Thursday, November 20, 2014
TOUR WILLETT BRANCH STREAM THIS SATURDAY IN BETHESDA
While the waters of this stream once flowed in a wider, natural path - and helped to power a mill in the vicinity of today's Little Falls Parkway - Willett Branch is mostly a channelized storm sewer today, running through concrete. A potential daylighting of tunneled sections, and a naturalization of the stream to its original state, are two potential outcomes of the Westbard Sector Plan rewrite currently underway.
See how it is currently this Saturday, in a walk alongside the creek's path starting at the Westwood Center II parking lot, at 5110 Ridgefield Road. The truly adventurous can make a return trip through the stream itself, although you'll want waterproof boots for that. Bring a flashlight, as well, for the return trip. While the entire tour will be on pavement, there is a steep grade to enter and exit the concrete creek bed. A round trip will be less than a mile.
The LFWA is hosting the walk to raise more awareness of the stream's fragile and contaminated state, and to advocate for improvements and a linear Willett Branch Park to be part of the Westbard Sector Plan recommendations. I'd like to see the beleaguered Willett Branch get the same protection in any future redevelopment in the Westbard area as Ten Mile Creek received in Clarksburg earlier this year.