The Metropolitan Branch Trail has been in development for a long time—since the mid ‘80s. Riding or walking on the trail, it’s easy to forget the three decades of work that it took to bring it to its current (partly) complete state.
This beloved trail is only as successful as it is today because of dedicated individuals pushing the project from vision to reality. Since the beginning, one of the Met Branch Trail’s “super-advocates” has been Paul Meijer. WABA and the Capital Trails Coalition recently honored him with a dedication of the tulip garden near the Rhode Island Ave. Metro station.
The tulip garden was built in November 2014 and pays homage to Paul’s Dutch roots. Last Saturday, we spiffed up the garden, adorned it with a plaque and held a dedication ceremony with Paul’s friends, family and other Met Branch Trail champions.
After a spring of growth, the garden needed a little love before it was photo ready. The WABA Trail Ranger team joined with Friends of Edgewood and Gearin’ Up to remove grass & weeds, and reshape the boxwood into “MBT.” Tulip bulbs remain undisturbed in the soil – ready to flower next spring.
While Paul was unable to attend the ceremony, his children and grandchildren were present and brought back a recording of the event to share with him. Paul was 95 years old and passed away the day after the dedication ceremony.
Many thanks to the DC Trail Rangers, Friends of Edgewood Gearin’ Up Bicycles, and citizen volunteers for cleaning up the tulip garden and trail. Thanks also to the Carlos Rosario School who joined us on the trail (which runs through their “backyard”) and spoke to the importance of the trail to their school community.
Paul’s relentless work over three decades with countless others brought the trail from dream to reality. We owe him our gratitude for his dedication to the Met Branch Trail, and we hope that the garden inspires other super- advocates for projects across the region!