Ribbon-cutting ceremony formally marks opening of Phase VI of the Three Notch Trail.

Mechanicsville, MD — St. Mary’s County now has a continuous 11-mile hiker-biker trail in the northern part of the county   A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held July 26 for the middle section of the Three Notch Trail in the Mechanicsville area. The trail will eventually go from the county line in Hughesville to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station (Pax River).

The trail parallels the railroad right-of-way that was used during construction of Pax River and later abandoned. Southern Maryland Electric Co-op purchased the right-of-way in the 1970s for a utility corridor and also purchased a replacement right-of-way for the county which is now being used for the Three Notch Trail.

At a ceremony overlooking the trail at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Mechanicsville, Recreation and Parks Director Brian Loewe said that planning is now underway for the next phase of the trail. That section will go from Wildewood to Hollywood. Commissioner President Randy Guy [R] said “As we get more funds we are committed to continue this (the trail).”

County Administrator Dr. Rebecca Bridgett explained that the trail is for non-motorized recreation. She said the trail is constructed of asphalt and is 10 feet wide in most sections.

The middle section connecting Baggett Park in Oakville with the county line was the most difficult to design and construct because it runs through some residential areas, crosses Route 5 and also bisects the church property. Loewe praised the assistance of Immaculate Conception Church Pastor Rev. Michael Tietjen.

All five county commissioners were joined by other dignitaries including members of the Recreation and Parks Board and the Friends of the Three Notch Trail advisory board, along with users of the trail. Also coming in from Richmond for the ribbon cutting ceremony was former Recreation and Parks Director Phil Rollins, now retired. Rollins was director when planning began for the trail

The trial, according to Loewe, had a “soft opening” on July 1 but the ribbon cutting marks the formal opening of the long-awaited section giving residents a continuous section for hiking, biking and simply enjoying mother nature.

Funding for the project came from the county and a number of state programs.

Contact Dick Myers at dick.myers@thebaynet.com