Volunteer spirit, sustainable focus make Montgomery County an inviting destination
Welcome to Montgomery County, where you’ll find a welcoming community that embraces diversity.
A study by personal finance website Wallet Hub reported that the county lays claim to four of the top 10 culturally diverse cities in the U.S. – along with residents eager to give back and make living there even better.
Additionally, Montgomery County offers quality-of-life amenities for everyone, with highly walkable urban neighborhoods, wide open rural spaces and ample opportunities for recreation. As a result, it’s no surprise the area is continuing to draw people from all over the world who are looking for the perfect place to put down roots.
Montgomery County Is a Socially Conscious Community
Many Montgomery County residents are frequent volunteers, regularly contributing to causes and organizations that matter to them. One of the groups fostering this high level of community involvement is the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, which is based in Germantown and connects volunteers with local nonprofit and government organizations.
Molly Callaway, the center’s director, encourages those interested in giving back to search for opportunities on www.montgomeryserves.org. She says there’s essentially something for every interest. For example, volunteers can work in museums or parks, prepare meals for homeless shelters, mentor or tutor students and help staff special events – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“We build connections between the critical work being done to address all kinds of needs in our community and the willing hands and hearts looking to make a difference,â€ Callaway says.
Recreation Assets Abound
Along with being an ideal place for those interested in volunteering, Montgomery County also draws people who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors.
The county is home to 421 parks that comprise 36,895 acres and nearly 250 miles of paved and natural surface trails, making the area a great fit for hikers, bikers and equestrians.
There’s Little Bennett Regional Park in Clarksburg, covering 3,700 acres with over 25 miles of scenic natural surface trails. The 872-acre Woodstock Equestrian Special Park, which is just north of Beallsville, features six miles of horseback riding and hiking trails.
In addition, Montgomery County’s park system includes more than 500 lakes, with Black Hill Regional Park in Boyds featuring the 505-acre Little Seneca Lake – perfect for activities like canoeing, kayaking and fishing – and Derwood’s Rock Creek Regional Park, which lays claim to both the 75-acre Lake Needwood and the 55-acre Lake Frank.
Water enthusiasts can also visit Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, which follows the route of the Potomac River for 184.5 miles from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, MD, and offers opportunities for boating and fishing.
Located in Howard and Montgomery counties, the 6,700-acre Patuxent River State Park is another favorite spot for fishing as it has a catch-and-release trout stream, while the 6,300-acre Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg extends along 14 scenic miles of Seneca Creek and includes the 90-acre Clopper Lake that’s perfect for paddling.
Building Sustainable Places
Montgomery County residents are also committed to building sustainable communities and doing their part to care for the environment.
Bethesda Green’s Be Green Hub works to enhance the area’s green economy, too, offering a four-year incubator program designed to help provide startup green and social impact businesses with the tools they need to succeed. Since its inception in 2009, Be Hub Green has served more than 40 companies and nonprofit organizations, and its work has resulted in a $26 million economic impact.
Many locals are involved with groups like One Montgomery Green (OMG), a Silver Spring-based organization that fosters partnerships to support environmental sustainability, promotes the development of a green economy and acts as a catalyst for environmental responsibility among businesses, residents and government agencies.
“We’re a convener,â€ says Wendy Howard, OMG’s executive director. “We work with diverse groups of people and let them know how they can practice being environmentally conscious in their daily lives and give back to the community, and we connect them with information and opportunities.”