My office has received messages from many of you regarding the present state of the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (TCB) from Phoenix Road to the Monkton area. The following letter from Ranger Dean Hughes outlines the repairs and maintenance completed not only for that area but for other sections of the trail.
I am grateful for the on-going work to help keep our trails safe and enjoyable to travel while traffic has increased dramatically over the past year.
Letter from Ranger Hughes, 3/29/21:
Thank you for your message and for sharing with us the feedback you receive from constituents regarding the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail (TCB). Over the past year, the Coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented visitation throughout Maryland State Parks, with the TCB Trail being no exception. With many recreational activities shutting down and people looking for safe and socially distant ways to recreate, the TCB saw a record-setting 120% increase in visitation in 2020, with 1.3 million visitors compared to 595,000 in 2019. The trend of higher than normal visitation continued throughout the winter months, and with the recent arrival of spring, the trail has recently experienced another sudden increase in popularity and traffic which has undoubtedly resulted in additional impacts to the trail surface.
On average, our park rangers and maintenance teams patrol the full 19.8 miles of the trail three or more times per week in order to rapidly and proactively clear downed trees and address other nuisance issues which detract from our trail users’ experiences. Early last week, our team noticed the drainage issue approximately one-mile north of the Phoenix Road parking lot and made arrangements to promptly clear the fully-blocked culvert which was resulting in a backup of standing water on the shoulder and surface of the trail. I’m pleased to share with you that at the exact time that you reached out
with this information, our team was on site and was successful in clearing the impediment that was preventing the water from draining. Despite the heavy rains that we experienced over the past week, the culvert is now functioning as designed and the trail surface is no longer muddy and chronically wet.
Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know that our team has recently been inspecting dozens of culverts that run under the trail and have been working to strategically triage and clear several which were leading to undesirable wet spots. In addition, in order to ensure safe and uninterrupted passage on the trail, our team found and cleared 15 downed and / or dangerous trees overhanging the trail just last week. They are currently out on the trail today clearing downed timber that fell after yesterday’s line of severe storms.
In the long-term, we are working with our partners in DNR Engineering and Construction to identify and plan for major critical maintenance and capital resurfacing projects, however a timeline for those is not immediately known. In the interim, we will continue to do everything within our control to proactively identify and address the routine and minor maintenance issues as they arise which detract from visitors’ experiences.
Thank you for reaching out to us to pass on the information your office received. We look forward to continuing to work with you and the Councilman to continue to provide a safe and enjoyable trail resource for all Marylanders. If you have any additional questions or concerns about the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail, please do not hesitate to give me a call anytime at (410) 592-2897.
Ranger Dean Hughes