Montgomery County MD Government
United States of America

We, the undersigned call on the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to purchase this land for the benefit of pedestrian and bicycle commuters in our communities in addition to the benefits to the greater Rock Creek watershed.

The Preservation Opportunity:

The importance of viable green corridors to maintain healthy natural environment in urban areas is widely recognized today. As shown in the Map, such a green corridor currently connects Capitol View-Homewood Park with McKenney Hills Park and the Capitol View Open Space (with a mere 15’ of asphalt of the quiet Leslie Street partly interrupting this continuity, although the water flow underneath the road and the birds and insects fly above). This corridor is maintained by the undeveloped stream and its surrounding floodplain (with minimum 20-30’ from both sides between Menlo and Leslie, where no building is permitted. This corridor includes Menlo 10201 (Plat 13) that is centrally-located in this corridor, and in its current natural state, maintains the corridor’s continuity. This “hinge site” already provides hydrologic, tree canopy, and wildlife habitat connections between three parks. With the proposed nature trail, it will improve pedestrian connections.
This corridor would be broken (white bar) by the proposed building plan because nearly half of this natural area will be covered by the large house, parking garage, and driveway, whereas the remainder, will lose much of its natural trees and other vegetation. The few remaining trees and those that will be newly-planted as required, will be over-stressed by soil and root compaction (heavy machinery) and the loss of root structures due to extensive excavation. The proposed lawn will not serve the communities of insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals for food, shelter and nesting sites as the diverse natural vegetation. This development would result in a “sterile green” in contrast to this vibrant ecological community.
Even the eastern third of the lot, which is under a Conservation Easement, will be heavily impacted by the above changes as well as the intensified erosion (on a steep slope), resulting from the increased surface runoff due to unabsorbing (impervious) surfaces (roof and driveway), disruption of the existing bedrock and its groundwater system, increasing the likelihood of disruption of water flow from the site’s historic springs, loss of soil (excavation), and compaction of remaining soil, the absence of tree and bush roots and overground litter, stems and leaves. The end result would be denying livelihood to the many plants, insects, frogs, snakes, birds, and mammals that depend on it. This lively environment adds to the quality of life of all of us in the community and beyond. Only LOS (Legacy Open Space, Montgomery County) or DOT (Department of Transportation, Montgomery County) can save this artery of life for the benefit of the entire community that includes hundreds of houses. The Map shows the continuity of the green corridor under consideration, which hugs a stream connecting Homewood and McKenney Hills parks. Note the proposed development in plat 13 (red ellipse). The nature trail described in the next section: ‘The recreation opportunity’, is proposed for this site via LOS or DOT acquistion.

The Recreational Opportunity:

Both Homewood and McKenney Hills parks serve our community beautifully by providing playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball/softball courts. Yet they are not connected. A central piece of our plan is to develop a ‘community nature trail’ for a quiet walk, with a couple of spots for sitting on logs (or on the ground), for quiet observation and meditation. A post with a small box with (reused) interpretation guides will be written by naturalists, writers, poets, and other members of the community. The nature trail is planned to be developed in plat 13. The schematic shows that the winding circular trail can be accessed by short paths from both ends of Loma Street. We will produce and make widely available, a map showing how this new nature trail connects the existing nature trails in McKenney Hills Park, and educate the neighbors about the importance of connected natural corridors for flood prevention, wildlife, and other benefits.

The Educational Opportunity:

Young children from the nearby elementary schools will be invited, with their teachers, to explore the trail, find interesting issues and express their insights in their own words, drawings, etc. The children work may be incorporated in the interpretation guides or be placed on a few posts along the trail. The nature trail would promote connection of children with nature, stimulate their observation and exploration skills, and their abilities to express themselves, while opening a conversation with all around. The interpretation guide will include recommendations for native plants that fit the habitat and support wildlife as well as the beauty of the garden or landscape. We may also include such information near the native plants along the trail, highlighting their benefits. Information on environmental-friendly mosquito control options will be also included in their season.

The Green Commuting Opportunity:

The new proposed nature trail at this site, when connected through mapping and education to the other existing nature trails in this area, provides both nature recreation and a healthy commuter’s pathway. The trail will connect Menlo Ave. with Leslie Street, thus it will facilitate and encourage a safe walk to the Forest Glen Metro without the long round about walking on the dangerous Capitol View Ave and Forest Glen Rd. This will save on carbon use, overcrowded parking, and mostly, will encourage people to walk and enjoy the green trails on the natural corridors and parklands that stretch over much of the way to the Metro (quiet streets with minimal traffic are part of this way).

We, the undersigned call on the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to purchase this land for the benefit of pedestrian and bicycle commuters in our communities in addition to the benefits to the greater Rock Creek watershed.

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The Save our Community Wetland in Silver Spring petition to Montgomery County MD Government was written by Mike Livermore and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.