This article is from the CUMBERLAND TIMES
Mountain Marylanders back governor’s plan for state trail network
CUMBERLAND — The mountain side of Maryland and those living closer to metropolitan centers can at least agree on one thing — there is value when investing in local trail systems.
With many legislative initiatives, there often is a split on what is good for one part of the state and what is good for Mountain Maryland.
This time, “I think the two sides do agree,” said Bill Atkinson on Friday, two days after Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the state’s first Maryland Trails: A Greener Way To Go plan.
The development of the plan was spearheaded by the state Department of Transportation. It focuses on a long-term projection of how a seamless trail network throughout the state can increase commuter options. Atkinson works for the Maryland Department of Planning and is a local representative for the Pennsylvania-based Trail Towns Program. He also is appointed as an advisory member to the Garrett Trails organization by the Garrett County commissioners.
Atkinson said the annual PACE reception in Annapolis about a week ago, where both Garrett Trails and the Allegany County-based Mountain Maryland Trails organization collaborated on a booth to showcase their positive economic impact, was “the first time we really joined forces.”
“We received a lot of interest at PACE with the combined booth,” said Mike Dreisbach, Mountain Maryland Trails president. “It looks like MMT and Garrett Trails can help the governor add about another 200 miles to make it 1,000 miles in Maryland.”
Atkinson, an avid bicyclist, said people already are using portions of the 20.47-mile Great Allegheny Passage in Allegany County as a commuting option on good-weather days. The gradual decline from Frostburg east to Cumberland provides an easy ride to work, he said.
“We found that to be one of those sidebars to the trail experience,” Atkinson said. “It’s easy to get to work that way. It’s recreation, it’s transportation and it’s economic development.”
State officials appear eager to agree.
“Working together, we can create a great transportation trails network that takes residents to where they need to go by bicycle or foot without ever having to get into their cars,” said Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley in a news release.
Thank you for your interest in and support of the Gwynns Falls Trail, Baltimore’s 15 mile linear recreational trail that runs from the I-70 Park & Ride to the Middle Branch of the Patapsco and the Inner Harbor. We call the trail Baltimore’s Greenway to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Gwynns Falls Trail Council is an all volunteer organization that works to promote the use of the Trail and plans and implements environmental restoration projects and special events along the Trail. Like many organizations, the Gwynns Falls Trail Council has been affected by the current economic slowdown and our corporate and foundation contributions are less than they have been in past years. Yet, despite a decrease in funding, the Gwynns Falls Trail Council completed some truly exciting projects in 2008-2009. Our Art on the Trail exhibit, which ran from September through early November 2008, was very successful and attracted both more artists and more visitors. We had over 400 people volunteer this year providing more than 2,000 hours helping maintain and improve the Trail. In 2009 we completed design and fabrication of the 11 kiosk panels and have contracted to have all sign frames repaired and painted to brighten them
For 2010, a new Partnership for Parks grant will help us install mileage markers to improve our ability to report site specific problems to the City and improve Trail directional signage. Also, a recent National Parks Service Chesapeake Bay Gateway grant will assist us to fabricate and install two new kiosk signs at locations where there are alternative trail routes to chose, thus causing confusion for trail users.
The City of Baltimore’s financial problems also have affected the Gwynns Falls Trail. Earlier in 2009, the City combined the oversight of both the Gwynns Falls Trail and Jones Falls Trail under one manager. Subsequent budget cuts have reduced the staff resources dedicated to both trails, making our work and your support more important than ever. These trails are important recreation facilities and economic engines for Baltimore, as evidenced by the articles in the New York Times promoting both trails as unique and great places to go when visiting Baltimore.
Despite the challenges presented by the current economic conditions, the Trail Council is committed to making sure that high standards are maintained for both trails.
We ask that you demonstrate your support for the Gwynns Falls Trail by becoming a member of the Council for the 2010 calendar year . Your membership will support fun and engaging activities like Art on the Trail and volunteer environmental restoration projects along the Trail.
Membership levels for the Gwynns Falls Trails Council range from $20 - $500. We hope you will consider a contribution of at least $50 to support this important work.
Contributions can be made easily online at www.gwynnsfallstrail.org or mailed to:
Gwynns Falls Trail Council
c/o Parks & People Foundation
800 Wyman Park Drive, Suite 010
Baltimore, MD 21211 The Gwynns Falls Trail Council invites you to come to the Parks & People Foundation office at 800 Wyman Park Drive, Suite 010, on Thursday, November 5, between 4:30 and 6:30 PM to see eleven new kiosk panels sized 4 by 5 feet that will soon be installed along the 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail. This is a great opportunity for you to see all the panels that are truly works of art representing the rich history and unique environment that will enhance the trail experience for trail users.
Thank you for your support.
William F. Eberhart, Jr.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy full 12-month calendar is back by popular demand, and we only have a limited supply. Act now and reserve your copy today!
