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!
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Checklists are a vital part of a smooth operation (who remembers everything at 6:30 am?!) Part of having 10 part-time team members means we need organized written communication
We recycle what we can but contamination means we must trash some recyclables as well. Paper bags for glass, clear bags for recycling and thin & thick black bags for trash.
We go through a lot of sunscreen
Checking the shift details clipboard one last time
Trailers require careful navigation
For the next 6 hours, the team will be on the bikes.
And we’re on the trail now – Frederick Douglass Bridge on the Anacostia River Trail
First task of the day: remove the popup trail etiquette signs we had installed on the Anacostia River Trail for a busy weekend before heading to Marvin Gaye Trail, the assigned trail for the shift
The first trail etiquette sign of the day
The new Kenilworth section of the Anacostia River Trail is a pretty great place to be
And now its off to Marvin Gaye Trail. First task, assessing what trimming is needed – it’s a balancing act. Trail maintenance standards call for 2′ vegetation free buffer on the side and 10′ tall but we also want to maintain the habitat and shade of the trail.
We strive to deposit trash on site as much as we can – less to bike around!
Trash and glass make riding unpleasant and unsafe
Marvin Gaye Trail is busy!
Documenting another blowdown from a summer storm
Clearing up the leaves
Lunch at Marvin Gaye Recreation Center (not pictured: an excellent musical themed splash park)
Back on the Marvin Gaye Trail. The flagging tape is useful to warn other road and trail users of our long broom handles
Trails are not just where we work, they are also good connectors to the other trails we ride. Up the Metropolitan Branch Trail back to the office.
Whew, back to the office to finish up reports for the day, put the supplies away and clock out at 2:30 pm.
Thinking through the shift to report on what we did – exactly how many people did we talk to? On the wall: our six bike fleet is a tight fit but we have bikes in all sizes to fit a varied team
All vegetation gloves are washed before being used again to stop the transfer of potential poison ivy oil
Behind the scenes (L-R): Tom (DC Trail Ranger/501pix Photography), Ursula (Program Coordinator), Daniel (DC Trail Ranger) and Trey (DC Trail Ranger)
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.
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?
Blackberry vines encroaching on the Metropolitan Branch Trail
A job well done – on to the other fence!
Ethel Kennedy (Benning) Bridge often has a layer of glass and gravel
One shift later, its the cleanest that bridge has been in a while!
Vegetation on the Anacostia River Trail on the west bank near Sousa Bridge
I think there is a sidewalk under that?
Yep! We moved as much as we could with hand tools
Vines encroaching on the already narrow sidewalk of the Frederick Douglass Bridge on the Anacostia River Trail
A free sidewalk
The creek banks at Kenilworth Park on the Anacostia River Trail are full of fast growing invasive plants
Clear for now (give it a few weeks and we’ll be back)
The Paul Meijer Tulip Garden…
has boxwood plants too!
A notoriously narrow section of the Suitland Parkway Trail (Alabama Ave is ahead)
A bit more wiggle room for trail users
This trailside resident took a fall in our last storm
It was a three person job – but the tree is off the Marvin Gaye trailbed.
It has been a busy spring for the DDOT-funded DC Trail Ranger team – we’ve biked about 1,000 miles, removed more than 50 bags of trash from the trail corridors and talked with more than 750 people about trails. Our work doing outreach and maintenance along DC’s urban paved trails keeps folks rolling, walking and engaging with our fantastic trails.
In recognition of this impact, the Trail Ranger team is even bigger this summer thanks to additional funding by National Park Service. Same great program – now with more folks! Welcome Shira, Kemi, Daniel and Kevin!
What is your favorite snack?
“Hummus and pretzel chips.” – Shira
“Grapes all day and everyday.” – Daniel
“Yogurt + granola.” – Kevin
“Kit Kats and pita chips.” – Kemi
What is your bike story – how did you start and what has the journey been?
“I’ve been biking for as long as I can remember because my dad loves biking so much. I learned everything I know about bikes from him. He also encouraged me to pursue biking at college.” – Shira
“My bike story will start with WABA and the Trail Rangers Program. I have not biked extensively in the past, but love the idea of getting more into it.” – Daniel
“My brother left me his bike to commute to class in college. I ended up really enjoying it and started delivering for a sandwich company which lead me to buy my own bike and I started planning actual trips from there.” – Kevin
“I started biking early; my older brothers had bikes that they would ride around the neighborhood with their friends and I remember being so jealous and wishing I could go with them, but my feet couldn’t even touch the pedals. I learned easily after that and could not stop. I rode to the grocery store with my brother all the time and rode to friends houses after school. Biking is so much fun and as a young kid it gives a sense of freedom and independence.” – Kemi
What is your favorite thing about biking?
