New section of the Tree Notch Trail in Mechanicsville

Leonardtown, MD –With a new section of the Three Notch Trail recently opened in the Mechanicsville area, planning is now well under way for the next phase — four miles from FDR Boulevard near Wildewood to Route 245 (Hollywood Road) in Hollywood. The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County Aug. 30 unanimously approved (Commissioner John O’Connor was not in attendance) the concept plan that was presented to them by consulting firm Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson (JMT).

Estimated cost of Section VII is $3.5 million, with a mix of federal, state and county monies anticipated. The final cost will depend on how many properties need to be purchased. Preliminary estimates are that three properties will be involved and the rest of the trail will utilize county, state highway and utility rights-of-=way.
Recreation and Parks Director Brian Loewe and JMT Vice President Joseph Kittner made the presentation to the commissioners before their vote.

The recently completed Mechanicsville section creates a continuous 22-mile trail. Commissioner Mike Hewitt [R – 2nd District] said bikers who have talked to him are eager to have a longer stretch to ride. When completed all the way to Pegg Road, Loewe said the trail would 28 miles.

According to Loewe, the new section of the 10-foot-wide, paved hiker/biker trail would be a “hybrid.” The section in front of the Wildewood center would be close to the road, supporting transportation needs, while the section from Airport View Drive to Hollywood Road would be more scenic and recreational.

The preferred alignment was selected after the owners of the Wildewood Center resisted using part of the shopping center’s parking lot. The selected alignment will involve some tricky construction because of the drainage ditch between the Wildewood Center parking lot and Route 235.

The concept plan presented to the commissioners was vetted to the Recreation and Parks Citizen Advisory Board in several meetings and was approved by them.

After concept planning is completed the county will solicit bids for an Architect and Engineering firm to design and engineer the project. Construction of the Phase VII section is included in the county’s Fiscal Year 2018 Capital Improvement Plan.
Loewe said the State Highway Administration and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative are full partners in the project and he didn’t see any problems with using their rights-of-way where necessary.

So when are the bikers talking to Hewitt going to get that complete 28-mile trail? Loewe estimated that could happen by 2025.

Contact Dick Myers at