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Maryland Outdoor Spaces – Legislator Favorites

By February 18, 2021Blog

Maryland Outdoor Spaces – Legislator Favorites

On January 21, 2021, more than 60 legislators attended the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s virtual legislative reception. They were invited to share some of their favorite outdoor spots in their districts and throughout Maryland. Their contributions were so wonderful that we were asked to compile them and send them to attendees. As Senate President Bill Ferguson said, “Our parks are those spaces that bring Marylanders together to get that fundamental belief in love of family, of friends, of each other.” “Our 6,400 parks and green spaces are a great way to boost your mental and overall health” added House Speaker Adrienne Jones. Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Jeanne Haddaway-Riccio reminded us all how diverse Maryland is, and we see this in the list of favorite spots below.

The sites on the list below are not exhaustive, but were those suggested by legislators and guests present that evening as places they visit to get outdoors and feel refreshed and recharged. The entries include a word or two about the site, the name of the legislator suggesting the site, and a website for more information.

Anne Arundel County

Thomas Point Park

B&A Trail, great for walking, biking, rollerblading, and more, stretches from Boulters Way in Annapolis to Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie, Maryland. The Earleigh Heights Ranger Station (ca. 1889) is located in Severna Park with parking available on the premises. A gazebo, horticultural gardens and park benches are found at the Hatton-Regester Green property in Severna Park – Senator Pam Beidle

BWI Trail picks up from the Dorsey Road end of the B&A Trail and circles BWI Airport for an additional 12 miles of paved trail. A parking lot and playground are located at the Thomas A. Dixon Observation Area. Several scenic views of the BWI Airport are found along this loop trail. – Senator Pam Beidle

Thomas Point Park – This park boasts a beautiful view of a lighthouse. “A silver lining of the struggles over the last year is that we have renewed interest in and passion for outdoors and green spaces, specifically those that are accessible that have an eye towards equity. It’s good not just for the bay but for health in general.” – Senator Sarah Elfreth

Tolly Point Shoal offers a great spot for fishing – Delegate Dana Jones

Lake Ogleton offers a great spot to fish, crab, and kayak. You can see lots of nesting ospreys in the right season. – Delegate Dana Jones

Truxton Park offers a mile and a half hiking trail and a boat launch ramp. – Delegate Shaneka Henson

 

Baltimore City

Loch Raven Reservoir is one of the most pristine outdoor locations in the Baltimore metropolitan area, with resplendent plants and wildlife and beautiful water vistas, where visitors can enjoy miles of hiking trails that wind their way along the banks of the reservoir. Hikers and bikers can expect to see a wide variety of birds, including ravens, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, and even bald eagles, as well as a lush and varied array of plants and trees, including oaks, beeches, maples, poplars, raspberries, and wild roses. – Speaker Adrienne Jones

Patterson Park Pagoda. The pagoda (1891) is one of Senate President Bill Ferguson’s favorite spots in Patterson Park, a historic site important in the War of 1812 which is now frequented by neighborhood schools and churches for its athletic fields and is home to one of the two ice rinks available in the city. –Senate President Bill Ferguson

Patterson Park Pagoda

Patterson Park Pagoda

Jones Falls Trail is a 10-mile hiking biking trail along the Jones Falls that wraps around Druid Hill Reservoir. – Delegate Maggie McIntosh

Stoney Run. Beautiful stream that runs through Baltimore, go over a bridge, and into Wyman Park area. – Delegate Maggie McIntosh

Druid Hill Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same planner that designed Central Park in New York City. It is the third oldest public park in the United States. – Delegate Maggie McIntosh. 

Clifton Park https://parkrxamerica.org/

Clifton Park is one of the historic parks in Baltimore City. It offers a lot of amenities, including gardens and paths. – Delegate Dana Stein 

Lake Montebello is a great 1.4-mile loop trail good for running and biking. – Delegate Dana Stein. 