With stunning photos from some of the best rail-trails across the country, this calendar will make you want to be outside on a trail no matter what the season.
As of today, there are more than 15,000 miles of rail-trail across the country in all 50 states. These trails exist only because of incredible support from our members and donors.
And although our progress has been great since our founding in 1986, we have an even more ambitious goal for the future: By the year 2020, we are aiming to have 90 percent of Americans living within three miles of a local trail system.
If you’re like me, you'll put the calendar up on the wall as soon as it arrives in the mail. It's a constant reminder of how rail-trails inspire people and improve communities everywhere.
Because her companion remained well, they compared their recent food and water consumption, promptly leading to suspicion about an item that only she had consumed about an hour and a half before her first symptoms (stomach cramps).
They notified the Baltimore County Department of Health, with responsibility for this region, early on October 3. The epidemiologic evaluation would be greatly facilitated if we could learn about anyone else who became ill recently in this area. If you or your friends or family have recently had any similar problems during or after spending time along the NCR trail or in that vicinity, please contact the health department.
The following information will help to confirm (or exonerate) the suspected cause of this illness.
1) INTO THE WOODS
Though you wouldn’t guess it as you enter Baltimore on Interstate 95, which passes port terminals and factories spewing smoke, the center of the city conceals a wooded, stream-filled oasis, the Jones Falls Trail (<a href="http://www.jonesfalls.org">www.jonesfalls.org</a>). Once heavily polluted itself, the 58-square-mile watershed has been restored over the past decade and now features a green biking and hiking trail, which parallels the Jones Fall River and meanders through some of the old mills that once powered Baltimore’s economy. It is a rustic and historical look at a sometimes gritty city.
When we think of National Parks, we usually think of Yosemite, Yellowstone, and other wide open, primarily western landscapes. Burns’ new documentary deservedly focuses on these impressive parks. But they are a small part of the almost 400 units in the National Park System. The National Mall is part of the park system, as is Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania, Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace in New York, and a Cold War missile silo in South Dakota. These sites and many more fall into more than ten different categories that make up the park system including monuments, preserves, historic sites, battlefields, seashores, and trails. It would have been helpful if Burns had helped expose more Americans to the diversity of the National Park System.
In Maryland, there are technically twenty-four national park units, including sections of several parkways and trails. The Washington Post chose to highlight Thomas Stone National Historic Site in their piece, without even mentioning the many other park sites in the area. The Post’s major points seemed to be that no one knows who Stone is, people do not visit the Historic Site, and the Parks have drifted away from their core purpose of expansive landscapes in favor of historic and cultural sites. I have not visited the Stone site, but preserving the home of a signatory to the Declaration of Independence certainly seems in keeping with the purpose of the National Parks. Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia tells the story of the Declaration itself. The Stone Site, as well as other park sites honoring Thomas Jefferson (VA), John Adams (MA), Thomas Nelson, Jr. (VA), and William Floyd (NY), focus on the personalities behind the signatures. Despite the low rate of visitors or name ID of Stone, that seems like a worthy topic.
Many other Park sites in Maryland are far more popular. The C&O; Canal National Historical Park is the one I have visited the most, and have written about at MPW previously. As many Marylanders know, the canal was saved from conversion to a highway thanks to the leadership of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. Fort McHenry in Baltimore, where the Star Spangled Banner was born during the War of 1812, is another famous Maryland site. As the Post was disparaging one historic site in Maryland, Chris Van Hollen was hosting his annual event at another, the Glen Echo Park. Glen Echo represents a once popular type of urban amusement park where young and old alike can still ride a carousel that dates back to 1921.
Gwynns Falls Trail
Travel through forests, meadows and along rivers. Trip length varies depending on age size and general ability of the group. Bikes and helmets provided. Pre-registration required. Please call at least 24 hours in advance. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Admission is $5.
By Christine H. O'Toole - Special to The Washington Post
On the right: a deep, Swiss-style farm valley encircled by high peaks. On the left: sheer rock. Overhead: a sulfurous storm cloud. Behind us: the nearest town, six miles back. Up ahead: the gloomy entrance of the Big Savage tunnel. As we pedaled our way toward the Eastern Continental Divide from Maryland to Pennsylvania, there was only one choice: onward
Call it the trail cyclist's Tour de Chance. Jim and I had never biked this section of the Great Allegheny Passage, a laid-back rural path that climbs gently northwest through the Allegheny Mountains from Cumberland, Md. After cresting the divide (Chesapeake watershed to the east, Mississippi to the west) it dips into Pennsylvania's Somerset County. If we'd waited for a sunny stretch during this summer's soggy weather, we might never have made it. But luck was with us -- mostly.
Features the Maryland dance, first flat in Maryland after crossing the whole US, C&O Mud, C&O no cars "Life is good" and more adventure then most of us would want.