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Votes

Nurturing A New Generation of Stewards

West Montgomery County Citizens Association president's letter.

The Potomac community is full of unsung heroes with inspired notions and WMCCA has its share. One such member is Lois Williams, our newsletter editor and member of the Board of Directors. Some years back, she proposed that WMCCA extend our commitment to conserving the environmental foundations of our Potomac Subregion Master Plan by encouraging young people to look to the outdoors and seek sources for scientific inquiry in the abundant natural world.

In a culture where the activities of youth are dominated more and more by organized sports, television and computers, this idea was welcomed as a way to bring children into the abundant natural areas that make this county so attractive to residents.

With our long border on the Potomac River and the C&O Canal National Historical Park and a wealth of geological diversity as well as abundant forests, wetlands and streams beckoning us to explore, Montgomery County and most especially the Potomac Subregion offers wild places to stimulate the imagination and foster a conservation ethic sorely needed in the future. With the pace of development and the scarcity of land, pressure on our open spaces will increase. Our clean water resources, wildlife and forests will need new voices. Raising a generation appreciative of what we have and willing to work at the sometimes thankless job of keeping it is an investment that WMCCA finds worthwhile.

The caveat Lois placed on our recognition of student science investigations rests on “going outdoors for science” — not windowsill projects or computer-only investigations, but actual nature observation and interaction. This is our third year of honoring such effort, and we thank Lois as the continuing inspiration along with Board members Don McNellis and Susanne Lee for helping her review student work at school and county science fairs.

Pairing the honorees with our legislators, fresh from Annapolis and the just-completed session, seems a fitting way to show all of us how stewardship grows as we mature. We hope that the commitment of our hard working elected officials, the watchdog vigilance of WMCCA, and the observations, connections and results discovered by our children will inspire all who attend our meeting this month. With Earth Day on April 22, we hope it might also encourage you to get involved.

* Planning and Zoning

New Site Plans:

* Horizon Hills: At the end of Tulip Lane off Glen Mill Road. Two lots, one 2.3 acres, one 3.12 acres, developed on well and septic.

* Justement Woods: Off Glen Mill Road south of Joiners Lane. Two lots with one existing house to be removed in the RE-1 zone; the existing lot is 2.49 acres.

* Environmental Report

Rustic Road Tree Cutting

The Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) has engaged in an extraordinary assault on some of our Rustic Roads, cutting trees along roadsides and next to the one-lane bridge in Potomac’s well known Glen where South Glen Road, Glen Mill Road and Glen Road meet. Further north on Glen Road toward Travilah Road edging the future site of the Greenbriar Local Park, crews have also been heavy handed. In the careful planning for the Greenbriar Local Park, much was made of preserving the roadside hedgerow and vegetation adjacent to the park, and Ms. Sarah Navid as Rustic Roads Coordinator worked with park staff to assure compliance and compatibility with the Rustic Roads Program.

Why bother when DPWT has no intention of respecting these rural roadsides? In a phone conversation with Highway Maintenance Chief John DiGiovanni on March 27, I was told this cutting was to "improve visibility and safety.” Yet Mr. DiGiovanni admitted he had not seen the cutting himself. Though he promised to inspect the reported damage and call back, to date he has not done so. WMCCA sent a formal letter to DPWT Director Arthur Holmes. We are awaiting a reply.

Note: One of WMCCA's most significant impacts comes through testimonies before the Planning Board and the Montgomery County Council and its committees. See our Web site, www.wmcca.org, for full texts of our testimonies.