Located 32 miles (51 kilometers) south and west of Baltimore, Maryland, Patapsco Valley State Park is a public leisure area spanning along the Patapsco River for 32 miles (51 kilometers). The state park comprises more than 14,000 acres (5,700 ha) of land and includes a number of built sections. This state park, which was established in 2006 and is operated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, was designated as Maryland’s first state park in 2006.
Provisions in the Forestry Act of 1906 paved the way for the establishment of the park. When Bloede’s Dam was completed in 1906, it necessitated the installation of safeguards to avoid silting caused by farm erosion in the surrounding area. It was founded in 1907 as Patapsco State Forest Reserve to safeguard the valley’s forest and water resources, and it is now known as Patapsco Valley State Park.
A portion of the initial 43 acres was donated by John Mark Glenn (1858-1950), director of the Russell Sage Foundation, from his Hilton estate. Carville Benson, a Maryland delegate, advocated for the expansion of the Patapsco Forest Reserve into a park in order to assist his suburban development ambitions in 1912. Patapsco Valley State Park grew in size as new areas along the river were added, and it eventually became one of the state’s largest parks.
The Civilian Conservation Corps established work camps 336 and 356 at the park as part of the State Park Project 2 in 1933. Workers from the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed recreational facilities and planted trees for erosion prevention and silt management around the dam, which was caused by overworked farms in the surrounding area. Keeping the shorelines and hillsides forested helped to reduce erosion, which in turn helped to reduce the amount of silt that could jam the turbines at Bloede’s Dam, which provided electricity for the neighboring settlements.
After being turned into the nation’s first Civilian Public Service conscientious objector camp, CPS Camp #3, on May 15, 1941, the camp was staffed by 26 men and three women who were expected to serve for one year, a term that was extended when the United States entered World War II in 1941.
Earlier this year, the Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Inc. management plan for the Patapsco Heritage Area, which includes a portion of the Patapsco Valley State Park, was approved by the counties of Howard and Baltimore, respectively.
According to the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the state’s thirteenth heritage area, which includes a portion of Patapsco Valley State Park, was designated as Maryland’s 13th heritage area in 2015. The Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club was opposed to the proposal due to concerns about more construction on the precious area, which would be subject to approval by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which would be the approving authority.
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