Montgomery Parks posted the following on the NextDoor app:
Copperhead Snakes. With cool temperatures creeping in, encounters with snakes often increase as they take advantage of heat-gathering hard surfaces–like rocks, logs, roads, and trails–to bask and help regulate their body temperatures.
Be cautious because eastern copperheads may be crossing or basking on trails. Copperheads are not aggressive by nature, and the snakes prefer to remain undetected, relying on cryptic camouflage for protection. However, this camouflage can also be the cause for close encounters with people and pets. So, always look where you step.
Key features of copperheads include:
• Hour-glass shaped banding pattern along body
• Elliptical-shaped pupils (like cats)
• Triangular-shaped head
• Young copperheads also exhibit a bright, yellow-tipped tail
To learn more about snakes and how to identify them, visit “Living with Snakes” on our website: https://mocoparks.org/3jfdXZm.
Officer Mark Miles has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, accusing them of discrimination and harassment. The lawsuit names the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Stephanie Harvey (Miles’ former supervisor), as defendants.
Miles was transferred to Harvey’s unit in 2020, where he alleges Harvey called him “colored” and condoned racist remarks that officers made in text messages. According to NBC Washington, the lawsuit states that “Harvey and other officers repeatedly made racist, hateful and offensive comments on that text chain with impunity,” and “these comments included racial and other offensive ‘jokes,’ condoning ‘civil war’ or ‘race war’ and extremist militia groups, and overt threats of violence against African American citizens.”
The New York Times reports that the lawsuit alleges Harvey questioned whether Officer Miles would be “on our side” in a “race war.” Miles is mixed race and identifies as Black. The lawsuit also claims that when the discussing Black Lives Matter protesters, Harvey texted it was “time to start killing” and “Well they got the Army out there sooooo … hopefully they will get to kill some people,” and, “Kill em all.” In a statement, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission said, “when a series of secret text messages among a group of Park Police officers came to the attention of our management, we promptly initiated an investigation and took appropriate action,” and that several officers were suspended and had been referred for termination. The commission also stated that they do not tolerate racism and harassment in the workplace.
Miles’ unit mainly patrolled parks in Montgomery County.
Per Montgomery Parks:
March is National Craft Month. We love being creative all the time! Here are five activities this spring to bring out the artist in everyone!
Crafty Little Naturalist
Children five and older will make and take home a nature creation at Brookside Nature Center’s Crafty Little Naturalist(opens in a new tab). The program meets every Wednesday at 10 am this spring.
Storytimes at Maydale
Big Night for Salamanders(opens in a new tab) is the tale at the Storytime at Maydale on Tuesday, March 22, at 10 am. Participants listen to the story, hike and search for salamanders, then do a craft. Best for kids ages three to five.
Tree Art Hike
Trees are inspirational! During Tree Art Hike(opens in a new tab), you will walk and discover textures and patterns on trees. Then, you will make bark rubbings, collage, and other art. Tree Art Hike on Saturday, March 26, 3 pm, is part of Montgomery Parks’ Nature for All spring programs. Adaptations are made to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
DIY Nature Project Rustic Vine Basket
We don’t like nonnative invasive vines in our parks, but they are perfect material for building a conversation piece for your home. During DIY Nature Project Rustic Vine Basket(opens in a new tab), you will design a one-of-a-kind basket. The program takes place at Brookside Nature Center April 30 and May 21 at 10 am.
Make a Toad Abode
Your kids take on architectural design for amphibians at Locust Grove Nature Center’s Make a Toad Abode (opens in a new tab)May 26 from 3 to 6 pm. Construct a house which provides both shelter for toads and whimsy for your backyard.
Discover your happy place in Montgomery Parks!
Montgomery Parks has recently completed a series of park projects and renovations at park locations across the county. The park renovations, also known as park refreshers, provide efficient and cost-effective improvements which enable the department to make significant updates to more parks in less time.
“Our ongoing commitment to improving parks and public spaces plays a significant role in the quality of life for county residents. It is so rewarding to see how these projects bring parks to life and connect the community,” said Michael Riley, director of Montgomery Parks.
Recently completed park projects and refresher projects include:
Burnt Mills West Special Park: A new sidewalk was constructed along southbound US 29 in Silver Spring, the parking lot renovated, and a bridge was installed connecting the Northwest Branch Trail to Burnt Mills West Special Park parking lot.
Cherrywood Local Park: Located in Olney, the park has new bike racks, picnic table, grill, and benches, the trails were resurfaced, the basketball court and parking lot were renovated and drainage was improved.
Flower Avenue Urban Park: This .4-acre park located in Silver Spring was updated with new furnishings, bike racks and decorative lights. In addition, retaining wall improvements were made and the pavement was cleaned and painted.
