Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow and downed trees in Reston area

The trail is still snow-covered in the Reston area as you can see in this photo taken at Buckthorn Lane looking west. Looking east from this same location, there are some big trees down across the unpaved trail. These will take a while to remove.

2/25/10. Snow Blankets W&OD

This photo shows the W&OD Trail from Maple Avenue looking east. The
Whole Foods store is on the left.

Temperatures are forcasted to hit highs in the 40s next week. This
will clear much of the sunny areas, but shady areas stay ice coated
for extended periods.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Progress in clearing snow

Karl Mohle reported (Tuesday, February 23) on the trail patrol Yahoo group "that...
Our maintenance crews have cleared the snow (mostly) off of the trail. We went from our office here in Ashburn (Smith Switch Road) out to the detour trail (Loudoun County 4H Fairground). This area is fairly clear of snow. Tomorrow we will head east and clear snow off the trail as well. As we go we are cutting down the broken tree limbs etc that we encounter (like what we did today heading west). We'll chip the limbs sometime next week...."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Snow Update: W&OD to be plowed this week

Great news trail users!

Paul McCray, Operations Director for NVRPA, just posted this comment yesterday to WashCycle:
The W&OD Trail staff will begin clearing snow during the week of February 22 to speed up the melting process. This is in line with our policies of the past which included leaving snow for cross country skiers and then clearing intersections and plowing deeper accumulations.

When we plow, we won't put the blades right on the pavement but will leave an inch or so which will melt off fairly quickly. If we were to scrape right down to the asphalt, we'd do just as much damage as road plows do on the streets and then the W&OD would have rough, patched sections throughout the year. We don't have the funds to pave the trail more often than every 15 years so it's important to preserve the surface any way we can.
 I for one will be sending a note of thanks to Mr. McCray for this action.  IF you'd like to do the same, his contact information is below:

Paul McCray
Park Operations Director - NVRPA

Trail conditions in Vienna (between Church and Maple)

Thanks to the mystery snow plow man, the trail is clear in Vienna between Church St and Maple Ave. A small crew spent a couple of hours Sunday morning clearing about a 4 foot wide path along this stretch. Some sections of the trail get much more use than others, and we think those sections should be cleared for trail users after a snowstorm. The infamous cross-country skiers, snowshoe users, and others who like a snow-covered trail can either use the other W&OD Trail that is unpaved, or in those few areas where there is no parallel trail, they can use the unplowed sections of the trail. We think local communities could be recruited to help with this plowing.

Trail Conditions in Arlington

Trail conditions in Arlington aren't much better than Vienna.  I tried taking the cyclocross out this afternoon to see if I could ride out to work and ended up carrying the thing most of the way. One bright spot: there is a half mile stretch of trail between N Patrick Henry Dr. and Madison Manor Park that is clear enough to ride on.  Of course, you have to carry your bike through a half mile of snow in either direction to get there.

Other than that, between the Custis Trail intersection at Bon Air Park in Arlington and Gallows Rd in Vienna, there's anywhere between 6 in to a foot of snow still on the trail. Basically, if you own a dogsled now is your time to shine.  For everyone else: see you in April.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Trail conditions in Vienna

Well, I'm guessing nobody is too surprised, but the trail isn't much good for bicycling these days. I haven't tried it with my studded tires yet, but given how chopped up the surface is, and how deep the snow is under the crust, it's probably not much fun. Here's a shot taken near North Side Park in Vienna.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Trail Patrol seeks new members

Any responsible adult of any physical ability who walks, runs, skates, skis, cycles, rides a wheelchair, sits astride a horse, pushes a carriage, or just strolls on the trail is welcome to become a trail patrol member. The Patrol operates under the sponsorship of the Friends of the W&OD, whose purpose is to support and enhance the Trail. The basic responsibilities of a patrol member are to:
Ø Promote the safe use of the Trail
Ø Provide information about the Trail to the public
Ø Assist Trail users when help is needed

Volunteers should be willing to commit a few hours each month to the Patrol's on-going effort to keep the W&OD Trail safe, to maintain and, hopefully augment the luster of this bright jewel of the region. Volunteers may choose to serve on the trail or behind the scenes in support of the patrol -- or both. Even a small contribution of your flexibly arranged time will be helpful, and the experience should be both rewarding and fun. If you wish to help in these capacities there is a role you can perform.

For further information please contact the W&OD Trail Office at (703) 729-0596 or To apply on line go to and go to the trail patrol tab.