Patterson Park neighborhoods have become greener through various community efforts and are a great place to take a lovely walk. There is “strengthened social fabric through greening.” – Delegate Robbyn Lewis

Wyman Park is described as a 16-acre urban sanctuary. “We all want to be outside. We all want fresh air. We all want green space.” – Delegate Regina T. Boyce

Herring Run Park consists of 375 acres of woodlands that extends 2.3 miles from Morgan State University to I-895, also designed by the Olmsted brothers. – Delegate Regina T. Boyce

Walking the Olmsted – You can take a self-guided tour that visits various historical, cultural and scenic points of interest – Delegate Regina T. Boyce 

 

Baltimore County

Irvine Nature Center boasts 200 acres of meadows, woodlands, and wetlands and a great environmental education center. – Delegate Dana Stein 

Radebaugh Park, Towson opened at the beginning of the pandemic. Green Towson Alliance (GTA), state, and local government partnership. GTA working on the “Six Bridges Trail” to connect neighborhoods along the Herring Run to the new park – Delegate Cathi Forbes

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 16,043 acres and eight developed recreational areas. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails – Delegate Sheila Ruth 

Patapsco Valley State Park – Cascade Trail in the Avalon area. A bonus is the nearby swinging bridge – Delegate Courtney Watson

Catonsville Rails to Trails converts abandoned rail and trolley lines to hiking trails. – Delegate Shelia Ruth

Soldiers Delight is a 1900-acre space boasting over 39 rare, threatened and endangered plant species and 7 miles of trails. – Delegate Benjamin Brooks

Gunpowder Falls State Park covers over 18,000 acres in Harford and Baltimore Counties and hosts a varied topography, ranging from tidal wetlands to steep and rugged slopes. The park features more than 120 miles of multi-use trails, wildlands, historic sites, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and a swimming beach and marina – Delegate Ric Metzger

Gunpowder Falls State Park, photo provided by DNR

Cox’s Point State Park is a 25.9-acre waterfront park offering fishing, a boat ramp, picnicking and more. Eastern Baltimore County boasts 250 miles of shoreline: “During this pandemic I’ve been getting my coffee…I’ve been going to the park and just sitting in the park and breathing the fresh air.” – Delegate Ric Metzger

Fort Howard State Park’s historical significance is its connection with the largest invasion of the United States in history in 1814. The British had landed about seven thousand men near the site that later became Fort Howard – Delegate Ric Metzger

 

Calvert County

Calvert Cliffs State Park and nearby Flag Ponds Nature Park offer stunning views and fossil hunting that attracts visitors from all over the country. “I am honored to have Calvert Cliffs in my district, with its beautiful views, and serene, peaceful setting. I am happy to know people were able to take advantage of this wonderful resource during this difficult time.” – Senator Jack Bailey  

Charles County

Nanjemoy Creek WMA is mostly forested, providing opportunity to see white-tailed deer, turkey, and forest interior dwelling birds. Along the marsh, herons, bald eagles, osprey, migratory songbirds, raccoons, otters and muskrat are some of the wildlife that you might see – Senator Arthur Ellis. 

Smallwood State Park, a 628-acre park, offers a marina, boat launching ramps, a picnic area, camping area, pavilions, a recycled tire playground and nature trails – Senator Arthur Ellis 

Mallows Bay

Mallows Bay is home to nearly 200 historic shipwrecks dating from the Revolutionary War through the present, known as the “Ghost Fleet” of Mallows Bay. The best way to see the site is by kayak – Senator Arthur Ellis

Indian Head Rail Trail offers 16-17 miles walking and hiking and birding (eagles, wild turkeys). We do need to make sure that everyone has the ability to easily visit some of these beautiful and health-improving sites. “We have to make sure that these beautiful sites are accessible to all our citizens as an environmental justice issue.” – Senator Arthur Ellis 

 

