Prince George's County
Prince George’s County lies primarily within the Atlantic Coastal Plain physiographic region, which ranges from nearly level to gently rolling topography. A small section of the county along the border with Montgomery County is considered part of the Piedmont Plateau and is somewhat more hilly. The population in 1998 was approximately 778,000 and is projected to reach 852,400 by 2010. Prince George’s County is almost entirely suburbanized because of its strategic metropolitan location and its physical suitability for development. A good portion of new development is occurring in the Indian Head Highway (Rt. 210) and the Rt. 50/301 corridors.
The county covers approximately 311,750 land acres. Scattered agricultural land is located in the southeast and central east portions of the county. The county has about 24,000 acres in its park system. The park system has about 6,200 acres of river parks, 7,100 acres of stream valley parks, and 5,200 acres of community parks. The acquisition of stream valleys for public parkland has been a major endeavor of Prince George’s County since 1927 with the creation of the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC).
The local greenways network is being invigorated by the county’s Community/Park Schools Centers design concept. New schools are being proposed near existing parkland and community centers. A new mixture of funding will provide better facilities that can serve a variety of educational and community needs.
Site specific park plans (e.g., the Patuxent River Park Plan and plans for the Anacostia River) establish conceptual uses for specific lands within a designated area of the park system. Sixty-two hundred (6,200) acres have been preserved as the Patuxent Greenways. The county has received transportation enhancement funds to complete the Anacostia Tributary Trail System inside the Capital Beltway.
The county’s current General Plan calls for the staging of the development of recreational facilities to be proportional to population growth in specific areas. Future needs for parkland were anticipated (in 1982 and 1992) for the northern, central, and southern portions of the county. The open space goals, established by the General Plan, are redefined by each Area Master Plan where achievable and measurable growth objectives are established. The county is an active participant in the state’s Rural Legacy Program.
1) Anacostia Tributary Trails System
The Anacostia Tributary Trails System is an existing network of stream valley parks including: Beaverdam Creek, Indian Creek, Little Paint Branch, Northeast Branch, Northwest Branch, Paint Branch, and Sligo Creek stream valley parks. This greenways system extends through most of the northern third of the county and into Montgomery County. It serves resource protection, recreation, and transportation purposes.
The Anacostia Tributary Trail system located within the Anacostia Headwaters Greenways, contains approximately 25 miles of trails. This trail system includes popular facilities such as Lake Artemesia in College Park. The system also provides linkages between densely populated residential communities and four Metro stations.
1a) Beaverdam Creek
This corridor originates north of Bowie and connects with Indian Creek to the southwest. The greenways corridor is owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
1b) Indian Creek
Indian Creek originates south of Laurel and flows through the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Greenbelt, and Berwyn Heights. Linkages occur with both Beaverdam Creek and Paint Branch. M-NCPPC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture own a majority of the Indian Creek stream corridor. A multi-use trail is located in the southern section of the greenways. This path links with the Paint Branch and Northeast Branch trails and Lake Artemesia.
1c) Little Paint Branch
The greenways corridor along Little Paint Branch begins north of Calverton at Fairland Regional Park and flows south to connect with Paint Branch. Portions of the stream valley are owned by M-NCPPC. The greenways protects riparian resources and provides recreational opportunities. A segment of multi-use trail exists along the stream valley between Sellman Road and Rt. 212.
1d) Northeast Branch
Northeast Branch originates at the confluence of Indian Creek and Paint Branch. The stream flows to the south, connecting with Northwest Branch to form the Anacostia River just below Hyattsville. A multi-use trail exists along the Northeast Branch from Indian Creek and Paint Branch to the Anacostia River. Transportation enhancement funds were used to complete this trail. The trail system provides non-motorized access to the West Hyattsville and College Park Metro stations.
1e) Northwest Branch
Northwest Branch originates in Montgomery County and links with Sligo Creek near Chillum. The corridor is owned by M-NCPPC. A multi-use trail exists in the Northwest Branch corridor. Transportation enhancement funds have been used to complete the trail and provide a connection to Northeast Branch. The trail system provides non-motorized access to Metro stations.
