Exclude the Patapsco Valley State Park from the proposed Heritage Tourism Area
The Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Inc. (PHG, Inc.) has submitted to Howard County and Baltimore County a Draft Management Plan dated June 4, 2014. The Plan is for a proposed Maryland Heritage Area that would include more than 5000 acres of Patapsco Valley State Park (PVSP).
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has jurisdiction over the State Park, however, DNR has no Management Plan of its own for the Park.
The intent and power of a private corporation's Heritage Area Management Plan is far different from a publicly-approved State Master Plan for the Park. The PHG, Inc. states: “We agree DNR needs to update their PVSP plan (they call it a management plan) as soon as possible. Estimates are that to prepare a plan will cost about $100,000, which DNR does not have. PHG and Sierra Club can work together to help the park obtain funding and prepare this plan.”
We concur with PHG that a new or updated PVSP Master Plan is the best way to properly protect the parkland, and we are prepared to collaborate with PHG and others, as described above, to make it happen. Therefore our recommendation is to exclude the Patapsco Valley State Park from the boundary of the proposed Heritage Area until the Maryland Department of Natural Resources creates a new or updated Master Plan for the Park with public input.
The PHG refers to the Patapsco Valley State Park as an “urban park”. The environmental community was prepared to draft, in cooperation with DNR, specific provisions for preserving the PVSP as a natural area, not an urban one. These competing visions for our shared resource should be resolved by the citizens of Maryland, through the formal public process of re-writing the PVSP Master Plan with the participation of all the stakeholders.
This must be done BEFORE the Park can be included in a heritage tourism development area with a private corporation acting as the state-funded managing entity.
Joanne Heckman, Team Leader, Preserve Patapsco Valley State Park
Grassroots Conservation Campaign, National Sierra Club
Dave O’Leary, Steering Committee, Preserve Patapsco Valley State Park
Maryland Sierra Club
Ken Clark, Steering Committee, Preserve Patapsco Valley State Park
Howard County Sierra Club
Chris Yoder, Preserve Patapsco Valley State Park
Greater Baltimore Sierra Club