Frederick County

C&O Canal – The C&O Canal National Historic Park extends along the Potomac River shoreline from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, MD. The Canal’s entire 185-mile long towpath is restored, open to hikers and bikers and is accessible from many points in Frederick County. – Delegate Ken Kerr 

Appalachian Trail – Almost 40 miles of the AT, as it is affectionately known, cross Maryland, most of which follow the ridgeline of South Mountain.– Delegate Ken Kerr 

Gambrill State Park is a beautiful mountain park, located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County. Its most popular feature is the 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. “I wasn’t fortunate to have been born in Frederick, but I was smart enough to make it my home.” – Delegate Ken Kerr

Carroll Creek Park is a linear park through beautiful downtown Frederick. Spanning more than a mile, this creek walk offers more than just a beautiful view; specialty shops, outdoor dining, breweries and a distillery are among the businesses located along the park – Delegate Ken Kerr

Image result for carroll creek park

Carroll Creek Park

Civil war battlefields. Frederick County was at the crossroads of America’s Civil War. Located on the Mason-Dixon Line, Frederick County was the site of the Battle of South Mountain (1862) and the Battle of Monocacy (1864). Its towns were alternately occupied by troops from both sides in the days before the nearby battles of Antietam (1862) and Gettysburg (1863). – Delegate Ken Kerr 

Catoctin Mountain Park, where Camp David is, lies within the mountainous area known as the Blue Ridge Province. This 5,810-acre hardwood forest park offers its refreshing streams and scenic vistas. – Delegate Ken Kerr 

 

Harford County

Swan Harbor Farm Park in Harford County for a great place to hike, bird watch and see where the Susquehanna meets the Bay – Susanne Zilberfarb, MAEF 

 

Howard County

Wincopin Trails – “My district is filled with trails along the Middle and Little Patuxent Rivers and even a really beautiful spot where the two come together.” – Delegate Jen Terrasa. (Delegate Harrison Fletcher confirms there is great fishing there! “Everyone knows how much I love fishing… I keep a couple fishing rods and tackle box in my trunk” – Delegate Andrea Harrison Fletcher

Patapsco Valley State Park extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River, encompassing 16,043 acres and
eight developed recreational areas. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails – Delegate Jessica Feldmark

 

Montgomery County

Blackhill Regional Park – 2,000 acres with a lake for canoeing and paddle-boarding, dog park, trails, fishing  – Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo

Patuxent River State Park

Patuxent River State Park in Brookeville, Maryland offers 6,700 acres of natural areas and farmlands. Recreational use is primarily hunting, fishing, hiking and horseback riding. The park includes a catch and release trout stream, designated hunting areas and unmarked hiking and equestrian trails – Delegate Pamela Queen 

Rock Creek Park and trails –This 1,754-acre city park was officially authorized in 1890, making it the third national park to be designated by the federal government. It offers visitors the opportunity to escape the bustle of the city and find a peaceful refuge, recreation, fresh air, majestic trees, wild animals, and thousands of years of human history – Delegate Pamela Queen, Delegate Jared Solomon, Delegate Jim Gilchrist 

Lake Needwood – Trails follow the shoreline of Lake Needwood in Rock Creek Regional Park and meander through adjoining forest. The Lake Needwood area offers canoeing, paddle-boarding, and fishing Patuxent River State Park 8 – Delegate Bonnie Cullison, Delegate Jim Gilchrist 

Underground Railroad Experience Trail. The trail was created to provide more pedestrian trails in the

Oakley Cabin Trail

community, preserve the rural landscape and commemorate a part of the county’s history. Come during Heritage Days in June or Emancipation Day in November. – Delegate Pamela Queen  

Oakley Cabin African-American Museum and Park. An African American roadside community lived and worked on this historic site from emancipation well into the 20th century. Their culture and traditions heavily influenced those of surrounding communities, and their story is deeply woven into Montgomery County’s rich history. At the center of this site is Oakley Cabin, which was inhabited until 1976 and now serves as a living history museum. – Delegate Pamela Queen

