Piney Orchard's developers are giving Anne Arundel County 4.1 miles of old railroad right-of-way to use for a new bike trail, said a company spokesman.
"We should be deeding the trail over to them probably by the end of this month or early May," said Robert Strott, senior vice president of Constellation Real Estate Inc., developer of Piney Orchard. The firm is also part of the Constellation Holdings Inc. wholly-owned subsidiaries of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.
Constellation's land donation will count toward open space and recreational space requirements for Piney Orchard, a 2,000-acre planned community, Mr. Strott said.
"The county gets a trail. We get recreation credits," he said.
The property will form the primary leg of the planned West County Trail, which will begin at the Odenton Maryland Rail Commuter Service station and follow the old Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad right-of-way almost to the Patuxent River. A spur will connect the trail to Gambrills.
Some land still needs to be bought, said Jack Keene, chief of planning and construction for the county's department of recreation and parks.
Plans call for the trail to connect at the Patuxent River with a planned path in Prince George's County. That path would link Bowie with Route 450 at Martin Luther King Jr. Highway.
Anne Arundel County has set aside $250,000 to buy land and do engineering work for the trail, Mr. Keene said. He also said county officials don't know how much the trail will cost, or when it will be built.
Bridges across the Little Patuxent and Patuxent rivers must be rebuilt to accommodate the trail, Mr. Keene said.
Project Open Space funds may pay for part of the project, he said. Also, federal transportation money might be available because the trail would be ideal for commuters.
County planners hope the trail eventually connects with the South Shore Trail, another planned bike path connecting Gambrills to Annapolis.