by adding much needed unpaved trails in DC. The trail we propose will employ state-of-the-art, sustainable design and construction methods to ensure minimal environmental impact, with no paving or tree-cutting. The trial will also enable easier access to forest areas that require long term work to suppress invasive plants and encourage native ones.
Ward 8 Woods is in discussions with the DC Department of Urban Forestry, which owns the land, and are preparing a proposal to the DC Department of Transportation's Recreational Trails Program that would fund design and construction.
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