They’re out there on the front line in an never-ending battle with the weeds and tree roots to keep the Mount Vernon Bike Trail in shape. And for their efforts, the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail recently received the 2023 Ellen Pickering Environmental Excellence Award from the City of Alexandria.
This award recognizes the members of the Alexandria community who demonstrate a commitment to protecting the environment and preserving natural resources. The Friends group does all that and more to keep the trail going and in good shape for all users.
With this recognition, they were joined by U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th), Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, Vice Mayor Amy Jackson, Sheriff Sean Casey, Del. Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Councilmember Sarah Bagley and Alyia Gaskins to recognize their achievement.
“This award is extra special as Ellen Pickering was a co-founder of the MVT. Our group would not exist without the efforts from Ellen’s lifelong efforts to the environment,” the Friends wrote.
The Mount Vernon Bike Trail was the idea of Ellen Pickering and Barbara Lynch who tossed around the idea in early 1972 and got the whole thing rolling to build the original 4.5 miles of trail between Belle Haven Park and Memorial Bridge. The official ribbon cutting was on April 15, 1972, and there’s been a bunch more ribbon cuttings since then as the trail stretched along the river, connecting to other bikeways.
The bike trail is part of the National Park Service, and the Friends group is an official partner of the George Washington Memorial Parkway through a Philanthropic Partnership Agreement.
There is an annual work plan with George Washington Memorial Parkway that outlines the activities that the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail will conduct. They've been focusing mainly on improving sight lines through vegetation management, pressure washing bridges and edging the trail and coordinating the schedule with the GWMP Trail Manager.
Last year Jack Sullivan won the award for his work on wastewater treatment and in 2019, it went to Kurt Moser for his work with students.