Last month, we announced the soft launch of our Trail Ranger program. Funded by the District Department of Transportation and staffed in part through the Student Conservation Association, the program is giving needed attention to D.C.’s off-street bicycle trails and the people who use them. Regular trail users have likely seen the rangers out cleaning up trail corridors or lending a helping hand. They can be found on trails under D.C.’s control: the Metropolitan Branch, Suitland, Marvin Gaye, and Anacostia trails. With the team assembled, we’re excited to introduce the rangers to you. If you cross paths, be sure to wave hello pass along some D.C. trail cheer!
Jordan Albright, Trail Ranger
I started riding the summer after my freshman year of college. I began on northern Virginia’s bike trails and started riding in D.C. in the fall when I returned for classes. During the academic year, I made it a point to ride at least once a week with friends for a couple of hours to get a reprieve from the daily grind of school. It was a high point of every week.
I was very excited when I heard about the Trail Ranger program this summer. It is such a fantastic opportunity—a new program that involved lots of time outside, a little bit of trail work (a great love of mine), and a chance to reach out to bikers and see new parts of the city.
My hope is that, as a trail ranger, I’ll gain a better sense of D.C. as a city from the saddle. I’m looking to learn more about the areas where we bike and also get a sense of how biking fits into D.C.’s landscape and what possibilities there are for the trails going forward.
Stephen Briner, Trail Ranger
I have been riding since I was eight, but my interest skyrocketed during high school. By the time I got into college, biking was both a primary transportation source and a favorite pastime. The six miles to and from campus provided a great stress release after 19 credits of classes each semester.
Hearing about the Trail Ranger program on the radio, I considered it a dream job until I find my calling, which might very well be with trail building. The opportunity to be out every day to explore D.C.’s trails, interact with other bicyclists, and just work outside sounded like an amazing opportunity.
As a trail ranger, I hope to gain a better understanding of the culture, people, and streets of D.C. beyond just the monuments and museums I’ve visited in the past. I’m also excited to contribute to the safety and the friendly atmosphere of the D.C. trail system.
Ursula Sandstrom, Trail Ranger
Rather than gaining the freedom of the road by car in high school, I became a bike commuter. In part it was because of the independence, flexibility, and endorphins provided by bike commuting. But the predominate reason was to avoid learning to drive on my family’s fleet of all-manual cars. Seattle, my hometown, is full of hills and I still dread hill starts.
I am a recent transplant to Washington, D.C. and excited to learn the city by bike so intensely as a Trail Ranger. After sitting for four years at college, the chance to get exercise outside for the summer as a job was too good to pass up. I hope to see you out on the trail!
Garrett Hennigan, D.C. Trail Ranger Coordinator
I grew up in D.C., and for most of that time experienced the city from the automotive and transit perspective. It wasn’t until I started college that I started recognized the bicycle as a way to actually get around on a daily basis. Now it’s been six years, my bikes are multiplying, and I cannot imagine trading my two wheels for four. It is thrilling to see so many locals making that same discovery.
While D.C. has perhaps a ways to go in matching the trails of Virginia and Maryland, it has made encouraging progress toward a network of off-street bicycle trails in just a short time. With the growing Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and the busy Met Branch Trail, D.C. residents have exciting resources to enjoy for both recreation and getting across the city. I am thrilled to be a part of making our trails great and encouraging more trail users.
We’ll be posting here on (most!) Tuesdays about what’s going on with the D.C. trail rangers. Check back for updates!