Queen Anne's County
Queen Anne’s County forms the “gateway” to the Eastern Shore and is characterized by relatively flat topography. It is a rural county that has come under increasing development pressure in recent years. The county is experiencing a continuing increase in population. The population in 1998 was approximately 39,672 and is projected to reach 47,600 by 2010. This increase is occurring mostly along the Rt. 50/301 corridor between Kent Island and Grasonville.
The county covers approximately 238,980 land acres. Sixty-eight percent (68%) or 162,506 acres are zoned agricultural. Of this farm land, 42,220 acres are permanently preserved through state agricultural and environmental easements, or as deed-restricted open space as a result of cluster subdivisions or Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) projects. Publicly owned lands account for an additional 8,975 acres. In 1998, the county purchased 682 acres bordering the Chester and Corsica rivers with assistance and funding from the Rural Legacy Program, The Conservation Fund, and Program Open Space.
The state owns more than 4,500 acres of land in the county, but there is still a growing need for local parks. Like much of the Eastern Shore, many of the local roads currently serve as scenic bikeways, with wide shoulders, little traffic, and attractive landscapes. Some of these are utilized as bike routes and will tie into proposed greenways corridors.
The county also has over 450 miles of waterfront along the Chesapeake Bay, Eastern Bay, the Chester River, and other tributaries. Numerous tidewater bays and estuaries divide the western part of the county into a series of peninsulas and islands. The county has recently become involved in planning an extensive water trail network around the Kent Island peninsula and plans to develop additional access sites to the water for recreational opportunities.
1) Cross Island Trail Park
The Cross Island Trail Park is a 10-foot wide paved hiker-biker trail along the Old Love Point Railroad line traversing Kent Island. A one-mile segment of the trail is complete from Love Point Park to Castle Marina Road, and the remaining five miles is scheduled for completion in mid 2001. The completed trail will extend from Terrapin Nature Park on the Chesapeake Bay across Kent Island to the Chesapeake Exploration Center at the Kent Narrows and its local pathway system.
This trail will serve as an alternate form of non-motorized transportation for the citizens of the county and other visitors. The trail connects the users with restaurants, recreational facilities, commercial and retail shops, wildlife observation, and leisure activities.
Future plans for the extension of the trail lay to the east along Rt. 50/301 to Queenstown, as part of the American Discovery Trail (ADT), and continue eastward to Queen Anne, Maryland. This route is via existing utility and inactive railroad rights-of-way and easements.
2) Kent Narrows Pathways
The Kent Narrows Pathways are an existing network of trails that connect the four quadrants of the Kent Narrows. This trail network provides pedestrian access throughout the Kent Narrows by providing waterfront pathways underneath and adjacent to Rt. 50/301, Rt. 18, and the newer, high-level bridge over the Kent Narrows. The county leases almost 20 acres underneath the new bridge from the State Highway Administration. This land is utilized for public parking, access to the pedestrian pathways, boat launch facility, and a day-use parking area.
3) Matapeake Greenways
The Matapeake Greenways is an on-road bike trail on the southwest portion of Kent Island. This corridor could provide links between Terrapin Beach Park (a parcel under easement with the Maryland Environmental Trust), Matapeake Harbor of Refuge, and Matapeake County Park. This corridor leads to a well-used bike route along Rt. 8 leading to Romancoke Pier County Park. Access to a water trail around the peninsula is being developed out of Romancoke.
4) Tuckahoe State Park
Tuckahoe State Park is an existing green area of approximately 3,800 acres owned by DNR. This stream valley park protects Tuckahoe Creek and its tributaries. The stream is the border between Caroline and Queen Anne’s counties. The parkland is equally split between the two counties. Tuckahoe Creek and a 60-acre lake and flooded woodland provide excellent canoeing, kayaking, and freshwater fishing opportunities. The park has campsites, cabins, playgrounds, and pavilions for visitor use. The Adkins Arboretum, a 400-acre facility featuring native trees and shrubs of the Eastern Shore is located within the park and provides excellent graded walking/cycling trails. There are also over 12 miles of multi-use trails within the park that traverse a variety of terrain. The American Discovery Trail passes through the park as does an inactive rail line that is being considered for a rails-to-trails conversion.
5) Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area
The Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area is an existing protected area of over 2,500 acres owned by DNR. Operated as a natural resource management area, Wye Island provides opportunities for hiking, birding, hunting, and access to the Wye River and Chesapeake Bay. The area also includes the Aspen Institute, a private organization, which offers additional protection, recreation facilities, a conference center and rustic lodging for small groups, an environmental education center, and the University of Maryland’s 285-acre agricultural research facility.
6) Queen Anne’s County Water Trail
In 1999, Queen Anne’s County began planning a commercial water trail route that would skirt the county’s shoreline from the upper reaches of the Chester River, circle the peninsula of Kent Island and loop up the eastern bay to Romancoke and Wye Island. It is envisioned that this water trail will incorporate a number of stops including Conquest Beach, the Chesapeake Exploration Center on Kent Island, Matapeake State Park, Romancoke, Wye Island, and Centerville Harbor.
7) Cross County Trail
The Cross County Trail will traverse the mid-county area and connect Tuckahoe State Park with the town of Centreville via local stream valleys. This trail will connect with the American Discovery Trail, and will provide a scenic link within the county to areas of local historical and natural significance.