submitted by Barbara Sollner-Webb

New Multi-Use Trail & New Parking Lot

The Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission (WSSC) has opened a new year-round trail for horseback riding, hiking and birdwatching – but NOT for biking.  This new trail is located on the Montgomery County side of WSSC’s Tridelphia Reservoir, on their Access Road (a.k.a. “Firebreak” or “perimeter road”), and extends from Tridelphia Lake Road (near Georgia Avenue/Rt 97) to Green Bridge Road (near Brighton Dam Road).

WSSC has also constructed a new parking lot on Triadelphia Lake Road (access from Georgia Avenue/Rt 97, just north of New Hampshire Ave/Rt 650), suitable for six to eight horse trailers.  From there to the Green Bridge Road end of the trail and back makes about a 9 mile trail ride.  Once the reservoir reopens for public access on March 15, the upper parking lot at Green Bridge Road (access from New Hampshire Ave/Rt 650, just west of Brighton Dam Road) will be open to horse trailers as well, providing access to the riding trail from both ends.

Please note that this is a pilot program, and WSSC will reassess it next fall.  We have to be sure to NOT abuse the riding privilege — to NOT ride there when the ground is wet, to NOT bushwhack off the approved trail (including NOT riding WSSC’s land to Georgia Avenue/Rt 97, which could encourage bikers to enter from the Patuxent River State Park trials and would likely get the WSSC trial closed).  Also, please be sure to remove any manure from the parking lot and paved entrance road.

For riding on this new trail, WSSC will enforce its standard watershed use regulations, including:

  • everyone 16 years or older must possess a valid WSSC Watershed Use Permit (get seasonal and daily passes at, the WSSC building on Sweitzer Lane in Laurel, or the Brighton Dam Visitor’s Cabin, free for those 65 and over; 2014 permits are valid thru March 14, and 2015 season permits will be available February 1);
  • those under 16 years must be accompanied by someone 18 years or older with a valid Use Permit;
  • no animal waste can be left on parking lots or paved roads;
  • all horseback riders must wear a helmet;
  • trial closed sunset to sunrise and till 1 pm on days of managed hunts (December 3, 17, 29, 30; January 5, 9).

Click here for more detail; for maps, click here.

Franceschi New Patuxent Watershed Unit Coordinator

WSSC and the trail riders also welcome Eddie Franceschi as the new Patuxent Watershed Unit Coordinator. Montgomery County stable owners got to now edit in his role as the Equine Resource Conservationist for Montgomery County Soil Conservation District. Eddie is a USDA/NRCS certified Conservation Planner and Maryland Department of Agriculture Certified Nutrient Management Consultant.

We equestrians welcome Eddie Franceschi and thank Billy Dove for the great job he has done in that position for the last couple of years, while also doing his full time job in WSSC’s water production.  The other great WSSC folks who have been keeping up the trail (as well as their many other duties), including Jeff Bell, Jasper Sirk, Brent Thomas, Troy Sheckles and Mike Huff, will remain in the group.

[Editor’s Note: Jasper Sirk, or “Lee” as we know him at The Equiery, not only is an Equiery advertiser (JLS Services for manure removal, etc.), but he also keeps The Equiery offices looking neat and trim during the growing seasons and keeps our parking lot and sidewalks snow free during the winter!  We love Lee!]