Presentation on theme: "WSSC’s Rocky Gorge Reservoir (northeastern Montgomery & northern Prince George’s counties) Maryland This is the first of three slideshows addressing WSSC’s."— Presentation transcript:
WSSC’s Rocky Gorge Reservoir (northeastern Montgomery & northern Prince George’s counties) Maryland This is the first of three slideshows addressing WSSC’s arbitrarily closing their long-term, environmentally sound equestrian trail and moving riding to their steep and badly eroding access road, where riding had been forbidden for over 30 years, precisely because it is too steep to be suitable.
This slideshow, "WSSC's Equestrian trail" is a virtual tour showing typical views of the trail along the Rocky Gorge Reservoir that WSSC has kindly let riders use for well over 30 years. Throughout virtually its entire length, it runs a substantial distance from the water and is contoured environmentally to gradually descend hills and thus minimize erosion. Thus, despite its over 30 years of limited use, it is extremely minimally eroded. Yet WSSC has now decided to ban riding on the equestrian trail.
( IMG_0067) Here are typical views of WSSC's lovely Terry Ledley equestrian trail (now unfortunately closed for riding), taken at fairly random locations. Note that this trail is contoured to gradually (diagonally) descend hillsides -- thus minimizing erosion --- and is generally quite far from the water. Despite 30 years of continual, low-intensity, equestrian use, there is no (or virtually no) indication of erosion along almost the entire length of the trail. trail orange blaze
As shown in these un-selected photographs, typical for almost all its length, the trail is not identifiable by any major depression in the ground, but rather only by the fallen leaves being less dense and by orange trail blazes on occasional trees. In contrast, the firebreak/access road is very steep and highly eroded, some long ruts being over 2 feet deep. Also, note that the fishermen's trails do run right along the water, and may have been mistaken by WSSC for the equestrian trail. (5/22/11 #5233) trail orange blaze
orange blaze [note the equestrian trail is contoured to gradually (diagonally) descend a hillside; it never runs vertically (like much of the firebreak does)] (#5242) (#5243)
trail (#5252) trail (#5253) [more examples of the equestrian trail being contoured to gradually descend a hillside]
[While a few short places on the (generally well-contoured) Equestrian Trial have experienced some erosion, none are nearly as bad as in vast stretches of the Fire Access Road (which runs straight up and down hills, and thus channels the water run-off), and those places are largely from the sporadic trespassing by bikers, whose wheels create bad ruts.] A recent example of such biker ruts on the equestrian trail: trail
these next photos are of rides from past years, also showing the good condition of the trails: (02/10/08 IMG_112) orange blaze (02/10/08 IMG_117)
The equestrians have greatly appreciated being permitted to use the WSSC's magnificent equestrian trail for over three decades. Our very positive relationship with WSSC included the watershed patrols calling us their "eyes and ears", for our monitoring and reporting vandalism, fires, etc. Also, the equestrians' eloquent testimony was credited with helping avert WSSC privatization. But probably the equestrians greatest service to WSSC was discovering massive sediment entering the reservoir, tracing it to overflowing and undersized SHA sediment ponds, and working through WSSC's Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) and other routes to force its correction – for which MDE inspector Mark Eckert certified the equestrians' efforts saved over 10,000 tons (about 10,000 cubic yards) more sediment form entering the reservoir – that is the volume of an entire football field piled over 6 feet deep. [This is documented is WSSC's EAC minutes of ] This is the end of this first slide show on the WSSC trail issue, focusing on the equestrian trail. Now please look at the second slide show, on the firebreak/access road, to which WSSC has moved riding.