Piedmont Woods Local Park: Piedmont Woods Local Park is a developer-built park. The facilities include a double tennis court, a single basketball court, a playground, a dog park, an asphalt parking lot, asphalt trails, and a natural surface trail. There are also two picnic shelters in the park and a shade structure in the dog park.
Sundown Road Local Park: This 20.5-acre park, located in Laytonsville, was updated with a new soccer court – the first, dedicated one in Montgomery Parks’ system, as well as renovated, lighted basketball courts and tennis courts, improvements at a softball field, a resurfaced parking lot, and a new playground.
International competition honors excellence in digital communication.
Montgomery Parks received five AVA Digital Awards for digital marketing campaigns highlighting trails, COVID safety, and activities in parks. The international competition recognizes excellence by creative professionals for the planning, concept, direction, design and production of digital communication. Entries are judged on a creative excellence scale by marketing and communication professionals.
Montgomery Parks awards include:
Platinum Award Winners:
Trails Less Traveled | Category: Digital Marketing Campaign
The “Trails Less Traveled,” campaign encouraged trail users to explore lesser-known trails to reduce crowds at more popular locations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign featured a new county-wide map outlining trailhead locations and parking. The initiative was promoted on MontgomeryParks.org and social platforms and had a reach of more than 785,000 on social media and resulted in a 351% increase (year-over-year) in visits to the trails webpage. The map received 16,900 downloads in ten months.
Discover Your Happy Place | Category: Short Form Web Video < 3 Minutes | Government
Montgomery Parks’ created a series of commercials showcasing parks, trails, and activities. The commercials featured a Montgomery County family, the Barreras, discovering their happy places on the trails, in nature, and riding the miniature train in Montgomery Parks.
Gold Award Winners:
Be Smart. Do Your Part | Category: Digital Marketing | COVID-19 Digital Response
At the start of COVID-19, the marketing team launched a “Be Smart. Do Your Part.” digital campaign. The campaign used dozens of infographics to clearly communicate relevant and ever-changing COVID-19 safety guidelines and closures to the public. Elements were in English and Spanish and used on social media platforms and MontgomeryParks.org
Virtual Winter Bingo | Category: Content Marketing | Games, Contests
In January 2021, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many in-person programs and gatherings were canceled. Montgomery Parks launched a “Virtual Winter Bingo,” for park users to download a bingo card and explore parks, amenities, and facilities that many had never visited. After completing five activities in a row, participants submit photos of the completed activities. The photos were posted on Montgomery Parks’ social media platforms and website, and players were entered in a drawing for a $50 gift card to be used towards future park programs.
MontgomeryParks.org | Category: Website | Government
Montgomery Parks has outdoor interpretive panels throughout their parks, sharing stories about the history of places and people. For Women’s History Month, they have four recommendations of parks to visit to learn about women in the past.
Jesup Blair Local Park
Jesup Blair Local Park(opens in a new tab) features a panel about mothers and children in Silver Spring from 1861 to 1865. You learn about Elizabeth Blair Lee and her son, Blair Lee. The Lee’s plantation in Silver Spring had enslaved laborers. The signs also discusses lives of those unknown enslaved mothers and their children.
Little Bennett Regional Park
During the Civil War, Montgomery County women played vital roles. They volunteered to prepare meals, mend clothes, and nurse wounds. The interpretive panel at Zeigler House(opens in a new tab) in Little Bennett Regional Park(opens in a new tab)highlights historic photographs and first-person accounts.
Burnt Mills West Special Park
Rachel Carson is the founder of the modern environmental movement and lived in Silver Spring. You can discover more about her at the interpretive panel at Burnt Mills West Special Park(opens in a new tab) near the head of the Rachel Carson-Greenway Trail.
Edith Throckmorton Neighborhood Park
Edith Throckmorton Neighborhood Park(opens in a new tab) has a received a temporary panel honoring its namesake. Edith Throckmorton was an award-winning educator who taught for twenty-five years in public schools. She was the first African American to serve on the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations. Throckmorton was president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for sixteen years. The permanent panel will go into place later this spring.
Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, announces its March line-up of special events. March will be an exciting month with activities for the whole family. Join us for Acoustics and Ales at Acorn Urban Park, as well as the Parks Ale Trail at Lake Needwood.
These two festive celebrations boast craft brews, food, and live music. There will also be opportunities to learn how to RainScape Your Yard along with Garden Day, where you will be able to pick up information about invasive and native plants, pollinators, and gardening for wildlife. Lastly, imagine yourself as a majestic bird and complete The Great Migration Challenge and make a craft to help birds in your neighborhood.
