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Public Meeting Review

Northwest Branch Recreational Park Master Plan

Notes from the Master Plan for Northwest Branch Recreational Park
7:00PM Thursday February 7, 2008 - Good Hope Recreation Center

Overview | Focus Group Comments | Survey Results


This meeting was co-hosted by the Montgomery County Department of Parks, and the Mid-County and Eastern County Recreation Advisory Boards. It was attended by 41 people including Park and Recreation Staff and Park Police, Recreation Advisory Board Members, representatives from the Trolley Museum, Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts, adjacent neighbors and homeowners associations and others.

The purpose of Meeting was to gain public input on the future Master Plan for Northwest Branch Recreational Park.  The Plan primarily focuses on the undeveloped areas north of Bonifant Road. The preliminary vision for the Park is the Development of the Park as a Family Recreation Activity Area with activities such as an adventure playground and picnic areas that would complement the trolley museum, antique car displays and historic features in Trolley Plaza.

It was noted that the planning for the Park is just beginning and a Purpose and Outreach Report would be presented to the Planning Board this spring with the Staff Draft of the Plan next winter. A public Input Survey was distributed and it will also be put on the Web.

Updates were given on the Trolley Museum and Verizon Tower construction.  Storm Water Management approvals have delayed the Trolley Project by 2 months and costs have escalated.  Some of the old track will be used and the museum will need to close from November 2008 – March 2009. The minimal lighting on the visitor’s center will be buffered from neighbors. The Verizon Tower will apply for a special exception in the near future.

Overview | Focus Group Comments | Survey Results

Focus Group Comments

The Meeting participants visited 3 Stations around the Room and Recorded Comments on 1)Natural Resources; 2) Trails and 3)Recreation and Trolley.  A summary of comments, issues and concerns were as follows:

Natural Resources

  • Provide Meadow Habitat between recreation areas. Keep vista’s open
  • Part of track is in stream buffer (new turnaround is of concern)
  • Concern about trees covered in vines – want to save trees (Invasive removal is planned)
  • Additional storm water runoff may be a concern (Reduce what is there)
  • Will trails to Layhill Ballfields be cut off because of ICC?
  • Trees to be cataloged within 2 years prior to construction
  • Water quality monitoring should be done before and after development


  • Rachel Carson – Plan will evaluate location crossing of Bonifant Rd.
  • Connections to ICC Trail, Layhill Local Park and ICC are major trail issues
  • Need paved trail loops and connections in the park
  • Should have natural surface nature trails
  • Studying connections to ICC Trail. It is essential to link ICC Trail from Layhill to ICC near Bonifant but it will very expensive – may be 20 years – this is too long – forces people into cars.    Where ICC crosses Bonifant it will be 30 feet higher.
  • Environmental constraints will make Bridging North West Branch difficult
  • Rachel Carson is natural surface
  • Rachel Carson should allow bikes
  • A bicyclist should be able to get to Wheaton Regional Park from Matthew Henson
  • Provide neighborhood connections extend blacktop path next to pond to the Park and Rachel Carson Trail
  • Too many wetlands to easily get from Layhill Local Park to North West Branch Recreational Park. Boardwalk possible.
  • Need multi-use natural surface trails to accommodate bikes and pedestrians, build a series of loops
  • Consider Natural Surface Trail (include bikes) on old trolley track bed
  • Provide bicycle off -road practice area – with obstacles dirt jumps
  • Need a trail connection to Matthew Henson? Natural Surface? Shared use?
  • Improvements needed along Layhill Road - Bike path side between Layhill Local Park and Llewellyn Park & roadway widening
  • More policing/speed enforcement vicinity of Layhill Local Park

Recreation Facilities and Trolley

  • Concerned about increased traffic on Layhill Road
  • Concerned about impact to Neighbors – keep development away from homes. No matter what is proposed, mitigation of neighborhood impacts should be addressed.
  • Want BMX Bike Area – Dirt surface track especially needed since “banned” from Skate Park
  • Should not have festival area, but should be nature study.
  • Need a left hand turn lane into Trolley Museum Going east on Bonifant Road
  • Need appropriate signage (not like near P.O. on CT Ave) Safe Pedestrian Xing
  • Objection to Dog Park – Noise and traffic barking sets off neighborhood dogs. Has been discussed.
  • Dovetail Trolley education/info with Nature Education (at stops, for example) Don’t wipe out wildlife habitat. It is great to see wildlife from Trolley.
  • Trolley Plaza – can function as a commons with space for performances, etc. (concerts, enactments) appropriate to the historic interpretive themes. Involve Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources to this project.
  • How does this park compare in size to WRP? Will you do a comparison of intensity of development between this park and WRP?

Overview | Focus Group Comments | Survey Results

Survey Results

A survey was circulated throughout the meeting requesting input on the types of facilities needed in this park. Click here to view the information collected so far.

This survey is an ongoing process. An electronic version of the survey will be available online shortly. If you would like a paper copy sent to you through the US mail, please let us know.

Tanya Schmieler, Project Leader Email:, Phone: 301.650.4392

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