Our Trail Ranger Program’s Soft Launch

D.C. Trail Ranger Soft Launch

We announced earlier in the month that, with a grant from the District Department of Transportation, we’d be launching a trail ranger program. The program, which soft-launched this week, will combine outreach, communication, and data collection on all of D.C.’s DDOT-managed trails: the Met Branch, Suitland Parkway, Anacostia Riverwalk, and Marvin Gaye.

Read DCist’s post on the trail ranger program’s soft launch. WTOP and WAMU have also reported on the trail ranger program.

We’ll be posting here and on our social-media platforms (follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) about what the trail rangers are doing. You can also follow the rangers on Strava, where they’ll be uploading their rides.

We are currently hiring interns through the Student Conservation Association to work the trail ranger program and encourage our student readers to apply. For more information about the trail ranger program, email Garrett Hennigan at garrett.hennigan@waba.org.

Read a description of the trail ranger program below the jump.

The purpose of the Trail Ranger program will be to improve safety and increase trail usage by quickly and accurately reporting conditions and making the trails more favorable for daily use.  The main objective will be to increase the number of issues reported and repaired by DDOT through the DC311 system.  We will also increase awareness and conditions of the trail by high profile volunteer trail clean up days.  Our success will be measured by an increase in the number of new users and more regular users, increased numbers of trail users engaged, the number of volunteers attending the clean up days and number of tasks reported and tracked in the system.

Trail Monitoring
The Trail Rangers will ride each of the trails owned by DC pulling a lightweight trailer with supplies needed to assist bicyclists or alert trail users to poor trail conditions.  The Trail Rangers will regularly ride the Metropolitan Branch Trail, the Suitland Trail, the Marvin Gaye Trail and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and provide feedback to UFA managers regarding trail conditions and usage.

Trail Clean Up Days
WABA, with support from the Student Conservation Association, will organize and conduct trail clean up days using volunteer recruitment from among our thousands of engaged volunteers, plus extensive social media promotion.

Assist Trail Users
Trail Rangers will be equipped with patch kits, maps and other supplies to assist trail users in need.  In addition they will be assigned a recognizable uniform which will identify them as DC Trail Rangers.  In this way they will be easily identified as a helpful presence on the trail for users to feel comfortable approaching the Trail Ranger with requests for assistance or information.

Trail Feedback
All information regarding trail conditions will be reported regularly via the DC 311 app and a summary report of staff work loads, tasks completed and service requests submitted via Google word document weekly.  Trail Rangers and Manager will maintain regular contact via phone, email and face to face meetings to coordinate activities and respond quickly to potential issues. In addition, the Trail Rangers and Manager will work on establishing a system for soliciting concerns and issues from trail users beyond the grant period.