Mt. Washington and the Jones Falls Trail

By: Charles Cohen, Urbanite

Even before Jeanette Ezzo has a chance to open her mouth, the birds begin making the case for her. On an early fall morning, they are dive-bombing in the tree tops, making a massive ruckus and helping demonstrate that this patch of woodland is indeed alive.

A Mount Washington resident and the research director for a Takoma Park medical publication firm, Ezzo stands on one side of a fault line that runs through this leafy northwest neighborhood. The city plans to build a bicycle and recreation trail through the mostly unused woods that wrap around the Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital on Rogers Avenue. A local group calling itself the Mount Washington Green Space Preservation Committee made an eleventh-hour plea to re-route the trail, but other residents have defended the plan, saying that a well-designed trail would give residents safe access to the kind of nature usually found in large parks a good drive away.

Ezzo is showing me what all the fuss is about. After just a few steps, the woods turn surprisingly remote, like a door suddenly slamming shut. We pick our way past a forgotten fitness trail, the pull-up bars and stretching stations slowly succumbing to the overgrowth. As Ezzo points out mature maples and talks about ecosystems and tree canopies and native species, she slowly creates the impression that this gulley

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