Rustic Roads Advisory Committee Wins Royce Hanson Award from the Montgomery Countryside Alliance

October 11, 2018

rustic road

Group of citizen representatives to be honored at awards event on October 21 for commitment to protecting the history of the Agricultural Reserve

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce that the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee is being honored with the Royce Hanson Award from the Montgomery Countryside Alliance.

The award recognizes the committee’s outstanding commitment to protect Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. The award is named after its first recipient, Royce Hanson, former Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board and original architect of the Ag Reserve.

The members of the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee, comprised of citizen members and representatives of the Planning Department and County Executive’s office, oversee Montgomery County’s Rustic Roads Program. This program was started 25 years ago to preserve the historic and scenic roadways that reflect the agricultural character and rural origins of Montgomery County. The members of the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee advise the Montgomery County Executive, County Council and Planning Board on matters affecting the roads.

The award ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 21, 2018 at St. Mary’s Pavilion in Barnesville, MD.

“This award means so much to the Planning Department and Rustic Roads Advisory Committee in honoring our continuing efforts to preserve an important piece of Montgomery County’s rural history,” says Planning Director Gwen Wright. “We hope this recognition will encourage more people to learn about the Rustic Roads Program and enjoy traveling on our preserved trails and trade routes.”

The designated rustic roads can be identified by new brown street name signs with a special logo. Thanks to funding from the Montgomery County Council, efforts by the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee and staff at the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, the installation of the special signs should be completed over the next few months.

About the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee

Seven citizen members (three farmers, two civic association members, a member with knowledge of roadway engineering and a member with knowledge of rural preservation techniques) serve on the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee, together with a Planning Department representative appointed by the Planning Board and staff provided by the County Executive. The members review master plan designations of the roads, development proposals and public projects such as bridge replacements, and they participate in events such as Poolesville Day and Field & Fiddle to promote public awareness and knowledge of the roads.

About the Rustic Roads Program

The roads in the program reflect the history of Montgomery County—from native American hunting trails and mill roads to westward expansion routes, canal and lock roads, and railroad connection roads. Local roads connected our farms to mills and markets for lumber, food and cash crops, and connected communities to one another for education, worship and governance.

Today, the Rustic Roads Program continues to support local farming and the Agricultural Reserve. These narrow, historic roads allow residents to safely share the lanes with slow-moving farm equipment and horses. For visitors to pick-your-own farms, wineries and on-farm breweries, the small roads underscore the nature of the working landscape and enhance the experience of hiking, driving or riding a bike through the Reserve.

Montgomery County was early in recognizing the value of our small, historic farm roads, with the County Council appointing a task force to study the issue in 1989 and establishing the Rustic Roads Program through county law in 1993. Through the Council’s approval of two functional master plans and 10 area master plans, 98 roads have been placed in the program. Residents have nominated more than a dozen more roads for addition to the program, so the number of designated rustic roads and the community support for them continue to grow.

For more information about the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee and Rustic Roads Program, contact Leslie Saville at the Montgomery County Planning Department at leslie.saville@montgomeryplanning.org or tel. 301-495-2194.

About The Montgomery County Planning Department

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, aims to improve quality of life by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for current and future generations. The Planning Department creates great communities by developing master plans, reviewing applications for development and analyzing various types of information to help public officials plan for Montgomery County’s future. The Department comprises about 150 staff members and provides recommendations, information, analysis and services to the Montgomery County Planning Board, the County Council, the County Executive, other government agencies and the public. Visit www.montgomeryplanning.org.