1f) Paint Branch
Paint Branch originates in Montgomery County. The stream valley makes connections with Little Paint Branch, Indian Creek, and Northeast Branch. M-NCPPC owns portions of the corridor, providing paved trail connections to the University of Maryland, Metro, and Lake Artemesia.
1g) Sligo Creek
Sligo Creek originates in Montgomery County and connects with Northwest Branch near Chillum. M-NCPPC owns and manages the corridor. The Sligo Creek Park includes a bicycling-walking route along the greenways, providing an important, non-motorized link between the red and green Metro lines.
2) Cabin Branch
Cabin Branch, which runs through a heavily urbanized section of the county, is the number one trail/bikeway priority in the county. M-NCPPC owns some land along the stream valley. The proposed multi-use trail would link Cheverly and Addison Road Metro stations.
3) Charles Branch
There is a partially established stream valley greenways across Charles Branch. This greenways provides connections to several major greenways projects, including the Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail, Western Branch, the Patuxent Regional Greenways, and Piscataway Creek stream valley park. The corridor includes several parks owned by M-NCPPC as well as Rosaryville State Park.
4) Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail
The Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail is a potential regional multi-use trail system that will utilize the original railroad route from Washington, D.C. to Chesapeake Beach. This corridor will serve as the spine for a number of potential greenways branches that would provide access to public lands, the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay. M-NCPPC has acquired portions of the corridor through the subdivision process. The trail would be owned, managed, and maintained by M-NCPPC. The Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail is being considered in Calvert and Anne Arundel counties where several segments of the 28-mile rail corridor also exist. Eleven miles of the corridor lie in Prince George’s County.
The trail would connect M-NCPPC’s Walker Mill Regional Park and Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Anne Arundel County. It would also connect to the south with the town of Chesapeake Beach.
5) Collington Branch
Collington Branch is a component of the Patuxent River watershed that originates near Bowie, runs southerly and connects to the Western Branch tributary in Upper Marlboro, which continues into the Patuxent River. The Collington Branch is also planned for a proposed multi-use trail that will connect Bowie with Upper Marlboro. The county owns much of the corridor and plans to fill in any gaps through acquisition and the development process. The Prince George’s County Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group recommended this trail as the number seven trail/bikeway priority in the county.
6) D.C. Trolley Right-of-Way Rail Trail
The D.C. Trolley Right-of-Way Trail is a potential rail trail running between Hyattsville and Beltsville. This trail would provide links to the Paint Branch stream valley park system. The City of College Park owns a segment of the right-of-way and is constructing a portion of the trail along this segment.
7) Henson Creek
Henson Creek is a stream valley greenways running between the Suitland Parkway and the Potomac River. M-NCPPC owns the majority of the corridor. The greenways provides water quality and resource protection benefits and a connection to the planned Potomac Heritage Trail. A 5.5-mile hiker/biker/equestrian trail exists in this corridor, with an estimated 2 miles to complete. Upon completion, this trail will provide access to the future Branch Avenue Metro station and Suitland Parkway Trail.
8) Mattawoman Creek
Mattawoman Creek is a planned stream valley greenways originating near Cedarville State Forest and connecting westward to the Potomac River. Mattawoman Creek forms part of the border between Prince George’s County and Charles County. The Prince George’s County portion of the corridor is largely privately owned; however, M-NCPPC has begun to acquire floodplain lands and buffers along the creek.
9) Patuxent Regional Greenways
The Patuxent Regional Greenways is a partially established regional greenways that includes seven jurisdictions extending from central Maryland through southern Maryland. The Patuxent River serves as the spine for the greenways which runs through Howard, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties. DNR currently owns about 15,000 acres along the Patuxent River and is working with local officials to extend protection along the mainstem.
In Prince George’s County the Patuxent River forms the northern and eastern county boundaries. Public properties under the management of DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, M-NCPPC and WSSC make a substantial contribution to the Patuxent Regional Greenways. These lands provide many opportunities for nature study and outdoor recreation.
