Potomac River Subcommittee
The Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group (BTAG) was founded in January 1998 at the direction of the County Executive’s Office.  BTAG is chaired and organized by members of the Planning Department.  BTAG meets quarterly, with more frequent subcommittee meetings on specific topics scheduled as needed.   Topics of recent subcommittee meetings have included Countywide trails priorities (which were set last year), trail maintenance issues, and possible routes for the Congressionally designated Potomac River Heritage Trail.  Regular participants in BTAG meetings include the County Executive’s Office, various sections of the Planning Department, the Parks Department, the Department of Environmental Resources, the State Highway Administration, Public Works, the National Park Service (NPS), various municipalities and civic organizations, bicycle and trail groups, equestrian groups, and other private organizations. 

The Potomac River was first designated as a national heritage trail corridor in the 1960's.  It has been shown on County master plans and trails plans since at least 1975.  It has been shown as a multi-use trail approximately following the shoreline of the Potomac River in the 1975 Countywide Trails Plan, the 1981 Subregion VII Master Plan, and most recently the 1985 Equestrian Addendum. 

At the recommendation of BTAG, the Potomac River Trail was included as the number two trail/bikeway priority on the approved Joint Signature Letter.  This letter contains all County transportation priorities and is signed by the County Executive, County Council, and the Transportation Oversight Committee.  Inclusion in the letter makes projects potentially eligible for Federal funding such as Transportation Enhancement (TEA-21) funding.

The Potomac River Subcommittee, working with members of the Broad Creek Historic District, have determined several potential trail routes through the District. Additional alternatives were also suggested at the February 8st meeting of the Broad Creek Historic District Advisory Committee.  Specific locations and trail surfaces have not been determined.  Discussions are in the preliminary phase.  Much additional work and research needs to be done.   Trail surfaces should be explored which will be environmentally sensitive, compliment the historic nature of the area, and accommodate as many trail users as feasible.

At the February 16th meeting, Lisa Hoerger of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission discussed  how the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area might affect the implementation of the trail. Janice Artemel of the Potomac Heritage Partnership (PHP) talked about possible funding for the development of a concept and implementation plan for coordination and interpretation of the Potomac River Heritage Trail alignment through Prince George’s County. The subcommittee discussed distribution of Potomac River Trail information at the Henson Creek Trail family day (Saturday, March 25th). M-NCPPC, NPS, and PHP all have suitable material they can provide for distribution. After the meeting, Fred Shaffer and Stacy Miller of M-NCPPC and Randy Schoch and Jim Hudnall of the Oxon Hill Bicycle and Trail Club went for a bicycle ride over a portion of the potential Potomac River Heritage Trail Bike Route.  With beautiful weather, this was an excellent opportunity to see firsthand the bicycle suitability of these roads and how they tie into some of the many attractions along the River.

The next meeting of the Potomac River Trail Subcommittee is scheduled for Wednesday, March 15th at 8:30 AM at a location to be announced.  Discussion will include trail alignment possibilities along the southern south of Piscataway Bay.  For additional information, please call Fred Shaffer of the Planning Department at (301)952-3661.  



Oxon Hill Bicycle and Trail Club
February 17, 2000