No Tourism Development on State Parkland

Thank you to all our supporters who joined us to tell the government: no tourism development on state land. The vote in Howard County is July 25. The vote in Baltimore is after September. It's not too late to share your opinion with your elected officials.

The Sierra Club position is: don't include the Patapsco Valley Sate Park in the boundaries of a new Maryland Heritage Tourism Area in Baltimore and Howard Counties.

A private organization has submitted a plan to Baltimore and Howard Counties to designate a “Patapsco Valley Heritage Area”. The purpose of the designation is to “increase the economic activity associated with tourism.”

From Daniels to Elkridge and from Ellicott City to Catonsville – 25 square miles of public and private property – the proposed Heritage Area would include 5000 acres of Patapsco Valley State Park and half the length of the Patapsco River.

The protected state land in the park should be excluded from the proposal to "promote heritage tourism by creating opportunities for small business development, job growth, and a stronger tax base”.

A private organization, Patapsco Heritage Greenway, Inc., wrote and submitted the proposal to the counties and will become the “managing entity” of the Heritage Area. If approved, the Heritage Area Plan will amend the natural resource conservation and land use plans of the counties.

Development and environmental protection in the State Park should not be governed by the Heritage Area plan and the comprehensive plans of the counties, but by the Management Plan of the Park itself. Because there is no current Management Plan for the Patapsco Valley State Park, a new Plan should be written by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources with public participation.

The Sierra Club’s position is that the Patapsco Valley State Park should be excluded from the boundaries of the Heritage Area proposed for Baltimore and Howard Counties until an up-to-date Management Plan is prepared by the state with public input.

The Howard County Council held a public hearing on the proposal on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 6:30 pm. Click here to share the Sierra Club position with the Council. Or submit a comment to Howard County Council:

Act now in Howard County: the vote on the proposal will take place on Friday, July 25, 2014.

The Baltimore County Planning Board held a public hearing on the proposal on Thursday July 17, 2014 and will vote in September. Click here to share our position with the Board. Or submit a comment to the Baltimore County Planning Board:

Make your opinion known today!

Download our Annotated version of the Executive Summary.