Our best Trail Ranger season yet!

The DC Trail Ranger program went into its annual winter reduced operations in October. The team did important work this summer and we had so much fun.

Huge thanks to Daniel, Gabriel, Harum, Kemi, Kevin, Seth, Shira, Tom and Trey for being the greatest 2017 Trail Ranger team we could imagine.

  • 3,173 miles covered
  • 232 hours of outreach
  • conversations with 3,747 people
  • 1,000 bike bells distributed
  • 385 hours of cleanup
  • 113 issues reported to the city
  • 2,617 DC bike maps distributed

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Interested in being a trail ranger? Sign up to hear about future job openings Yes!




Want to volunteer with the team next year? Yes!




City Cycling Class Brings you More Joy When you Ride

Many people are familiar with WABA’s Learn to Ride class–to teach adults to ride a bike for the first time–but that’s just where the learning begins.

Whether you’ve been riding for four months or forty years, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll learn something new at a City Cycling class. Read below to see how Kemi, a Trail Ranger for WABA in 2017, appreciated her ride even more after picking up a few tricks.


Interested in taking a city cycling class? Sign up here to be notified of future city cycling classes Yes!




“How do I put more pedal to the metal?” this was the question I asked during an orientation ride around the city as a new D.C. Trail Ranger.  I did not realize how embarrassing the question was until I heard the answer, “Shift the gear up”, said Ursula. I replied with a “Oh duh, thank you.” This said a lot about my cycling experience level coming into this Trail Ranger position. I hadn’t biked in years before getting on one of the Trail Ranger bikes for a quick city cycling lesson. To be quite honest, that first ride was a bit of a struggle. Getting used to turning, stopping, and starting, after the first ride I was afraid I was never going to be able to get the hang of it. Practice makes perfect.

My first ever shift was with the amazing Trey Robinson, he taught me everything I needed to know that first time and did a great job explaining a lot to me. Because I was training we took one trailer with things in it and headed to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. “Since it’s your first shift, I’ll take the trailer,” he said. “Sure,” I replied and we took off. We picked up trash, glass, and trimmed vegetation. Then it was time to make our way back, “I’ll take the trailer now,” I said with confidence; “Are you sure?” he questioned me, “Yes!” I replied with determination. My first time riding with the trailer was not as bad as I imagined it was going to be. I zoomed ahead and navigated safely through traffic, I nearly forgot that I had the trailer. We got back and Trey says, “Wow, you know what you’re doing, and they told me to take it easy on you.” I felt great and even more confident that this was going to be one of the best summer positions I’ve ever had.

Working with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) taught me about the cycling culture in a city. It showed me that WABA is 100% necessary, without this organization and the work that they complete day in and day out we would not witness as many cyclists in the area. I have learned about the incredible work WABA does and what it means to all the many communities in the D.C. area, including: biking infrastructure such as bike lanes and trails, advocacy for safety, cycling classes, small bike business support, etc. All of these things have brought so many people from different walks of life together in order to support a wonderful mission.

This internship has really taught me a lot and most importantly it has provided me with skills that I can share to so many others like myself. I am adopting cycling as a great mode of transportation, exercise, and discovery, which is something I didn’t do before. Working with WABA has really shown me how easy cycling is and has given me confidence to continue to bike almost everywhere and express this sentiment to anyone who is as hesitant as I was. I really enjoyed telling everyone at outreach about city cycling classes so they can join me in riding more.”


Kemi became a confident rider on the job with city cycling as we covered urban riding, quick stops and other skills as employee training. We’ll be hiring Trail Rangers for the 2018 season in April but you can get the same skills in the course of a morning and no cover letter required!

City Cycling classes are scheduled to take place in multiple locations this fall. To view the complete schedule of classes click here. To get a discount code to register for free, email me. As with riding in general, the City Cycling class is more fun if you bring a friend. If you don’t, no worries, you’re bound to make a friend or two during the class. Happy riding!

We built a park

For the second year, there was a bit more green space on Minnesota Ave NE as the WABA Trail Ranger team celebrated Park(ing) Day, part of an international effort to reclaim our public space and think creatively about its best use. In collaboration with DDOT Urban Forestry, Capital Bikeshare, and Anacostia Park & Planning Collaborative, we built a park!

