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Rustic Roads

Rustic roads are roads in the Agricultural Reserve or rural parts of Montgomery County that exemplify the rural and agricultural character of the area. Exceptional rustic roads are roads that have such unusual and pleasing character that preservation of these roads is highly desirable.

Rustic and Exceptional rustic roads are preserved under the Rustic Roads Program, which provides a system for evaluating, protecting, and enhancing these scenic roadways. The program includes 98 roads. These roads are listed and described in the Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan and in other area Master Plans as shown below.

Visit a Rustic Road

For visitors and area residents who live outside of the Agricultural Reserve, the Rustic Roads Program may be unfamiliar. Below are just a few ideas for trips into the Agricultural Reserve, often along our Rustic Roads:


  • March 2016: The RRAC welcomes Mike Knapp as the new staff coordinator and thanks Chris Myers for his support in the last year.

  • January, 2016: Congratulations to RRAC member Christopher Marston and his co-executive editor, Justine Christianson, on the publication of their new book, Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering. The book is published by the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record. For information on or requesting or downloading a copy, follow the link above.

  • On October 19, 2015, the RRAC presented a status report to the County Council's Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment. View the presentation here.

  • Have you ever wondered how to find a rustic road? The new brown street name signs will make it easy to tell. Brown street name sign on a rustic road

    In 2012, the RRAC and MCDOT worked together to create a special steet name sign for rustic roads with a brown background. As you drive these roads, you should be starting to see the transition. It will take some time to change all of the signs, so for now, you will see both brown and green street name signs for roads in the Rustic Roads Program. In time, all of the rustic and exceptional rustic roads will be identified by their brown street name signs.

  • View the Rustic Roads Biennial Report (June 2015).
  • November 2014: Staff briefed the Planning Board on the Master Plan of Highways and Transitways Update on November 20, 2014 (staff report here). Descriptions of 28 current rustic roads and consideration of 13 roads that have been nominated for addition to the rustic roads program are included in this update. Community comments may be sent to Leslie Saville and Brian Jeeves (contact info below).

Master Plans

Burnt Hill Road
  • Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan (1996)
    This document provides information about the program, its intent, history and regulations, as well as descriptions of the initial 66 roads designated under the program.
  • Rustic Roads Functional Master Plan, Clarksburg Master Plan & Hyattstown Special Study Area, Boyds Master Plan & Gaithersburg Vicinity Master Plan Amendment (2004)
  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
Area Master Plans with Rustic Road DesignationsWest Offutt Road

Rustic Roads Advisory Committee

The Rustic Roads Program is overseen by the Rustic Roads Advisory Committee (RRAC) and three agencies. The RRAC is comprised of seven citizen members who are appointed by the County Executive; they review and advise the County Executive, County Council, Planning Board, Department of Transportation, Department of Permitting Services and other county agencies on matters concerning rustic roads. Members review and comment upon roadway classifications, policies, regulations, and promote public awareness of the Rustic Roads Program.

Current members of the RRAC are:

Chair: Christopher Marston, Rural preservation
Todd Greenstone, Farmer
Tom Hartsock, Farmer
Sarah Navid, Engineer
Bob Tworkowski, Civic representative
Audrey Patton, Farmer, AAC representative
Jane Thompson, Civic representative
Staff coordinator:Michael Knapp (DPS)
Non-voting member:Leslie Saville (M-NCPPC)

RRAC Meetings

The RRAC meets six or more times a year. Meetings are normally held at 6:00 p.m. in the 9st Floor Conference Room of the Executive Office Building (note new time and conference room), 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, MD. After 6:00 pm, use the cafeteria entry on the south side of the building. Meetings are open to the public. The anticipated meeting schedule is below. To confirm the meeting will be held, to confirm the location, or to have an item placed on the agenda, please call the RRAC Staff Coordinator, Michael Knapp, 240-777-6335.

Upcoming meetings Pennyfield Lock Road
  • Tuesday, July 26 | agenda
  • Tuesday, September 13
  • Tuesday, October 25
  • Tuesday, November 29
  • Tuesday, January 24, 2017
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2017
  • Tuesday, March 28, 2017
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Past Meetings

2016 |Tuesday, June 28 | Tuesday, May 31| agenda | Tuesday, May 3 | agenda | April 26 agenda Note: rescheduled due to a lack of a quorum | March 22 agenda | minutes | February 23 agenda | minutes | January 26 agenda | Note: cancelled due to storm closures

2015 | Dec 1 agenda | minutes | Oct 27 agenda | minutes | Sept 22 agenda | minutes | Aug 25 agenda | minutes | May 26 agenda | minutes | April 28 agenda | minutes | March 24 agenda | minutes | February 24 agenda | minutes | Feb 3 (Jan 27 postponed due to weather) agenda | minutes

2014 | Nov 5 agenda | minutes | Oct 7 agenda | minutes | September 3 agenda | minutes | June 24 (no quorum) agenda | unofficial minutes | May 28 agenda | minutes | April 28 agenda | minutes | March 25 agenda | minutes | February 25 agenda | minutes | February 11 (Jan meeting delayed by weather) agenda| minutes |

2013 | December | agenda | minutes | October | agenda | minutes | September | agenda | minutes | August | agenda | minutes | July | agenda | minutes | May | agenda | minutes | April | agenda | minutes | March | agenda | minutes | March | agenda | minutes | January | agenda | minutes

2012 | November | agenda (originally scheduled for October 30, 2012) | September | agenda | June | agenda | May | agenda | minutes | April | agenda | March | agenda | minutes | February | agenda | minutes | January | agenda | minutes

2011 | November | agenda | minutes | September | agenda | June | agenda | minutes | May | agenda | April | agenda | minutes | March | February | agenda | minutes

2010 | November | agenda | minutes | September | agenda | minutes | May | agenda | minutes | April | minutes | March | agenda | minutes | January | agenda | minutes

2009 | December minutes | October | September minutes | June minutes| Mayminutes | April minutes| March minutes| February minutes

2008 | December | November minutes| October minutes| September minutes (Joint meeting with the Ag Advisory Committee and Ag Preservation Advisory Board) | June minutes | May minutes | April 22 minutes | April 1 minutes| February | January

Agency Contacts

The three agencies overseeing the program and their responsibilities are:

  1. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
  2. Department of Transportation (DOT)
    • Executive regulations and policies
    • Roadway Maintenance, Division of Highway Services (240-777-0311)
  3. Department of Permitting Services
    • Review and permitting of work in rustic roads right-of-way
    • Staff Coordination with Rustic Roads Advisory Committee
    • Contact: Michael Knapp, 240-777-6335, or

Additonal Documents

Last updated: October 20, 2016