Seneca Creek State Park is composed of 6,300 acres. The Clopper Day-Use Area contains many scenic areas, including the 90-acre Clopper Lake, surrounded by forests and fields. Picnicking, boat rentals, trails and a tire playground are just some of its recreational opportunities. Over 50 miles of trails are open for hiking, horseback riding and bicycling which wind through a variety of habitat. – Delegate James Gilchrist 

North Bethesda/Bethesda Trolley Trail- The Bethesda Trolley Trail is a great urban hike that mixes paved trails, major highway crossings via pedestrian bridges and a bit of street hiking to link them all together. The cool thing about this hike is that you go right through the heart of Bethesda. – Delegate James Gilchrist 

C&O Canal – Great Falls, Potomac MD

C&O Canal National Historic Park– The 184.5-mile-long recreational, educational and historic attraction welcomes over 5 million visitors each year. It is a major economic driver for the four Maryland counties – including Montgomery County – and the ten Canal Towns it passes through, responsible for approximately $98.4 million in visitor spending in 2019. – Delegate James Gilchrist

Audubon Naturalist Society Woodend Sanctuary is a peaceful 40-acre oasis offering wildflower meadows, meandering woodland trails, native plant gardens, and aquatic life. It’s a great place for kids and family, and they are working on a new ADA-accessible Oakley Cabin Trail, Potomac MD 9 trail and a veteran’s program to use it, partly funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. – Delegate Jared Solomon 

Matthew Henson Trail

Sligo Creek Trail – This roughly 10.2-hard surface trail is one of the oldest in the County. Several paved and a few unpaved trails are scattered throughout the park and connect other park facilities, schools, and neighborhoods to the main trail. It’s a great place to train for running. – Delegate Lorig Charkoudian 

Matthew Henson Trail – The 4.2 mile, 8-foot-wide hard surface trail features 0.6 miles of wooden boardwalk. The trail is surrounded by parkland, forested area, thousands of trees and shrubs, and the Turkey Branch Stream. – Delegate Bonnie Cullison 

 

Queen Anne’s County

Cross Island Trail

Kent Island Cross Island Trail. The 6+-mile trail, wandering through farmland, meadows, wetlands, and woods, spans from Terrapin Park to the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center at Kent Narrows and now beyond. The trail crosses several creeks with wooden bridges, offering a spectacular view of waterfowl and wetlands. – Senator Adelaide Eckhardt, Delegate Steven Arentz, Commissioner Chris Corchiarino

Terrapin Park. This 276-acre nature park features a 3.25-mile oyster chaff walking trail, which meanders through wildflower meadows, wetlands, tidal ponds, woodlands and sandy beaches. The trail provides a unique vantage point for viewing an incredible variety of waterfowl, wildlife and plant species. A gazebo and wheelchair-accessible boardwalk located along the beach afford a spectacular view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. – Commissioner Chris Corchiarino 

Prince George’s County

Riverdale Park Trail – Prince George’s County has 165 miles of trail in its park system, including paved trails for walking, biking, running, skating; natural surface trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding; and water trails for canoeing and kayaking. Senator Pinsky likes to start at Riverdale Park and bike down to the waterfront or bike up to Lake Artemesia Natural Area in College Park. – Senator Paul Pinsky 

Laurel, Maryland – Laurel is a wonderful place to walk, offering a walking tour of historic Laurel through the City’s website. You can walk to three different counties from there! – Delegate Mary Lehman

 

Worcester County

Assateague Island is a barrier island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Sinepuxent Bay on the west, with land owned by both the federal and state government. Its miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, surfing and fishing. The bayside offers visitors the chance to explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. The marsh areas have a variety of wildlife, including deer, waterfowl and of course the wild horses. – Delegate Wayne Hartman

Assateague Island Marshes

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