Carroll County is growing rapidly and has developed a Greenways, Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Network Technical Report. The study, completed in December 1994, identified potential greenways locations, recommended greenways corridor design criteria, established a greenways classification system, and proposed a method of determining priority projects to help focus the county’s efforts in implementing the plan. This plan is to be used in conjunction with the Department of Planning’s Master Plan. All county comprehensive planners received copies of the plan to facilitate work with their assigned municipalities in planning for greenways. As a result, many towns have now developed greenways project proposals and have plans for pathways that will connect to larger greenways corridors.
The Piney Run Reservoir, in conjunction with the proposed Gillis Falls and Union Mills reservoirs, provides over 3,000 acres of protected land in the county and also provides recreational opportunities. Another 1,700 acres is occupied by the Liberty Reservoir which forms the southeastern boundary of Carroll with Baltimore county. The Department of Recreation and Parks is in the process of developing a trails brochure of existing trails in Carroll County. Maps are included in the brochure, which will be available at the county Tourism Office or the Department of Recreation and Parks.
1) Little Pipe Creek Greenways
The Little Pipe Creek Greenways is a potential greenways corridor along Little Pipe Creek that would provide a natural link between the towns of Union Bridge, New Windsor, and Westminster that would be an ideal link to future Frederick County greenways. DNR’s Watershed Restoration Division has been working for several years on a number of wetland, stream, and riparian restoration projects in the Little Pipe Creek watershed. The creek is classified as a Class IV stream (recreational trout waters) although it has been severely degraded over the years by various land use practices. The long-term result of the restoration projects will be improved stream habitat.
2) Monocacy Scenic River Greenways
The Monocacy Scenic River greenways is a potential greenways corridor along the Monocacy River that runs through Frederick and Carroll counties. The Monocacy is a state-designated scenic river. Frederick County is aggressively pursuing water-quality protection measures along the river, and a protected greenways is beginning to emerge in sections of the county. In Carroll County, there is no publicly owned land along the Monocacy River, but there are a number of agricultural easements in this portion of the county.
2a) Monocacy River Water Trail
The Monocacy River Water Trail is a potential water trail route along the Monocacy River to the confluence with the Potomac River. Primary planning for this route is being done by Maryland DNR and Frederick County.
3) Patapsco Regional Greenways
The Patapsco Regional Greenways is a partially established, multi-jurisdictional greenways along the Patapsco River, its branches, and tributaries. The state-owned Patapsco Valley State Park serves as the spine for the greenways. The north end of the park (approximately 2,000 acres) is situated at the southeast corner of Carroll County. From there, the greenways expands northward through the Baltimore City-owned Liberty Reservoir and branches to the northwest along Morgan Run, and to Hampstead and Westminster along the east and west branches of the Patapsco River. Fire roads in Liberty Reservoir property serve as trails and are included in the Baltimore Trail Book, available in commercial bookstores and public libraries. In addition, there are a number of trails in the McKeldin area of Patapsco Valley State Park.
The Maryland Environmental Trust and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay have been working with citizens and local land trust representatives to identify options for extending protection along the South Branch, which forms the border between Howard and Carroll counties.
4) Piney Run Greenways
The Piney Run Greenways is an existing greenways around Piney Run Lake. Piney Run Park almost completely surrounds the lake. At the north end of Piney Run Park, lands are protected under easement with the Maryland Environmental Trust. Extensions sought along Piney Run would provide connections to Sykesville and Patapsco Valley State Park.
Piney Run Park offers a variety of trails at the developed area on Martz Road off White Rock Road. Equestrian access is limited to Martz Road off of Rt. 26 in Eldersburg. Maps are available from Piney Run Park or the county Department of Recreation and Parks.
5) Union Mills to Westminster Greenways
The Union Mills to Westminster Greenways is a potential greenways corridor that could be designated along stream valleys between the proposed reservoir site at Union Mills and the city of Westminster. This greenways could provide connections to Hashawha Environmental Center, the Carroll County Sports Complex, and local parks in Westminster.