Anne Arundel County
Anne Arundel County has diversity in both its natural environment and development patterns. In 1995 the population of the county was 459,700 and is projected to reach 516,800 by 2010. There are numerous growth areas in the county, most of which are located north of Rt. 50. The exception to this is the Edgewater/South River area located on the southern side of the South River. Growth areas north of Rt. 50 include the Broadneck Peninsula, Cape St. Claire, Bay Hills, and Arnold, as well as Baltimore Washington International Airport, Pasadena, Glen Burnie, and Odenton.
Anne Arundel County covers approximately 267,230 land acres. Thirty percent (30%) or 80,169 acres are currently zoned agricultural. Large and small enclaves of agricultural lands are located in the southwest portion of the county. Although the amount of farmland in the county has continued to decline, the county has recently revised its farm and woodland preservation program in order to increase participation. Currently the county has approximately 9,400 acres under permanent protective easement through its local program. Anne Arundel County has approximately 33,000 acres zoned open space, primarily consisting of county parkland or wetlands area, while the state and federal governments own approximately 12,000 acres.
The county’s Comprehensive Plan and Land Preservation and Recreation Plan recommend the creation of greenways throughout the county, especially as alternative transportation routes between growth areas and connectors between trail systems. The county has the framework for an excellent greenways network. The county manages approximately 42 miles of bicycle and natural trails. The Baltimore & Annapolis Trail provides a 13.3-mile long, 66-foot wide greenways extending southward from Glen Burnie to Annapolis. The Patuxent River watershed and the Patapsco River Valley are two of the county’s most sensitive greenways.
1) Baltimore & Annapolis Trail Park
The Baltimore & Annapolis Trail is an established recreational greenways following the route of the old Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad from Glen Burnie to Annapolis. This linear park is 13.3-miles long and encompasses 112 acres. The trail is a 10-foot wide paved surface within a 66-foot wide landscaped corridor. The trail has a two percent grade and is used by walkers, runners, bicyclists and equestrians as well as various forms of wildlife. One third of Anne Arundel County’s 400,000 residents live within a mile of the trail, and many residences border the trail. Parking is available at several locations.
The trail is owned and managed by the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks and is one of the premier greenways in the state. Initially met with skepticism and opposition from some neighboring homeowners, the B&A Trail is now one of the most widely embraced and most used parks in the county. A detailed map is available from the county. In 1999, the B&A Trail Park was named a National Millennium Trail. The B&A Trail is also a designated component of the East Coast Greenways, a route connecting major cities between Maine and Florida, while the southern portion of the corridor is a segment of the American Discovery Trail, a national trail extending from Delaware to California.
The B&A Trail was first proposed in the early 1980s. Nine years later the trail was completed for a cost of approximately $10 million. In addition to the natural and recreational benefits, the trail has provided economic opportunities. Bike shops and refreshment stands have opened along the trail, and existing shops are now catering to trail users. Real estate agents are finding proximity to the trail to be an incentive for homebuyers.
The trail has also become the focus of numerous community projects. Scouts, garden clubs, and other organizations have volunteered to put in flower gardens and other amenities along the corridor. The trail also features an exercise course for the disabled.
2) Broadneck Peninsula Trail
The Broadneck Peninsula Trail is a proposed 6.6 mile east-west trail linking Sandy Point State Park with the B&A Trail in Arnold. The trail will primarily utilize property within the right-of-way of College Parkway and will provide links to Anne Arundel Community College, elementary and middle schools, Broadneck High School, Broadneck Library, and numerous community parks. The trail will be a component of the American Discovery Trail.
3) BWI Trail
The BWI Trail is a 12.5 mile trail that encircles the BWI airport and connects hikers, bicyclists, walkers, and joggers to community resources, public transportation, and area attractions. Most of the trail has an asphalt surface, however, wooden boardwalks were used in environmentally sensitive areas to protect natural features. The trail has been built and maintained through a public/private cooperative effort that includes the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, the Maryland Aviation Administration, the State Highway Administration, the BWI Airport Neighbors Committee, DNR, and the Mass Transit Administration.
The trail begins at the Linthicum light rail station, runs past the historic Benson-Hammond House, and continues along Aviation Boulevard to the Stewart Avenue Bridge. At the bridge, trail users have two options: continuing over the bridge for connection to the B&A Trail or the Cromwell light rail station; or, traveling west to the Thomas A. Dixon, Jr. aircraft observation area where there is a tot-lot, bike racks, and rest rooms. From the observation area, the trail crosses over airport property at the intersection of Rt. 176 and WB&A Road. The trail continues up the west side of Rt. 170 and completes the loop around the airport to the west and north. Connections to the BWI MARC / Amtrak rail station, the Maryland Department of Transportation headquarters, and other spur trails to the north can be made from this area.
4) Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail
The Chesapeake Beach Rail Trail is a proposed multi-county rail trail project that would begin in Prince George’s County, run through the southwest corner of Anne Arundel County and cut across the northern part of Calvert County to Chesapeake Beach. This 28-mile corridor has been inactive since 1935. Although much of the corridor remains intact, ownership is now fragmented among several private landowners. About half of the proposed trail lies in Prince George’s County where the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission is working with developers to secure dedication of the corridor during the subdivision process. About one-third of the corridor lies in Calvert County where local officials are considering options for trail development.
