The Equiery has run editorials critical of WSSC (the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which 6,000 acres around the Patuxent watershed), so – in the spirit of the holiday season, we thought it appropriate to run kudos to WSSC! Below, longtime Equiery reader Debby Poole expresses her appreciation to the employees of the WSSC.
I wanted to thank the WSSC watershed manager, Eddie Franceschi for another fantastic year of riding the beautiful equestrian trails on the WSSC. I moved to Burtonsville, Maryland onto Belle Cote Drive when I was 15 years old. I got my first horse when I turned 16 and by 1969 I was riding on the nearby watershed trails. On my very first ride I went to the end of Kruhm Road on what was then more of a logging road; it took me straight down to the point (which my boarders call “ Debby’s Point” since they have heard this story a “few” times), one of the most glorious water views in Maryland!! I am now 62 years old and I have grandchildren learning to ride, so now the next generation has started.
I treasure all the memories of years working with various WSSC employees, some of whom boarded horses with me, some of whom used my horses for watershed patrols. I love the times of trimming and clearing the trails alongside and with you. I have wonderful memories of riding with the people you have recognized by naming a trail and bridge underpass in their honor: Terry Ledley and Pat Oliva. I am so proud of you for validating their worth to the equestrian community.
I love the new signs that tell you where you are. When my daughters were on the watershed years ago, they got turned around and couldn’t decide which way would take them back to Kruhm Road. The new street signs are a great idea.
The signs listing hunting days are a terrific idea. I sent my boarders a picture of the sign that can be kept on their phones to check when they go riding to make sure it isn’t a hunting day. I love it, and I think managed hunts are a good way to keep everyone safe while knocking back the overburdened deer population.
I love the on-line permit purchase. I print out my permit and keep it in my saddle and also downloaded it onto my phone.
The teams that arrive in response to our calls to move a downed tree are incredible. If you haven’t been back to see the work they do it is amazing.
The trailhead numbers and colored tree blazes are very helpful for locating people.
The WSSC Police are very accommodating. When those of us from various local farms have called to report trail bikes blasting up the firebreak or other illegal activities, the police have been most helpful. Although it is almost impossible for them to catch the motorcycles, they put in a great effort.
Most of all, thank you for some of the most beautiful trail rides of my life. I have truly not ridden anywhere as lovely as these trails. I love the trails in every season, from springtime with the mountain laurel, ferns and tiny little wildflowers, to the fall berries and the beautiful colored trees, to now, with the leaves down and crunching under the horses feet, and full panoramic clear views of every direction of the watershed. How cool is that!
You all work together to make our lives a better place, from our drinking water to our amazing watershed. I will say it again: thank you!