Friday, January 14 2011 @ 02:12 PM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
I know everyone has been anxiously awaiting new information pertaining to single-track trail usage at Loch Raven Reservoir. As everyone knows, it was stated by DPW at the last public meeting that they would have a review of our plan by the end of November. This however did not happen. Due to the overwhelming support from the public in their reach out to Senator Brochin, the Senator called a meeting to talk about the issue at hand.
Today January 11th 2011 I was afforded the chance to sit down with the Senator. The meeting consisted of Gary Nusinov (STR) and Bob Compton (MORE) in the role of “constituents and recreational advocates”, Senator Brochin, representatives from DPW including Director Foxx, Clark Howells, Marcia Collins, Ralph Cullison, Celeste Amato, Frank Boston III (representing UNDER AMOUR), and two gentlemen that I can not remember their names, one from DPW and the other with Mr. Boston.
First let me say what a pleasure it was to meet Senator Brochin. He is very passionate about Loch Raven. He has been on the forefront of issues effecting the watershed for more than twenty years. Mr Brochin clearly stated that the number one threat to Loch Raven is Deer. That statement is backed up by twenty years of DPW science. He lobbied for deer management through three Mayors.
Without going into the whole word for word analysis of the meeting, I will layout the general theme.
DPW presented their view of the history and current state of Loch Raven Reservoir. It was stated that we would not be told what the evaluation of our plan is UNTIL the mayor is informed. A couple of facts were out of place but with so much time between meetings, that is almost expected. However if you would like to see what DPW and John Markley from Baltimore County DEPRM have to say, you can visit Baltometro.org (Baltimore Metropolitan Council) and search for articles Titled “Reservoir bike trails RTG brief” by Clark Howells [I think that's the right link] and “Comments on Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts, Inc. Recreational Trail Use Plan Proposal” by John D. Markley. The comments will astonish you.
Senator Brochin Shortened the DPW presentation in order to let Bob and Gary speak
Bob Compton, Timonium resident and MORE's Co-Chair of the MTB task Force reorganized the history of our plight while placing on the table a stack of support that has come from citizens and businesses in and around Maryland. This included petitions, letters of recommendation, letters of support and some incriminating pictures of some damage done to the reservoir by a local utility company. . Everyone in the room could not believe that the utility company was clearing their easement in the reservoir buffer lands and DPW was not aware. He also stated that DPW plans on hiring a local tree company to widen the woods roads so that two vehicles may pass. Bob mentioned that the Trail plan was handed in to the DPW for review. The reviewing group (Reservoir Technical Group) contained members were that already opposed to bikes in the original meetings so why would they choose any differently now.
Senator Brochin repeated that recreational activity at Loch Raven is something that his constituents are die-hard about. He repeated that the deer are the number one cause of destruction. He requested that before the Mayor is informed from DPW that we all sit in a room and try and work this out and do not leave the room until it is done. He clearly stated that this can be worked out. He offered time at his office in Annapolis for us to meet again in order to solve this mess. Director Foxx said he would still consult with the Mayor first, but agreed that he work tell her that any decision they have come to is not final.
Mr. Boston informed the group of UNDER AMOUR's continued support of proper recreational access at Loch Raven. He stated that he liked the direction that the Senator was moving the conversation.
The DPW theme is that access is not an issue and that the plan that we submitted is only going to be turned down because of the laws that they have to follow, the Buffer Protection Management Ordinance.
Gary Nusinov was then given a chance to speak. Gary presented a pile of DPW's scientific studies and stated that within all of the studies, mountain bikes are not mentioned and that if the problem was that bad, then the bikes would be mentioned separately from recreation. He corrected the assertion that impact is directly correlated to bikes since many trails were in existence well before mountain bikes were invented. He re-stated that the plan that MORE submitted was a trail use plan for all recreation and that DPW had no intention of creating a recreational plan that properly met the needs of all users. Gary then referred to the Buffer Protection and Management Ordinance and read out loud. In a word, trails are allowed in the area and much of the damage we see from DPW in the bufferland is strictly prohibited. An example brought up was the recent dumping of fresh un-compacted asphalt at the head of the trail next to a stream. There was a lot of back and forth talk about some things that came to light such as our impact being equal to only 6 acres, other grandfathered uses, storm-water issues, and the fact that absolutely nobody in the room could disagree with the statement that Loch Raven will be better than it is now if our trail plan is accepted.
The Senator reinforced the fact that he wants to sit down in the next few weeks to hatch this out. It was brought up that the rangers could be doing much more useful things with their time then harassing the citizens and criminalizing them. The Senator read a letter from a doctor who talked about losing weight because of Mountain Biking at Loch Raven and the direct impact that the newly enforced rules would have on him. He continually expressed his opinion that we are all neighbors and that we enjoy Loch Raven and that the DPW is using too much government and it is unnecessary and unreasonable.
The meeting ended with a promise to all get back in the room and work this out, ASAP.
Please everyone show your support for Senator Brochin. His address is 705 York Road, Towson. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org Please send him a letter of gratitude! Also, there is a town hall meeting tomorrow night Jan 12th (we just heard) about loch raven with Senator Brochin. For questions call 410-823-7087
Small Lecture : The worst thing you can do is create new trails, or use newly created trails! This is the number one argument against all recreation in the bufferland! STOP IT.
Thanks and please show your support for the Senator. I've got feeling...