Prince George’s County has adopted land-use and development regulations for the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area and the Patuxent River Primary Management Area to channel development away from sensitive areas in the Patuxent corridor. Public acquisition of the Patuxent Regional Greenways will continue, and these policies will provide a mechanism for protecting water quality and riparian resources on non-public lands.
9a) Patuxent River Water Trail
The Patuxent River Water Trail is a potential water route consisting of a series of public access sites along the Patuxent River. The route runs from Montgomery County to St. Mary’s County. The effort to establish this water trail is being led by the Maryland Department of Planning in partnership with the Patuxent River Commission and others.
10) Piscataway Creek Greenways
The Piscataway Creek Greenways is a stream valley greenways originating south of Andrews Air Force Base and connecting with the Potomac River. M-NCPPC owns portions of the corridor. Piscataway Creek also links with the Tinkers Creek Greenways and Rosaryville State Park. Piscataway Creek stream valley park is also planned for a multi-use trail.
11) Potomac River Greenways
The Potomac River Greenways is a potential extension to the Maryland side of the proposed multi-state Potomac River Greenways. Several national parks, (Piscataway, Fort Washington, Oxon Cove, and Fort Foote) contribute to the protection of the Potomac River Greenways. M-NCPPC also owns several parcels in the corridor. The county’s Chesapeake Bay Critical Area regulations also promote water quality and resource protection considerations in the Potomac corridor. Prince George’s County and M-NCPPC have expressed a definite interest in implementing segments of the Potomac Heritage Trail by adopting and approving the trail proposal master plans in 1975, 1981, and 1985. The Prince George’s County Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group is currently studying potential trail alignments and recommended this trail as the number two bikeway priority in the county.
11a) Potomac River Water Trail
The Potomac River Water Trail is a potential paddling route along the tidal portion of the Potomac River. The development of this route is part of a larger bi-state effort to establish water trails along the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
12) Southwest Branch
The Southwest Branch is a partially protected corridor that originates near District Heights and flows into Western Branch south of Kettering. Although most of the stream’s headwater region is heavily developed, M-NCPPC owns a substantial amount of the lower corridor. A trail is proposed along much of the stream valley.
13) Suitland Parkway
The Suitland Parkway is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Part parkway and part greenways, the Suitland Parkway is located between the Washington, D.C. line, Southern Avenue, and Rt. 4 (Pennsylvania Avenue) in Prince George’s County. In addition, this corridor is planned and partially designed for a multi-use trail that will connect the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County. It will link to several existing and planned trails in both jurisdictions and form part of the planned regional trails network. The Prince George’s County Bicycle and Trails Advisory Group recommended this trail as the number four on-road trail priority in the county.
14) Tinkers Creek
Tinkers Creek is a partially established greenways that originates southwest of Andrews Air Force Base and connects with Piscataway Creek near Fort Washington. M-NCPPC owns portions of the greenways corridor. A multi-use (hiker/biker/equestrian) trail has been proposed for this greenways.
15) WB&A Trail
The WB&A Trail is a rail-trail for hikers, bikers, and equestrians that will eventually connect Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis. In Prince George’s County, the trail will span 5.6 miles from the Patuxent River just north of Bowie, to Rt. 450 in Lanham. Representatives from Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County are working jointly to plan and construct a pedestrian bridge across the Patuxent River to link the two segments of the trail. A portion of the WB&A Trail will double as a segment of the American Discovery Trail. A suitable connection into Washington, D.C. is needed to meet the goals of this national trail.
16) Western Branch
The Western Branch is a stream valley greenways that originates near Glenarden and connects into the Patuxent River south of Upper Marlboro. Major tributaries of the Western Branch are Bald Hill and Folly and Lottsford branches. Connections will occur with Collington Branch, Southwest Branch, and the Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail corridor. M-NCPPC owns sections in all of these corridors. The Western Branch Greenways is second in size only to the Patuxent Greenways in Prince George’s County. The corridor is under continuing acquisition and will have the longest trail system of any Patuxent tributary in the county.