If there’s one thing that other College Towns could stand to learn from College Park, it might very well be its lengthy trail network – both within and just outside the city limits. What PG county lacks in natural amenities (beleaguered Anacostia River and unappealing topography) is partially made up for by its extensive trail/greenway network. College Park sits dead center on the Anacostia Tributary Trail System, which not only gives pedestrians safe access within the city, but to local favorites like Lake Artemesia and Greenbelt park. Bike riders can even make it to Silver Spring and DC with little on-road time and lots of winding, lightly traveled pathways.
If you’ve happened upon the local trail system, you may not realize that it is actually a small segment of what some call the ‘Urban Appalachian Trail‘ – a nearly 25% complete trail facilitated by the East Coast Greenway Alliance which will eventually provide an offroad route from Florida to Maine. This tremendous effort may only be rivaled by the American Discovery Trail – a complete (paved/unpaved) offroad 6,800+ mile trail from Delaware to California. Guess what? It intersects the East Coast Greenway near the College Park Airport.
Okay, so maybe you aren’t going to hop on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon and be in College Park by 9am via the Great Plains. But local trails in College Park are going to be a big part of the daily grind soon if they aren’t already. Two major trails parallel Route 1. The first is the Trolley Trail to the east (pictured to the right) and runs along what was once a streetcar line into DC. The second – the Paint Branch Trail – runs to the west of Route 1 from UMD’s north gate to the Beltway. Nearly every major development on the west side of Route 1 is required by the Sector Plan to have some sort of access to the trail (i.e. University View bridge, Mazza Grandmarc, Northgate Condos).
Local officials weren’t messing around when they had these trails built nor are they now. Several spoke of extending the Paint Branch Trail north under the beltway and the Trolley Trail south to Hyattsville during January’s Transportation Hearing.
>> Download local trail maps
-Also of interest – The proposed Anacostia Riverwalk from Bladensburg Waterfront Park to the new Nationals Stadium