- NPS is making progress on improving the Mt Vernon Trail but more work is needed.
- Encourage NPS to implement previous improvement recommendations.
In mid-June, FABB wrote to George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) Superintendent Charles Cuvelier to urge the National Park Service (NPS) to make bridge reconstruction and pavement rehabilitation on the Mount Vernon Trail (MVT) a priority for the funds that NPS received from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
We reminded him that the MVT is one of the most heavily-used trails in all of Fairfax County and that the park service’s own 2020 Mount Vernon Trail Corridor Study found that the MVT section most in need of repair is the section in Fairfax County, spanning from Hunting Towers in Alexandria in the north to mile marker zero at the Mount Vernon Estate in the south.
FABB also expressed our support for the study’s recommendation that NPS widen the high-use areas of the MVT to meet the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) multi-use trail width standards of at least 11 feet where feasible and that replacement bridges should be at least four feet wider than the approaching trail, when feasible.
Finally, we ask that NPS implement the study’s recommendation to install new trail counters in Arlington and Fairfax counties to obtain data on trail usage.
NPS officials responded that the service is rebuilding the MVT in Arlington County, Columbia Island (DC), and Alexandria through a Smart Scale grant and contributions from the NPS. Within Fairfax County, bridge 12 is currently under construction and there are plans for the reconstruction of bridges 23 and 24. The NPS plans to add a trail counter to bridge 12, but the contract for this installation has not been finalized.
The service told us that it has had a Trails Supervisor for about two years whose responsibilities include all the trails within the park, trail planning, and operational upkeep. The NPS also noted its collaboration with the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, which has improved overall maintenance thanks to 865 volunteers who contributed 2,488 hours of service on the trail in 2021.
FABB encourages all MVT users to write to Superintendent Cuvelier and urge him to use the infrastructure money to repair this treasured resource. His email is [email protected]. It is also a good idea to copy Rep. Don Beyer, [email protected], and Mount Vernon Supervisor Dan Storck, [email protected].
Also, kudos to Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail, who have been doing a fantastic job clearing the trail of overgrowth and doing other significant bridge and asphalt maintenance and repairs.