Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails gathered on Oct. 22 in Severna Park to celebrate successes in 2013 and to hear about the future of the trails in the county. Standing in front of detailed maps of the Broadneck, South Shore and WB &A Trails, Mark Garrity, Anne Arundel County Parks Administrator hailed the beginning of a new trail, lauded the contributions of volunteers who are caring for the current trails and pointed to the future.
Garrity also detailed the construction and planning timelines on key trails in the county. Important news included the completion of the first phase of the Broadneck Peninsula Trail. Just over a mile long, the trail begins on the north side of College Parkway at Green Holly Drive and continues on to Cape St. Claire Rd. The trail was officially opened to the public at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 27.
Rick Anthony, Director of Anne Arundel Recreation and Parks, provided other updates to the group and conveyed appreciation to the Friends from County Executive Laura Neuman.
Sue Payne, Park Ranger for Anne Arundel County Trails, announced awards and special achievements of the Trailblazers. These uniformed volunteers regularly travel the trail and help users have a positive experience. Award winners included Karen Hall, Bike Safety Award; Jill Joyce and Bill Kern, Trailblazers of the year; and Tom Caraker, Conductor Award, and Neal Smith, Trail Engineer. The latter two have logged over 5,000 miles on the trails. “Volunteers are the heart and soul of the trail,” said Payne.
The keynote speaker of the event was Greg Hinchcliffe of East Coast Greenway Alliance. Hinchcliffe outlined the progress of completing a trail that will eventually allow bikers and walkers to use trails from northern Maine to Key West Fla. Using detailed maps, Hinchcliffe pointed out trails in place as well as gaps that need to be filled in. “Many of the urban areas have extensive trail systems, but often we are missing connections between the urban centers,” he said. Hinchcliffe outlined a trail system that faced numerous obstacles, including slow moving government bodies and property owners who refuse to allow trails on their properties. Anne Arudel County’s BWI Trail, B & A Trail and WB & A Trail are all part of the East Coast Greenway.
Friends of the Trails president Elizabeth Wyble also praised the work of volunteers, especially those helping to tend the multiple flowerbeds along the trail and manicure the grounds at Jonas Green Park, located at the foot of the Naval Academy Bridge in Annapolis. Lasting gifts now include nine new benches along the trails and in Jonas Green Park as well as two drinking fountains that are in the process of being installed. These benches were given in memory of loved ones who have died or have a personal history with the park. Wyble stated that board members and volunteers logged some 400 volunteer hours per month this year in the Friends’ mission of enhancing and protecting trails in the county.
For more information about the East Coast Greenway, go to www.greenway.org.
For more information about Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails, including trail maps, go to www.friendsofaatrails.org.