Middle Branch Park Event Offers Environmental Benefit and Fun for Volunteers

June 12, 2004: More than 100 volunteers gathered to help revitalize the Gwynns Falls Trail and the Middle Branch Park and to celebrate urban parks and greenways. Among the volunteers: neighborhood residents, students, and those involved with the trail since its beginning in 1991.

The day began with an interactive session on the connections of Baltimore and the Patapsco River to the Chesapeake Bay, and how the actions of the cleanup will improve the water quality of the Chesapeake. Volunteer crews then tackled the removal of invasive plant species,?planted a butterfly garden, repaired the boardwalk, and cleaned the shoreline. Another highlight of the day was the “tire rodeo” in which participants in canoes removed tires and other large debris from the Patapsco River. After a morning of planting, pruning, and cleaning up, volunteers?were invited to enjoy the Middle Branch Park with a picnic lunch and games on the lawn and in the water. Student volunteers also?had the opportunity to participate in the Baltimore Rowing Club’s Learn to Row Day. Support for the cleanup and improvement work was provided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, a nonprofit grant-making organization working to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and its Maryland tributaries.

The cleanup was part of the ongoing creation and maintenance of the Gwynns Falls Trail, a hiking and biking greenway which runs through West Baltimore along the Gwynns Falls stream valley. The Trust for Public Land has been working on the project since 1991. Partners include the Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks, the Gwynns Fall Trail Council, and the Parks and People Foundation. When complete, the 14-mile hiking and biking trail will link more than 30 Baltimore neighborhoods between Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park and the Inner Harbor. The Gwynns Falls Trail serves as a year-round recreational resource for Baltimore residents to walk, hike, bike and rollerblade. Seven miles of the trail are in active use between Gwynns Falls/ Leakin Park and the Carroll Park Golf Course. The final seven miles are currently under construction, with completion expected in 2005.

In addition to linking significant park resources, the Gwynns Falls Trail also provides unique, non-vehicular access to numerous existing recreational and cultural sites including the B & O Railroad Museum, Mount Clare Museum House, and when completed wildlife observation decks along the Middle Branch River, the Baltimore Rowing and Water Resource Center, M&T Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Inner Harbor. For more information, visit www.gwynnsfallstrail.org.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.9 million acres of land in 45 states, including more than 7,000 acres in Maryland.