Ask Baltimore Mayor Shelia Dixon and the Baltimore City Council to work more closely with mountain bikers. We have ridden the trails at Loch Raven Watershed for years, yet an abrupt change in management policies has recently been imposed on our user group, with no opportunity for dialogue or collaborative problem solving.
Recently the Department of Public Works Reservoir Natural Resources Section Police officers have begun ticketing and fining trail users in Baltimore’s Loch Raven Watershed. While we appreciate the newfound interest in managing the trail system, these fines have come without warnings nor an attempt to create a dialogue with the user groups who have been responsible for maintaining these resources for the many years before the recent deployment of these officers.
Many similar areas in Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic States welcome trail users as vested partners in management who will quickly alert authorities if something is amiss. At Loch Raven, the lack of adequate storm water management threatens the quality of the watershed, yet innocent trail users — who volunteer to maintain trails and remove trash — are receiving tickets.
Baltimore’s watersheds, especially Loch Raven, are among the largest open spaces accessible to Maryland residents. We recognize the challenges in managing such a large geographic area with diverse user groups. In order to create a partnership between trail users and DPW, we suggest the following actions:
- Immediate suspension of ticketing and fining trail users.
- Creation of a map and signage on the existing network.
- Begin treating all trail users equally and ensuring all maintained trails are open to all users.
- Implementation of a night riding program, similar to agreements the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) has with Maryland DNR and other land mangers.
- Creation of a trail maintenance agreement between the City and trail users groups, similar to agreements MORE has with Maryland DNR and other land mangers.
- Implementation of the “annual review of mountain biking activities.” The Loch Ravenmanagement plan called for this, yet it has never been executed.
Please take action on this important issue!