Out went parking for one car. Instead the 8′ by 20′ spot was home to tables for eating lunch, trees, a bike fence and native plants. We had a number of pollinators visiting us all afternoon, snacking on the goldenrod, asters and other flowering plants from Urban Forestry. Anacostia Park and Planning brought a satellite map of the river corridor and we had great conversations about the nearby trails and how connectivity or lack thereof affects trail use.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the park and all of our fabulous park partners!

Tales and Trails: A season of rides

The DC Trail Ranger team partnered with the National Park Service this summer to lead a ride series exploring the rich history of the Anacostia River Trail. We had so much fun learning about the trail!

Which bridges were burned in the War of 1812? What is the story of the ship Pearl? Where in Anacostia Park did the Bonus Army camp? What led to the violence at the Anacostia Pool in 1968? Anacostia River Trail and Anacostia Park have seen both the freedom and oppression of people, to just and unjust decisions by those in power.

Check out all of the sights from our Tales and Trails ride series below:

May – A Monument to Civil Rights

Where did thousands of veterans live in Washington DC while demanding the payment of promised World War I bonuses? Anacostia Park! The park was home to the primary camp for the Bonus Army in 1932. Learn more from the National Park Service.

June – Legacies of the Nation’s River

We moved through a big timeline on this ride, starting with talking about the Nacotchtank village on the east bank of the Anacostia, the largest Native American village in the DC boundaries. John Smith sailed the river, the plans for Kingman Island kept changing and there was a big lawsuit about the appearance of the Navy Yard gate. We ended in the modern era on the 1949 riots at the Anacostia Pool over DC Recreation Board and white residents’ refusal to integrate.

July – Bikes, Blooms and Botany

Finally – plants! Lots of conversation about the fabulous Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens that are right off the trail, but we also saw the capped Kenilworth Dump sprouting monarch butterflies’ favorite food – milkweed, and talked about the silting up of the Anacostia due to deforestation to build Civil War forts.

August – War of 1812: Battles, Burning and Dueling

The British were here! It was a firepower team of WABA, Maryland Milestones, and National Park Service that led our August ride to learn about the Battle of Bladensburg and subsequent burning of the Capitol. We saw the American lines of defense, toured the dueling grounds and ended at the Navy Yard to cover the destruction of Fort McNair and the Navy Yard (Pro tip: Don’t destroy cannons within sparking distance of a well you recently dumped a military fort’s worth of gunpowder barrels down. The gunpowder might not be quite wet and likely to explode.)

Huge thanks to the District Department of Transportation for making the DC Trail Ranger team possible and the National Capital Parks East unit of National Park Service for telling the stories of the park with us.

We’d love your feedback on the ride series if you joined us this summer

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A Day in the life of Trail Ranger

WABA’s Trail Rangers are a near-constant presence on DC’s trails, and they work harder than just about anybody else around here. Here, for the first time, is your chance to experience a day in the life of a Trail Ranger. Enjoy!

Interested in keeping in touch with the team? Sign up here! Yes!




Photo credit: 501pix Photography

Whew! That was quite a ride, wasn’t it? Next time you see a Trail Ranger be sure to give them a wave and a smile. They’re working hard to make the trail better for all of us.

Full photo shoot can be found here.

Kales and Trails

The DC Trail Ranger team will be out and about at Farmers Markets across the city this month. Check out our outreach schedule below. Come by and say hi!

Trail Ranger Coffee Hour
August 11th, 7:30 am – 9:30 am
4th St NE on the Metropolitan Branch Trail
Say hi to fellow trail users at our monthly free coffee hour!

Capitol Riverfront Farmers Market
August 13th, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
200 M St SE

SW Farmers Market
August 19th, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
4th and M St SW

Gallaudet New Student Orientation
August 23rd, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Starting at Gallaudet this fall? Come by and learn about the trails near campus.

Kenilworth-Parkside Farmers Market
August 26th, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
750 Parkside Place NE

H St Festival
September 16th, 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm
H St NE corridor

DC State Fair
September 24th, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
425 M St SW

 

 

Halfway Through the Summer: A DC Trail Ranger Report

The DC Trail Ranger team has been up and running this year since the beginning of April – riding the Metropolitan Branch, Anacostia River, Marvin Gaye and Suitland Parkway trails doing outreach and maintenance with our distinctive green bikes and yellow trailers (say hi if you see us!). We’ve organized guided bike tours, joined massive festivals, popped up with ice water on hot days, and played hundred of games of trail etiquette trivia.

But in between the bigger events, the team is out on the trails keeping them safe and passable – glass removed, vegetation trimmed, trash gone. What does 275 hours of trail cleanup look like?