WAMU 88.5 : News

Leaders Hope Anacostia Trails Will Connect Communities

Play associated audio
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray takes to a segment of the recently completed hiker/biker trails between D.C. and Anacostia.
Jessica Gould
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray takes to a segment of the recently completed hiker/biker trails between D.C. and Anacostia.

Local leaders hope the construction of a new set of hiker and biker trails along the Anacostia River will revitalize waterfront communities and reconnect people to the environment. The partnership between the federal government, D.C. and Maryland will help bridge the divide between the communities that often are so starkly divided by the river.

For people who live in the area, the new trails would also offer a reason to enjoy the river again. D.C. resident Dennis Chestnut learned to swim in the Anacostia, but these days it's too dangerous to swim in the river or even walk along its banks.

"The lack of access makes it difficult to get there. And that prevents other things from being able to happen there as well, such as development, improvement," says Chestnut.

That's why Chestnut says he's so excited about a partnership between the federal government, D.C., and Maryland to build new trails up and down the Anacostia. Mayor Vincent Gray says the river is often seen as a dividing line in the city, but it doesn't have to be that way.

"We want to get to the point where we're like the River Seine," Gray says. "Or the Thames River, which have a unifying impact on their respective cities."

When complete, the Anacostia Riverwalk will give people in Maryland and D.C. access to a network of trails that extends from Maine to Florida.

"We've seen the conservation agenda through the lens first of job creation," says U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar. "We know that outdoor recreation creates over 8 million jobs a year across America. The other is connecting urban communities and young people to the outdoors."

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) says the new trails will also connect people to each other.

"People will get to know their neighbors because of this project," he says.

The multi-million dollar effort -- part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative -- is already underway. When it's complete, it will link 60 miles of trails, including 39 miles in Maryland and 20 in the District.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, Sen. Ben Cardin and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray cut the ribbon on a recently completed chunk of hiker/biker trails.

NPR

'Listen To Me Marlon' Explores Brando's Life In His Own Words

The documentary, Listen to Me Marlon, tells the story of legendary actor Marlon Brando through hours of personal audio recordings. NPR's Melissa Block talks to director Stevan Riley about the film.
NPR

Humans Aren't The Only Ones To Go Ape Over Diets: Chimps Detox, Too

A group of Uganda chimps have found a great way to boost their mineral intake and neutralize bitter compounds in their diet: by eating clay.
NPR

U.N. Envoy: Solution To Syrian Conflict Must Be A 'Political One'

NPR's Melissa Block speaks with United Nations Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura about creating a peace process in Syria. He says there is a new "sense of urgency" by many parties to end the conflict.
NPR

Debris Found In The Indian Ocean May Be From Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

Investigators believe a piece of debris found on the French island of RĂ©union in the Indian Ocean could be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.