WABA hires trail rangers to help bicyclists in D.C. area

WASHINGTON – It could be the greatest summer job ever.

That’s how Jordan Albright looks at her new gig as a trail ranger with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. She still can’t believe “that somebody would pay me to bike around Washington, D.C.”

Trail rangers will do much more than just ride their bikes.

“We are essentially friendly ambassadors of Washington’s off-road trails,” says Garrett Hennigan, who was training the rangers.

Hennigan was working with rangers along the Metropolitan Branch Trail where a cyclist was attacked by a group of up to 15 young people earlier this spring. That case is still being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department.

Hennigan said the trail rangers are not a security force, but they will assist cyclists with all kinds of issues, from flat tires to obstacles on the trails.

As Hennigan was being interviewed by WTOP, Ursula Sandstrom, one of the rangers- in-training, helped out Mike Adams, a cyclist who was looking for directions. Adams wanted to get oriented as he explored the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Since he was new to the area, Adams found the rangers to be a big help.

“She just gave me a map!” he said.

Adams joked that it was reassuring to know that someone would be out there on the trail, should he end up flying over his handlebars. But on a more serious note, he said he has enjoying discovering how bike-friendly the D.C. area can be.

Sandstrom said she was attracted to the job of trail ranger because she was eager to spend time outdoors. She jumped at the chance to be active in a city she loves.

“I just graduated from college,” she said. “I spent the last four years inside on a chair for hours at a time.”

Andrew Arlotto, 16, a high school student in D.C., said the job was a great fit for him as well.

“I’ve lived here in the city all my life and I love biking and I love being outdoors,” he said.

You can follow the Trail Rangers on Strava and keep tabs on what WABA is up to online.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @kateryanWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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