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Volunteers complete 4-year project to improve trail at Turkey Run Park

A trail segment at Turkey Run Park before and after volunteers built a new wooden staircase (courtesy National Park Service)

Hikers at Turkey Run Park now have safer access to trails alongside the Potomac River, thanks to the hard work of more than 100 volunteers.

The National Park Service and the nonprofit Potomac Appalachian Trail Club officially reopened a half-mile section of trail in the McLean park with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday (March 5), the NPS announced.

It was the federal agency’s largest volunteer-designed and built project in the D.C. area, according to a press release.

“This project is a great example of the success we can have when park staff work together with partners and volunteers to meet the needs of visitors,” George Washington Memorial Parkway Superintendent Charles Cuvelier said in a statement. “We embrace the collaboration, trust, and open communication we have with partners and are grateful to PATC and the volunteers for making this project possible.”

According to the NPS, it took more than four years and over 1,000 volunteer hours for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club to rebuild a section of trail that had eroded due to its age and location on a gorge leads to the Potomac River.

The project was intended to provide safer and easier access to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, a regional network that follows the river and runs along the northern edge of Turkey Run Park.

Founded in 1927, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club consists of volunteers and a professional support staff who manage over 1,000 miles of hiking trails across Virginia, Maryland, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

Among other challenges, the Turkey Run project required constructing a wood staircase with over 100 steps that enables trail users to climb almost 170 feet in less than two-tenths of a mile, according to PATC President Joe Lombardo.

“This daunting task required the skill and dedication of experienced crew leaders to design and execute a unique trail rehabilitation plan that provided improved access and was sensitive to the natural setting of the park,” Lombardo said in the NPS news release.

George Washington Memorial Parkway, which encompasses Turkey Run Park, did not immediately return FFXnow’s request for additional comment on the trail project and an update on its plans for the former Claude Moore Farm, which is being revamped as South Turkey Run Park.

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