Baltimore Area Advocacy Update!
The trails may still be snow-covered, but MORE has managed to keep busy on the advocacy front this winter. As we (hopefully!) move into the riding and trail work season, I wanted to put out an update on MORE’s recent efforts in the Baltimore area.
Between the Epic and the superhuman efforts of our liaisons and volunteers near Baltimore, Patapsco has been getting a lot of love from MORE lately. Our community volunteered nearly 2,000 hours of on-the-ground trail work and countless of additional hours advocating for the park. This work has helped make Patapsco one of the premier trail destinations in the region and a noted national example of how volunteerism can ensure a great experience for hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians. This year, our goal is to hit 2015 hours!
However, the park hosts 800,000 visitors a year, and needs a fully funded, updated master plan to help make sure it isn’t loved to death. Unfortunately, proposed reductions in the state budget will make it tough to follow through on that planning process. The proposed cuts remove $50,000 in funding for a soon-to-be-released master plan for the park. It also does away with a proposed $500,000 to build an additional bridge that has serious implications for both long-distance routes and shorter routes in sections of the park upstream of Avalon.
This proposed change in funding isn’t final, and if you’re a Maryland resident who uses the park, please consider writing a letter to you state senator asking to preserve the funding to keep Patapsco on the cutting edge of recreational trail systems nationwide.
Here are some sample talking points on the issue and a link to help you find your senator. [Download as Word file | Download as PDF] Find your senator’s contact info. (Click the “legislators” tab.) If you do respond, please try to personalize your email, or else it might get overlooked.
Meanwhile, a few miles northeast of Patapsco, MORE and Bike Maryland have been working with Baltimore City to develop a trail stewardship agreement between Baltimore’s DPW and MORE. This agreement would allow mountain biking on select single track at Loch Raven, while developing a partnership to preserve the watershed’s integrity by closing unsustainable trails and continuing to provide trail maintenance. With Loch Raven soon to be a legitimate single track destination, Baltimore County could become more of a mountain bike mecca with Patapsco to the west and the Gunpowder to the east! As we iron out the details of the agreement, MORE and our partners at Baltimore City and Bike Maryland are excited about the natural surface riding opportunities the future holds.
As part of this partnership, MORE will be working with Gunpowder Valley Conservancy on Project Clean Stream at Loch Raven again this year. The cleanup will be on April 11th, and the exact site at the reservoir is still TBD. Project Clean Stream is a great way to show Baltimore City how much we as mountain bikers care about the environment, and more importantly, it’s a super fun way to kick off the season. Stay tuned to details on the MORE calendar, and we hope to see you out there!