Trail Rangers to patrol three D.C. bike, running paths

File photo: Metropolitan Branch Trail

A group of four people will begin patrolling the Metropolitan Branch Trail and other paths Monday in the wake of the most recent violent attack on the D.C. biking and running path.

The team of cyclists, who call themselves the Trail Rangers, received a $100,000 grant from the District of Columbia to watch not only the Northeast D.C. trail, but also the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and the Suitland Parkway, according to WAMU.

The Trail Rangers will not have authority to detain people; rather, they'll report any suspicious activity to D.C. police.

One of the group's members, Garrett Hennigan, told WAMU that they'll have riders on each trail every morning and night to help riders, keep trails clean and watch out for nefarious activity.

"We're going to be around, up and down, back and forth, morning rush, evening rush, and weekends 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.," Hennigan says.

The Metropolitan Branch Trail was the site of a violent beating earlier this June, during which a cyclist was attacked by several people near Third and R streets Northeast. It was also where a series of robberies took place in 2011.

Greg Johnson jogs along the trail regularly.

"Most people have their music blasting in their ears and are really into their workouts and they aren't paying attention," he says.

The Rangers' efforts were being discussed several months before as a way to attract more trail users. They'll be riding in bright green shirts with helpful tools to keep you moving.

"Instead of being stranded here, hopefully we'll come across you and we can help you patch up your tire," Hennigan says.

But the Rangers' presence is already drawing mixed reviews.

"I think it will be great to have some extra protection or security," says Pete Rowland of Alexandria.

"I think that's fine, but I don't think that's really essential," says Bill Matuszewski of D.C.

The Rangers will be out until the end of September, but in the meantime they hope to fill at least four paid positions. If you're interested in applying, click here. You have to be at least 21 years old and know how to ride a bike.