In the early 1980s, North Potomac was annexed from the city of Gaithersburg, which originated in 1765 as a tiny agricultural settlement called Log Town. Renamed in 1878 after a prominent property owner, Benjamin Gaither, Gaithersburg prospered through the coming of the railroad, the Civil War, and the onslaught of modern urban development. Today, North Potomac and Gaithersburg are part of Montgomery County, Maryland's most populous and affluent county. Located adjacent to Washington, D.C., Montgomery County is a major regional location for high-technology companies and a burgeoning area for the biotech industry.
Citizens in the Potomac Heritage Trail corridor are rediscovering history and reclaiming access to rivers and other outdoor places. The designation of a Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail corridor in 1983, an amendment to the National Trails System Act, is being used by communities in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania to develop and make connections among trails, historic sites and a range of recreational and educational opportunities. Five trails are currently recognized as segments of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail: the 70-mile Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail between Ohiopyle and Seward, Pennsylvania; the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage between Cumberland, Maryland, and Ohiopyle and between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Ohiopyle; the 184.5-mile C & O Canal Towpath between Georgetown (in the District of Columbia) and Cumberland, Maryland; the 17-mile Mount Vernon Trail; and the 10-mile Potomac Heritage Trail in northern Virginia.
Residents can also take part in recreation activities and clubs that reflect individual interest. One such organization is The Potomac River Jazz Club, which is a nonprofit society whose purpose is to preserve, encourage and promote the playing and appreciation of traditional jazz. Outdoor activities can be enjoyed at the Potomac Palisades, which offers 100 acres of peaceful woodland, and the Potomac Overlook Nature Center, which offers year-round programs of outdoor adventure and environmental education.
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