Update: The Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly & Caterpillar Exhibit at Brookside Gardens will be cancelled again this year due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. We encourage you to take the opportunity this summer to visit Brookside Gardens outdoor butterfly garden and sharpen your observation skills and learn about local butterfly species. You can enjoy butterflies in your own garden or in many nearby public places, too.
March Events at Montgomery Parks Include:
Join the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for Session I: Rethinking Your Yard. Session II be held Thursday, March 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Session III will be Thursday, March 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. These three sessions are intended to help homeowners create a RainScape design plan. Session I: The first step to planning a RainScape project is to evaluate your site and determine what project(s) are both possible and desirable for you. Learn how to look for places to soak up water on your site, what projects fit where, and how big they need to be. This class is a recommended prerequisite to the Stormwater Solutions and the Plants and Planting Design classes. Intended for ages 18+. Fee $12 for each session. Register using Active Montgomery PBG0015-100001.
Warm-up from the inside out at Montgomery Parks’ Acoustics and Ales winter happy hour at Acorn Urban Park, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Enjoy Craft Beer from Silver Branch Brewing, delicious food from Big Greek Food Truck, and musical guest Ted Garber. A representative from Montgomery Energy Connection will be tabling at this event to provide residents with an opportunity to swap out their old incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs. Switching to LEDs helps lower your utility costs and keeps money in your pocket so you can buy more ale and food at our events!
Migrating birds face a lot of obstacles! Join us from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to learn about some of the challenges, as you pretend that you are a bird on your journey north in our Great Migration Challenge game! Then we will return to the Nature Classroom and make a craft to help birds in your neighborhood! Intended for ages 3 to 12. Fee $3. Register using ActiveMontgomery.
Parks Ale Trail | Saturday, March 12 | Lake Needwood Trails
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, so celebrate outdoors with a good local beer at our Parks Ale Trail! On Saturday, March 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., start your celebrations at the Hiker-Biker trail parking lot at Lake Needwood, Rock Creek Regional Park. True Respite Brewing will offer various beers for purchase, both at the main event area AND as a refuel option at the halfway point of the hike! Spend the rest of the afternoon dancing to live music from Capital Effect. Additional food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase from O’Boy Pizza & Ice Cream.
Discover the joys and benefits of gardening! Drop by the Visitor Center from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to ask questions about gardening and get your Gardening Info Pack about invasive and native plants, pollinators, and gardening for wildlife. Included will be a take-home activity for kids. Register using Active Montgomery for this FREE program so that we can prepare enough Gardening Info Packs (one per family). PBHVC0005-100001
The partnership will create 94 charging spaces across 26 Maryland parks.
Montgomery Parks, Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation and Pepco have joined together to provide more charging opportunities for local, regional, and visiting electric vehicle (EV) owners. As part of the partnership, Pepco will install 94 new electric vehicle (EV) chargers in 26 parks across the two Maryland counties over the next two years.
“We are so excited about this collaboration with Pepco, which will allow electric vehicle owners to charge their vehicles while enjoying our parks. Expanding access to electric vehicle charging stations is yet another way the parks department is helping support a more sustainable future,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks.
“This program will allow the Department to support sustainability efforts in the region and Prince George’s County. We are excited to begin charger locations installation in the spring/summer of 2022,” stated Bill Tyler, director of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation. “This will help meet the future demand of EV users at our facilities.”
The installation of these chargers will help further the individual climate goals of both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and also supports the state of Maryland’s broader climate goal of reaching a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (from 2006 levels). This project is also a part of Pepco’s Maryland Climate Commitment, which includes efforts to equitably advance EV and clean energy opportunities for customers while achieving carbon neutrality for company operations by 2050.
Construction of the first EV charging spaces in Montgomery Parks will begin in March and is expected to take about eight weeks to complete. Initial locations include Argyle Local Park, Olney Manor Recreational Park, Wheaton Forest Local Park, and South Germantown Adventure Playground. Pepco’s sister utility, BGE, is also installing four charging stations at Fairland Park.
Construction of the first EV charging stations in Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation parks began this month and will take about two months to complete. Initial locations include Harmony Hall Regional Center, Kentland Community Center, Lake Arbor Community Center, Peppermill Village Community Center, Prince George’s County Plaza Community Center, Tanglewood Community Center, Langley Park Community Center, North Barnaby Splash Park. Residents can follow the installation timeline at pgparks.com.
The charging stations will be available to the public at the following rates: Level 2 chargers – $0.18 per Kilowatt-hour (kWh); DC Fast Chargers – $0.34 per kWh (includes tax). Use of these charging stations will be monitored by the counties to determine the possibility of adding more charging stations in the future.
