The following letter was forwarded to The Equiery by a trail-riding reader.
My name is Jeff Murphy, and I am an officer assigned to the mounted unit of the Maryland Park Police. My partner and I ran into the riders today from the College Park trail ride [members of TROT riding along the Paint Branch trails]. There is some information I would like to pass on to them if you could.
We had originally told them that horses were not permitted on the Hiker/Biker trails in Prince George’s County. We have been told this for many years, from many sources. When I returned to our stables I was discussing this stop with my sergeant. He has been on the mounted unit for 20+ years. He told me that horses were allowed back then.
However, once the paths were paved, everyone assumed that horses were now not allowed, as is [true] on most paved paths – which I believe is what’s in Montgomery County. We have not seen horses on these trails for years. My corporal, who has been on the unit for 11 years, has never seen them, either. He thought horses were not allowed on paved pathways, as well.
Nonetheless, my sergeant and I went through and looked up all the trails in Prince George’s County in our park inventory book. It turns out that all of them are still approved for horses at this time. So until I am told otherwise, horses are still allowed on all trail systems, as well as Patuxent River Park and Cosca Regional Park in Prince George’s County. If you are ever questioned again, just be polite and advise them that Officer Murphy from the mounted unit researched it, and it is still allowed in the books. However, if you do take a trip on the Northwest Branch trail, please use caution and ride in a group, as that area is a high crime area.
Please pass my apologies to the group, and we hope to see you on the trail again. If you have any question regarding the other trails in the PG Park System, just contact me.
Officer J. Murphy #301