Loch Raven trail dispute spurs 'emergency' meeting
Bike Maryland, the organization formerly known as One Less Car, has called what it describes as an "emergency" public meeting to discuss trail restrictions in the woods surrounding Loch Raven Reservoir.
The meeting, apparently prompted by some run-ins between mountain bicyclists and Baltimore Department of Public Works rangers, is scheduled for 7 p.m.-9 p.m. TThursday night at the Timonium Fairgrounds' Fasig-Tipton Building.
This appear to be another chapter in a long-running dispute between mountain bikers, who want free acccess to the trails in the woods surrounding the reservoir, and the department, which wants to preserve the quality of the drinking water supply.
Carol Sildorff, executive diirector of Bike Maryland, said she fears the department is unilaterally moving to enfoce a series of 1998 rules that had been shelved for a dozen years. She says bikers should have access to trails and denies their activities are causing erosion -- pointing to deer, invasive species and illegal dumping as the main threats to water quality.
Department spokesman Kurt Kocher said the problem isn't the dozen miles of legal trails and forest roads where he says bicycles are welcome. He said the problem is about 34 miles of unauthorized trails that have been cleared in the woods surrounding the reservoir. He said rangers are issuing warnings -- but no tickets yet --- on those unauthorized trails.
According to Kocher, DPW spokeswoman Celeste Amato is planning on attending the meeting to outline the department's position. So it could get interesting, whether your interest is water quality or trail access for mountain bikes.