Horseback riders in Maryland are trying to negotiate with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to reopen a trail near the Patuxent River.
The WSSC says the trail, on the grounds of the Rocky Gorge Reservoir near Laurel, Md., is sending horse waste and sediment into the drinking water supply, according to the Associated Press. The utility provides water to nearly 2 million people in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
The 18-mile trail is on land owned by the WSSC surrounding the Patuxent River's Rocky Gorge Reservoir (map). The Patuxent provides about 30 percent of the drinking water to the utility's customers.
Horseback riding is now allowed only on an access road on the edge of the property. But riders say the road has sent far more soil into nearby streams than the old trail did. Nearly two dozen area stables depend on the trail.