Date Set for Blockhouse Point

Date Set for Blockhouse Point

Who will be allowed to use the trails?

The staff draft of the plan to develop a trail system through Blockhouse Point Conservation Park should be available in August, according to John Hench of Park and Planning.

A public forum about the plan, which is destined to be controversial, has been set for Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Rockwood Manor.

At issue is not just how many trails will be wound through the site, but also who will be allowed to use them. “We are developing a plan that will allow us to balance stewardship with natural and cultural resources,” Hench said.

Blockhouse Point, an approximately 630 acre park along the Potomac River, adjacent to Callithea Farm, is home to a host of rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal species. Additionally, the area was a stronghold for Union troops during the Civil War and is of historical significance from that era.

The plan had started several years ago but was put on hold until a master plan for trail development was adopted by the county. Such a plan was accepted by the Park and Planning Commission recently, giving planners a framework for how and where to develop trails.

Different groups, including hikers, bikers, equestrians and environmentalists, all have a stake in who will be allowed to use which trails.

“I think the big issue is going to be who gets to use trails,” Hench said. “What we’ve tried to do is balance the competing uses.”

Hench could not comment specifically on potential trails since the plan is still in development.

The plan is expected to be available online at the park and planning website,, and by hard copy at Park and Planning, 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. Call 301-495-4600.