Equestrian trails in Little Bennett Park are now safer thanks to a Maryland Horse Industry Board grant provided to Trail Riders of Today (TROT). 21 equestrians volunteered their time on two sunny mornings during a beautiful June weekend to partner with Montgomery County Parks to participate in a pilot program to make bridges less slippery in parks for equestrians, mountain bikers, and hikers alike. Two bridges were painted with a marine quality paint called Deck Correct that contains Polycarbonate Everbeads to create a skid-resistant surface. This paint protects the wood from splintering, and limits the growth of mildew, algae, and mold. A third bridge, on another weekend, had sand added to the paint to increase the tooth of the surface for comparison between the two methods.
TROT gathered all the materials including painting supplies, large tarps to protect the streambed, and tools for the workers (blowers, wheelbarrows, gloves, etc.). The process was fairly simple. First, we scaped and removed the existing mold, mildew and algae that created the slippery surface on the bridges, impacting park users during and after rain fall. We then hung large tarps under the bridge to protect the stream bed. We let the bridges dry, and then applied one coat to half of the bridge to allow users of the park to still be able to pass. We waited for that layer to fully dry, and then applied a second coat. We marked the bridges as having wet paint applied, and applied caution tape and signage to alert trail users. We repeated the painting process to the other half of the bridge the next day. It was a productive event.
Little Bennett and Montgomery Parks will continue the program. We thank Potomac Bridle Hiking Trail Association (PBHTA) for providing lunch and additional volunteers. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer during our next trail work opportunity.