About three miles of the proposed route runs through Anne Arundel County. The county endorses a trail alignment that crosses the Patuxent River at the Rt. 4 bridge and avoids running through the core of the Jug Bay Natural Estuarine Research Reserve area. The proposed multi-use recreational trail would connect Walker Mill Regional Park to Patuxent River Park and would end at the old railroad station that is now the Chesapeake Beach Railroad Museum.
5) Magothy River Greenways
The Magothy River Greenways is a proposed ecological greenways in the northeast section of the county. Several existing areas of natural open space have been identified in the river corridor. The county has been working with local land trusts and others to explore opportunities for protecting these areas. Approx- imately 480 acres within the watershed are targeted for acquisition.
6) Patapsco Regional Greenways
The Patapsco Regional Greenways is a partially established, multi-jurisdictional greenways along the Patapsco River, its branches, and tributaries. The Patapsco Valley State Park serves as the spine for the greenways and provides almost 14,000 acres of protected land in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, and Howard counties. The park includes camping and picnic areas, ball fields, and trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. Many of the facilities are handicapped accessible.
Most of the Patapsco River in Anne Arundel County runs through protected state land, with only a few small gaps. About 1,000 acres along the river are in Patapsco Valley State Park. Rehabilitation of degraded areas in the lower Patapsco is being explored by DNR and the county. Currently, Anne Arundel County would like to focus on improving access to the state park, the river, and connections between the city of Baltimore, Patapsco Valley State Park, the B&A Trail, and the BWI Trail.
7) Patuxent Regional Greenways
The Patuxent Regional Greenways is a partially established regional greenways corridor stretching through seven Maryland counties. DNR owns about 12,000 acres along the Patuxent River in Howard, Montgomery, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s counties.
Together, the county, state and federal governments own numerous properties along the Patuxent that are primarily managed to protect habitat and water quality in the river. Facilities for environmental education are located at the county’s Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Visitor Center.
Discussions have also been held about the potential to utilize the Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge as a greenways link between Baltimore and Washington. The Research Reserve permanently protects thousands of acres along both the Patuxent and Little Patuxent rivers.
The Patuxent also has great potential for water trails. The nontidal portions of the river could offer premiere recreational opportunities for paddlers if an interjurisdictional program to remove downed trees could be developed.
8) Poplar Trail
Poplar Trail is an existing 2,400-foot hiker/biker trail along the old WB&A right-of-way in Annapolis beginning at Taylor Avenue and ending at Germantown School. This trail serves as the backbone of the city’s overall pathway system and provides access to two elementary schools, athletic fields, the public library, and other community facilities. The trail also provides a critical link between the American Discovery Trail and the East Coast Greenways, two national trails running through Annapolis. The Poplar Trail was selected by the Millennium Council as Maryland’s Millennium Legacy Trail.
9) Severn River/Severn Run Greenways
The Severn River/Severn Run Greenways is a partially established greenways providing habitat and water quality protection as well as opportunities for environmental education and recreation. The greenways begins at the Severn Run Natural Environment Area where the state owns over 1,700 acres. There is a small gap before the greenways continues at the county-owned Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center which is connected by floodplain to the state-owned Whitney’s Landing Farm.
A great deal of shoreline is privately owned and developed, so easements would be needed to form a continuous greenways along the length of the river. The Severn is designated as a state scenic river, and there are active groups such as the Severn River Commission and Severn River Association working to preserve sensitive lands in the watershed. The county endorses working with property owners to help protect wildlife corridors and explore opportunities for public trail connections. The county has acquired 50 acres near Brewer Pond primarily for habitat and water quality protection.
10) South River Greenways
The South River is a potential greenways corridor along both sides of the South River. This corridor could provide a link between Crownsville State Hospital, the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Golf Course, the Annapolis City Water-works Park, Broad Creek Park, Annapolis Senior High School, and Camp Woodlands (along North Basin and Broad Creek).
On the north side of the river, the corridor would continue to Quiet Waters Park and Thomas Point Park, ending at the Chesapeake Bay. On the south side of the river, the corridor could link Edgewater Park, Londontown Publik House, South River Farms, Mayo Beach, and Beverley/Triton Beach parks.
11) South Shore Trail
The South Shore Trail is a planned multi-use rail trail project that would utilize the portion of the WB&A running between Odenton and Bestgate Road in Annapolis. The 10.3-mile trail would be linked in Odenton to the WB&A Trail, which would connect to Prince George’s County’s WB&A Trail at the Patuxent River. The county is currently working on a right-of-way acquisition. This trail will also be a component of both the East Coast Greenways (ECG) and the American Discovery Trail (ADT).
12) Spa Creek Trail
The Spa Creek Trail is an existing paved recreational trail that runs for 1.5 miles from the West Street corridor to Truxtun Park. This trail serves as an important link between the surrounding communities. The trail begins at the old Bates High School and provides local access to the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, local athletic fields, and several of the city’s active recreation facilities.
13) Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (WB&A)
The WB&A Trail is a planned multi-use rail trail project that continues from Prince Georges County into Anne Arundel County and would connect to the South Shore Trail. The trail will utilize the former WB&A rail corridor between Odenton and the Patuxent River, providing a trail connection to the MARC station in Odenton. Phase I consists of a four-mile stretch from Odenton Road to Patuxent Road. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2000. This trail is also part of the route for the ADT and ECG.