Cross County Trail Before and After
2008 - 2009 Paving Project
Downstream from Lake Accotink


On May 18, 2009, I walked the path of the completed Cross County Trail (CCT) from Hunter Village Drive north to the Lake Accotink Park dam. Bulldozers and dump trucks are now gone along with the unfortunate trees that impeded their advance. On June 6th, the politicians and other angels of asphalt will gather over this 2.5 miles of newly entombed habitat to proclaim it a good and green thing they have done. Of course, it looks much better if one can close one's eyes to the creation of this new impervious, heat-collecting surface carved through a wooded floodplain without mitigation of any kind. The things that lived in the ribbon of green that lay here before are as silent and dead as the sepulcure of asphalt that covers them.

Sunlight and heat now penetrate areas that were shady before. These conditions will stress many shade-adapted native species along the edge of the cleared path and provide improved opportunities for invasive alien plant species to spread along the trail.

Of course, the harm done is much smaller than some other projects in the Accotink Creek watershed, notably the HOT lanes, but it is dissapointing because it is so pointless and one hopes for so much better from the Park Authority.

Here are the "After" photos. The photos proceed from south to north (upstream) and are taken facing northward on the trail. For a side-by-side comparison of Before and After, see Changes

Jeanette Stewart, President of sister organization Lands and Waters, discusses Accotink Creek and trail building. VIDEO

CCT meets newly paved section along Hunter Village Dr

Prior path from Hunter Village Dr left unconnected and now muddy.

Newly paved area from Hunter Village Dr

Half of this patch of mayapples escapes destruction.

New south bridge

New south bridge has already been overtopped by high water, trapping debris.

An extra reinforced bend added as an afterthought accross the creek's overflow channel caused excess clearing at the south bridge.

Extra reinforced bend has already been overflowed by high water, and may be in trouble.

Pavement joins sewer cut above south bridge

Former concrete fair weather crossing of tributary below Old Keene Mill Rd is now a culvert.

Old Keene Mill Rd underpass

Paved trail along maintenance road below Byron Ave Park

Now we have both a road and a paved trail side-by-side. Couldn't they share?

Paved CCT squeezed between baseball diamonds and creek, leaving only a sliver of buffer.

Paving behind Byron Ave Park baseball diamonds

Old CCT route is now a spur from Byron Ave Park.
They were warned about the flooding. It's called a "flood plain" for a reason.

Paved CCT exiting Byron Ave Park. Note gravel washed across trail beside culvert.

Washout around new culvert

CCT above Byron Ave Park

CCT crosses water main

Paved CCT above water main crossing

Paved new CCT route follows sewer cut

New CCT along sewer cut below middle bridge location

Middle bridge

Trees large and small lodged under middle bridge by high water.

Failing reinforcement beneath middle bridge

New CCT above middle bridge site

New CCT upstream from middle bridge site

New CCT below north bridge

North bridge

High water debris already trapped by north bridge.

Losing reinforcement under north bridge.

New CCT and old CCT path reconverge

CCT above north bridge

CCT crosses tributary above north bridge in new culvert, formerly a wooden bridge.

New culvert already has issues.

CCT between tributary crossings

CCT crosses tributary near Lake Accotink Park office, another former wooden bridge.

This culvert, too, is trapping debris and has already been overtopped by high water.

CCT merges with park maintenance road

CCT below dam parking area

CCT meets parking area at dam

It's surprising how little original vegetation has resprouted in the cleared areas, but many box elder seedlings are coming up right through the gravel in some places.

But invasive alien garlic mustard seedlings are more common.

Contact Friends of Accotink Creek, E-mail.

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