“ I love that is is passive exercise and it enables you to see much more of a trail or place than running or walking. It is also just really fun!” – Shira
“Feeling the breeze on my face as I ride. I also the the ability to stay active as I move from one area to another at a quick pace.” – Daniel
“I really don’t need a car. As long as I’m healthy I can get just about anywhere on my bike. That and it just feels so great to be outside.” – Kevin
“My favorite thing about biking is getting around freely, while getting in a workout, and reducing my carbon footprint” – Kemi
What are you excited to do as a Trail Ranger this summer?
“I am really excited to get out and learn about this city. I have lived right outside of D.C. all my life but haven’t explored it nearly enough.” – Shira
“I am excited to interact with my team and the local residents who use the trails. Biking for 8 hours a day, 3-4 days a week sounds pretty amazing as well.” – Daniel
“I’m coming from Indiana, so I’m really excited to get to the know the communities I’ll be working with. D.C. is a very historic place with a lot of cool to stuff to offer. It’s a pleasure to be here.” – Kevin
“Meet people and tell people about the trail while supporting an awesome grassroot organization that is doing awesome things. #WABA.” – Kemi
Interested in being a trail ranger? Sign up here to be notified of future opportunities and openings Yes!Nevermind
June 3rd was National Trails Day, and we hope you had as much fun as we did.
Our Trail Ranger team joined the National Park Service, the District Department of the Energy and the Environment, goDCgo and a host of other community partners to celebrate the Anacostia River Trail.
In addition to lovely weather and a beautiful trail, the event sported a native fish exhibit at Anacostia Park, health screenings at River Terrace, trail trivia at Kenilworth, and fantastic flora and fauna at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
As part of their biannual Doc in Day Festival, Stone Soup Films came out to make a short film about the trail. Have a look:
The Kenilworth section of the Anacostia River Trail opened in October of 2016. It is a game-changing addition to our region’s trail network, reconnecting neighborhoods that have been cutoff for decades providing a safe, car-free trail experience from Anacostia Park to the ends of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System in Greenbelt, College Park, and Wheaton.
WABA would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Stone Soup Films’ extraordinary crew – Madeleine Cook, Kaitlin Puccio, Asia Taylor, Josh Weiner and Chris Zarconi, and also to the District Department of Transportation and National Park Service for funding the DC Trail Ranger Program. And also:
Thanks to the Rails to Trails Conservancy for additional support for the trail etiquette signs!
Thanks to volunteer Will!
Thanks to Urban Arrow for the cinematography assist.
April got off to a great start on April 9th with the 3rd Annual Anacostia River Festival. This year, bikes were the star of the show, and folks from all over the city turned out to celebrate. With Anacostia Drive and Good Hope Road SE both closed to vehicle traffic, the park was filled with people walking, riding, kayaking and more. Kids raced each other around the car-free roadways, adults explored the city’s scenic riverbanks, and everybody enjoyed a stellar weather day.
We handed out more than 250 DC bike maps, teamed up with Project Create DC to do helmet decorating, we talked about Vision Zero (Good Hope Rd SE and Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE saw 41 crashes and 5 serious injuries in 2015), saw approximately a million bikes sporting handmade fish-flags made by ArtReach DC, talked up the Anacostia River Trail to hundreds of people, spread the word on our confident city bikes classes to oodles of people, helped give away 300 (properly fitted) helmets with DDOT and had a fabulous (and thoroughly exhausting) day.
It was inspiring to talk with so many folks who want to start biking, learn to ride with their kids, figure out how to commute, learn how to bike or check out a new trail!
Pipe cleaners and free helmets make a crafting dream
Does your helmet fit? If you can put more than two fingers between your chin and the strap, its too loose.
Enjoying the closed streets
Its the WABA board!
Where is your favorite place to ride?
Gearin’ Up and the quick fix maintenance crew helped make sure folks were safe.
Fix a Flat!
Huge thanks to all the folks that put on the festival – 11th St Bridge Park and National Park Service in partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the other fabulous organizations that joined us to make the festival a celebration of all things bike – Gearin’ Up Bicycles, Velocity Bike Co-op, The Bike House, MORE, Black Women Bike DC, Project Create DC, ArtReach DC, Capital Bikeshare, DC Circulator, Bike and Roll, District Department of Transportation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Benning Park Bike Club, Two Wheel Valet, and the US Coast Guard, and the absolutely rockstar volunteers who helped us connect and promote the trails with hundreds of people. You all rock.