“We know our customers and communities are becoming increasingly interested in cleaner and more efficient forms of transportation, including electric vehicles,” said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. “We are excited about this partnership with Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties and continuing our support in developing a robust and accessible public EV charging network across Maryland, with equity and inclusion being a priority. We are working hard to advance a reliable energy platform that connects our communities and supports the climate goals of the regions we serve as well as our broader mission to power a cleaner and brighter future.”
In addition to this partnership, Pepco has also pledged to install 250 EV charging stations across Maryland. To date, the company has installed 56 charging stations, including both Level 2 and DC Fast chargers. For more information about this work and other EV tools and resources provided by Pepco, customers can visit the company’s EVsmart website.
Per Montgomery Parks:
WHEATON, Md. – Montgomery Parks(opens in a new tab), part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is extending the hours for its Open Parkways initiative (opens in a new tab)for the Presidents Day holiday weekend through Tuesday, February 22, at 7 a.m.
Open Parkways Schedule
Portions of Sligo Creek Parkway and Beach Drive will be open to pedestrians and bicyclists for exercise and recreation Friday, February 18, at 9 a.m. through Tuesday, February 22, at 7 a.m.
- Old Carroll Avenue to Piney Branch Road (1.1 miles)
- Forest Glen Road to University Boulevard West (1.5 miles)
- Beach Drive(opens in a new tab) from Connecticut Avenue to Knowles Avenue (2.7 miles)
Open to pedestrians and cyclists from Saturday, February 19 at 7 a.m. thru Tuesday, February 22 at 7 a.m.:
- Little Falls Parkway from River Road to Arlington Road (1 mile)
Presidents Day Weekend Facility Operating Hours & Programs
The following facilities remain open, including on Presidents Day, Monday, February 21, 2022
- Parks, trails, gardens, playgrounds, dog parks, skate parks, outdoor tennis/pickleball courts
- Wheaton Indoor Tennis (opens in a new tab)and Pauline Betz Addie Tennis Center (opens in a new tab)will be following normal operating hours.
- Cabin John Ice Rink (opens in a new tab)and Wheaton Ice Arena (opens in a new tab) will be following normal operating hours.
- Little Bennett Campground (opens in a new tab)
- Inline skate parks at Dewey Local Park(opens in a new tab) and Ridge Road Recreational Park(opens in a new tab) are open and may be reserved by permit.
- Outdoor campfire ring rentals(opens in a new tab) are available at several locations.
The following facilities will be closed on Presidents Day, Monday, February 21, 2022
- Montgomery Parks’ Headquarters, Customer Service, and Permit Offices.
- Black Hill Visitor Center(opens in a new tab) – The Visitor Center building is open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Outdoor park areas and trails are open from dawn to dusk daily.
- Brookside Gardens(opens in a new tab) – Visitor Center and Conservatory closed on Mondays. Gardens open from dawn to dusk daily.
- Brookside Nature Center(opens in a new tab) – Temporarily closed to walk-in visitors for renovations. However, programs will continue throughout the renovation process. Outdoor park areas and trails are open from dawn to dusk daily.
- Maydale Nature Classroom(opens in a new tab) – Open when programs and events are scheduled. Outdoor park areas and trails are open from dawn to dusk daily.
- Meadowside Nature Center(opens in a new tab) – Temporarily closed to walk-in visitors for renovations. Outdoor park areas and trails are open from dawn to dusk daily.
- Locust Grove Nature Center(opens in a new tab) – The nature center building and the nature exploration area is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1:00-5:00 pm. Outdoor park areas and trails are open from dawn to dusk daily.
Residents should be advised that restrooms may not be available at certain locations, due to facility closures. Please plan ahead.
Visit MontgomeryParks.org (opens in a new tab)for a complete list of programming and operating hours.
About Montgomery Parks
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 421 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high-quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.MontgomeryParks.org(opens in a new tab)
Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Please contact the Program Access Office at 301-495-2581(Voice/TTY), MD Relay 7-1-1 or 800-552-7724 or [email protected](opens in a new tab) to request a disability modification. Visit www.MontgomeryParks.org/access(opens in a new tab) for more information.
Maryland Cricket Premier League and Montgomery Parks is hosting the 5th Annual MCPL Rang Aur Patang Utsav 2022 on April 23rd, 2022 – 11am Onwards @ Black Hill Regional Park
“Please join us with your friends and family for this fun filled event which includes, Live Entertainment by DJ, Kids Activities, Non-Toxic Colors, Indian Kites and Manjha (without glass powder so safe for all) and lot more…!!!
If you have young children, then do not worry because we will have tons of entertainment for our little ones!!!”
Kites, Colors and Indian Snacks will be available for purchase at reasonable price.
MCPL asks any interested parties to contact them for more information, vendor inquiries and sponsorship opportunities.
Tickets can be purchased here.