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Home / Montgomery Parks acquires Silver Spring property to create new Ednor Soapstone Quarry Special Park

Montgomery Parks acquires Silver Spring property to create new Ednor Soapstone Quarry Special Park

Home / Montgomery Parks acquires Silver Spring property to create new Ednor Soapstone Quarry Special Park

WHEATON, Md. — Montgomery Parks has acquired the site of a former equestrian facility in Silver Spring to create the new Ednor Soapstone Quarry Special Park – a new park to highlight the indigenous history of Montgomery County. The 32.87-acre property will ultimately provide conservation, research, and interpretation of an indigenous soapstone quarry, a rare resource within the state. Once the park is complete it will provide hands-on educational activities focused on daily life in Montgomery County over the last several thousand years.  

Soapstone, also called steatite, is a metamorphic rock that is only present in limited areas of the state. It is soft enough to be easily modified and dense enough to withstand and retain high heat, making it a highly valuable raw material for Indigenous communities to use daily, most often as cooking vessels but also formed into smoking pipes, tools, and personal artifacts.

In addition to interpretive amenities and activities, once developed the new park will provide a natural surface loop trail connecting the activity areas within the park, as well as providing opportunities for potential future connections to the stream valley within this park and to adjoining parks.

“We are very excited about the future of this site – it is one of the only soapstone quarries in Montgomery County that is available for research and public interpretation related to indigenous use of the resource and provides an opportunity to tell the broader story of the Indigenous experience,” said Cassandra Michaud, Cultural Resources Stewardship manager for Montgomery Parks.  

The acquisition supports the preservation of a significant archaeological site and a park dedicated to public education about the county’s Indigenous heritage. In addition, the parks department’s management of this property will support water supply protection goals by protecting natural resources in the Ednor Branch sub-watershed that drains directly to the Rocky Gorge Reservoir, thus protecting the region’s drinking water supply for the long term.

The first phase of the park’s development is expected to begin this winter with the demolition of the former equestrian-related structures, land stabilization, and removal of other debris and non-native invasive (NNI) plants. Fencing and signs will be installed as well to create a safe and usable park. Interpretive signage will be created highlighting the archaeological quarry site and related themes. In the next phase, the site will be developed as an interpretive park for Indigenous experiences with the specific park design determined in the coming years through a park facility planning process that will include input from local communities and stakeholders.

About Montgomery Parks        
Montgomery Parks manages more than 37,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 419 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high-quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems.

Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Please contact the Program Access Office at 301-495-2581 (Voice), MD Relay 7-1-1 or 800-552-7724 or ProgramAccess@MontgomeryParks.org to request a disability modification. Visit Montgomery Parks Program Access for more information.