Welcome to the 2017 Trail Ranger team – Gab, Harum, Melissa, Seth, Trey and Tom! The Trail Rangers are all about providing a consistent and helpful presence on DC’s mixed-use paved trails. We help trail users, engage with trailside neighborhoods, improve trail conditions, and work with city agencies to keep the trails clean, bright, and clear of obstacles. Keep an eye out for them on the Marvin Gaye, Anacostia River, Suitland Parkway and Metropolitan Branch Trails (Click here to see where these awesome trails are!).
What is your favorite snack?
Anything with dark chocolate – Gab
French fries – Harum
Twizzlers – Trey
Wild apples – Mya
Manchego cheese – Tom
Fruit of any kind – Melissa
Whats your bike story – how did you start and what has the journey been?
“The best holiday gift I ever received was a shiny new bike when I was 20. I loved everything about my bike; its flowery basket, its angel wing handle bars, banana seat and its license tag that said Melissa. Nearly 4 decades later, 25 years sine I had last ridden a bike, I received the Best Birthday Present ever, a shiny red bike! As an adult, I’ve been riding for nearly 7 years.” – Melissa
“I’ve been riding bikes since I was 4 years old and got back into biking during my sophomore year at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. I have 2 older brothers who always rode bikes so I felt I was destined to ride. I would get a bike and let one of my brothers ride and it would always come back broken. Bikes were always fun to work on because I’ve always wanted to keep mine in top shape. I brought a bike in college to get back and forth to class easier, rather than driving. Once I got that feeling back in me, I haven’t been able to resist riding.” – Trey
“I started riding a bike in 2015 in Pittsburgh as the main transportation. I was scared to death before. After I started riding two cyclists died in traffic-related incidents in Pittsburgh. Yet I put on a brave race and rode 4,262+ miles across ten states from VA to OR in the summer of 2016. Some of the stories from my journey are here.” – Seth
“I got a Raleigh bike when I was 12 years old. My dad gave it to me. I immediately loved riding it, felt liberated and free. I’ve been riding every since, and now enjoy my fixed gear, road bike and touring bike.” – Tom
“I started biking because I don’t know how to drive and not excited to learn. Plus I’m a slow walker, so I’m always late for the bus. I started as a way to commute, but now biking is also my source of joy, adventure and connection. When I moved to DC, I met my first friends from biking. My partner and I try to go on a bike-camping trip regularly. I feel like I’m always planning a bike tour in the back of my head.” – Harum
“After I rode a tricycle, my first bike was a ‘lowrider’ style and cool as breeze in the land of enchantment.” – Gab
What is your favorite thing about biking?
“Seeing parts of the city that are never seen from a car, a bus or a train.” – Melissa
“I love being outdoors and biking helps me better interact and explore nature. I also love to explore so biking is a fun way to explore my surroundings and constantly find new things in the world that are exciting.” – Trey
“Biking has taken me to farther places than I imagined.” – Seth
“I like the openness, fresh air, the silence, and the union of muscle-power and bike speed.” – Tom
“I can’t get enough of the fact that I’m being propelled forward by my own body and power.” – Harum
“Go to places without touching the ground physically like I’m hovering by the work of my own body.” – Gab
What are you excited to do as a Trail Ranger this summer?
“Meet people and see Washington DC’s wildlife. This city has an amazing range of interesting people and lots of wild animals.” – Melissa
“I’m really excited to interact with other bikers. It’s fun riding by yourself but way more exhilarating sharing your experiences with other people who enjoy the same hobby as you. I also can’t wait to help people out because its always been something I’ve been good at. I am excited to be a Trail Ranger and make an impact in my community.” – Trey
“I am exited to be meeting trail users on a regular basis to get to know them by name, hear their bike/non-bike related stories and share my own stories with them.” – Seth
“I’m excited to be a part of WABA, as a vocation that I value highly. Being of service to the community, meeting new people, all while on a bike, that’s exciting to me.” – Tom
“I’m so stoked to meet trail users and hear stories of the neighborhoods that the trails serve.” – Harum
“Team up with Trail Rangers of diverse backgrounds and interact with the communities of all DC!!!” – Gab
How you can get involved
Stop by our monthly “coffee hour” on the Metropolitan Branch Trail tomorrow: April 14th, from 7:30 – 9:30 am at 4th and S St NE!