SILVER SPRING, MD—Early next month, the Montgomery County Department of Parks will complete the Matthew Henson Hiker-Biker Trail—a project more than 8 years in the making.
“We are in the final stages of the project,” said Department of Parks Project Manager Marian Elsasser.
The Department of Parks received funding for the 4.2 mile, 8-foot-wide hard surface Matthew Henson Trail in 2003 and began construction November 2006. To address concern among trail opponents over environmental impacts on the surrounding parkland, forested area and trees, the new Matthew Henson Trail features 0.6 miles of wooden boardwalk.
The Department of Parks also planted close to 1,000 trees and shrubs along the Matthew Henson Trail—which begins at the intersection with the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail at Winding Creek Local Park on Dewey Road, runs northeast through Matthew Henson State Park near Hewitt Avenue and Bel Pre Elementary School and continues east across Layhill Road to Alderton Road.
The Department of Parks will officially mark the opening of the Matthew Henson Trail with a celebration on Saturday, May 9, 2009 from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. The celebration will take place at the park field behind the Global Mission Church located at 13421 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. The grand opening event—FREE and open to the public—will include park naturalist-led children’s activities, a Matthew Henson-themed scavenger hunt with prizes, trail hikes, giveaways, refreshments and a special dedication of the new trail pavilion in honor of Idamae Garrott—the late Montgomery County legislator whose support helped make the state owned Mathew Henson park a possibility.
“This trail is an important connector to the Rock Creek Trail,” added Elsasser.
It also commemorates Matthew Henson, an African-American explorer and Marylander. Henson was born in Charles County, Maryland and was an associate of Commander Robert E. Peary during various expeditions, the most famous being a 1909 expedition which claimed to be the first to reach the Geographic North Pole. April 6, 2009 marked the 100th anniversary of Henson and Peary’s arrival at the North Pole.
For more on the Matthew Henson Trail and others in the Montgomery County parks system, visit www.MontgomeryTrails.org.
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Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks