first published in the November 2021 Equiery

Montgomery County is updating its Master Plan for Wheaton Regional Park. During a public meeting on September 9, the county said that while the Wheaton Park Stables are safe for now, it is keeping open the option to re-purpose the privately-operated Wheaton Park Stables (WPS) to a different use at some point in the future.

WPS is an Industry Professional member of Maryland Horse Council, and we have urged Montgomery County to keep the stables open. WPS differs from most other equestrian programs in Montgomery County because it is within walking distance of a dense suburban population that is dominated by a demographic that does not typically have access to horses, horse farms, riding lessons, or any exposure to agriculture or rural life. It is also one of the most, if not the most, affordable riding programs in lower Montgomery County, or, indeed, anywhere in the Washington metropolitan area.

WPS is the type of recreational program that Maryland needs more of, and that Montgomery County needs to support. Indeed, it is the policy of both Governor Hogan and the General Assembly that Maryland needs to do a better job of making outdoor recreational activities available to a wider cross-section of our population. For example, last August, the Maryland General Assembly created the State Park Investment Commission to study, among other things, “the extent to which State parks and associated recreational opportunities are adequately accessible to all populations of Marylanders, including low-income Marylanders, those who lack access to a car, and Marylanders with disabilities.” See Press Release, House Speaker and Senate President Announce State Park Investment Commission (August 6, 2021). Although this commission is focused on state parks, the issues of equity and accessibility apply to local parks as well.

To read the full MHC letter, click here: Wheaton Park Stables Letter of Support