trail grows in Baltimore
Path: City officials open the second phase of a 14-mile greenway
that will eventually connect the west side's Leakin Park with the
Published June 16, 2003
Copyright © 2003The Baltimore Sun
of West Baltimore generally feature asphalt, rowhouses and corner
stores -- not frothy streams, thick brush and chirping birds.
the city's park officials and nature lovers hope a 14-mile hiking
and biking trail along Gwynns Falls will change all of that. Yesterday,
Mayor Martin O'Malley opened the second stretch of the trail, which
now runs between Leakin Park and Carroll Park and will eventually
continue to the Inner Harbor.
who have walked and biked the trail say city residents will be amazed
that wilderness snakes through the heart of such an urban expanse.
leave behind the gray asphalt, and you have no idea you're still
in the city," said Rose Harvey, a Baltimore native who works
for the New York-based Trust for Public Land, which is developing
the trail with the city. "It really is undiscovered wilderness.
I think it will allow people to connect with nature in a meaningful,
and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Baltimore Democrat, said they were
are all sorts of natural sights in this city that remain to be discovered
by the vast majority of people," O'Malley said after a ribbon-cutting
ceremony at Carroll Park. "I've only seen a lot of these places
for the first time over the last few years."
said: "Martin and I hiked the trail, and it's a beautiful way
to see Baltimore."
park officials say the trail, about half-finished, will be complete
by late next year or early 2005. The third section will run past
the city's baseball and football stadiums before splitting into
two trails, one that will end at Harborplace and another ending
at Middle Run. Officials hope the trail will be part of a greenway
stretching from Maine to Florida.
West Baltimore residents who attended yesterday's ceremony said
the trail has opened new worlds to their neighborhoods.
been cleaned up so much so that people will now ask you how to get
to Gwynns Falls," said William Fussell, who has lived in Windsor
Hills since the early 1960s. "They don't even know it's in
their own neighborhood."
son, Eric, said the trail will give neighborhood children a natural
play area that they have sorely lacked.
people will begin to take pride in it, and our neighborhood will
progress instead of regress," he said.
officials have known about the lush woods along Gwynns Falls since
the late 1800s. But plans to use the stream as a connector between
parks and neighborhoods had collected dust for almost a century,
Harvey said. The idea for the trail came back to life in the early
1990s as park and environmental advocates looked for ways to brighten
first four-mile stretch of trail, which begins in Leon Day Park,
opened in 1999. The secluded stretch of asphalt has become popular
among bikers and bird lovers, but those who have worked on the trail
say they want to spread the word much wider. To that end, O'Malley
announced a $5,000 city grant to help the park organizations launch
a publicity campaign.
is a big issue for the neighborhood leaders, but we need to get
the word out to the rest of the people in the neighborhoods,"
who have worked on the trail say the new three-mile stretch contains
not only scenic wonders but remnants of the city's industrial past
such as railroad viaducts, brick and granary mills, and an old broom
factory that relied on hair from hogs slaughtered in Pigtown.
don't necessarily connect all those things in their minds, but that's
what this trail will do," said Guy Hager, a spokesman for Parks
& People Foundation of Baltimore, which has worked on the trail.
Hager said he envisions placing information centers along the path
that would tell walkers and bikers the history of Gwynns Falls.
said she hopes the trail will eventually wind all the way around
Middle Run, a largely unexplored segment of the city's harbor. She
projected that the final bill for the project will be $12 million
to $14 million, about half of that covered by federal transportation
money and the rest by state, city and private donations.
180 bikers paid $25 each to ride in the first Tour Du Park, a 35-mile
ride through 10 city parks that ended at the Carroll Park ceremony.
Those funds will go to city parks projects such as the trail. The
riders offered positive reviews for the new Gwynns Falls path.
didn't know these kinds of parks and trails were so close and so
accessible in the city," said Redmond Ingalls, who works downtown.
was surprised how beautiful it was," added Tom Garrison of
Govans. "I had never seen it."
home | trail
info | get involved | about
us | news | calendar