New program provided opportunities for teenagers to help build and maintain natural surface trails across Montgomery County.
Montgomery Parks is aiming to increase diversity in the mountain biking community with a recently launched Trail Ambassador Program. A group of nine teenagers graduated from the program on July 5, 2022, after spending two weeks helping build and maintain natural surface trails in parks around Montgomery County. In exchange for their hard work, participants received a mountain bike, helmet, bike lock, and certificate. The mountain bikes, a big incentive for participants, were made possible through funding from the Montgomery Parks Foundation.
The program was initially conceived by Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice. “As Chair of the Council’s Education and Culture Committee, I am always seeking opportunities to provide unique learning experiences for our youth,” said Councilmember Rice. “These nine graduates should be proud of exploring the unfamiliar and learning new skills while providing a service to our community. My hope is that more youth will have opportunities to benefit from similar programs that expand their horizons and instill confidence in their ability to achieve.”
“This program provides opportunities for young people to enjoy our parks trails, get outdoor exercise, and learn new skills,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks. “We are grateful for the county council’s support for our trail system and in helping us make this program possible for the next generation of park lovers.”
Teenagers in the program learned the importance of trail maintenance practices including cutting branches, lopping back roots, removing debris, and raking the back slope, and were also provided multiple opportunities to use the trails for mountain biking.
“Besides all the new friends I made, my favorite thing about the program was being able to experience and learn about all the outdoor activities available through Montgomery Parks,” said Helen Mesfin, Trail Ambassador graduate. “I have been able to share this knowledge with my family and also encourage them to explore the parks and bike trails we are so lucky to have in the area.”
Trail Ambassadors took what they learned from the program out to the trails at Wheaton, Cabin John, and Black Hill Regional Park, just a few of the mountain biking trails available in Montgomery Parks. Other mountain biking trails in Montgomery County include:
- Fairland Recreational Park Trails
- South Germantown Mountain Bike and BMX Pump Track
- North Branch Trail and Kengla Trail
- Little Bennett Regional Park