A master plan to improve 11 miles of Baltimore’s Middle Branch shoreline has been formally endorsed by the city. Its supporters want to add wetlands, turn a railroad swing bridge into an educational center and build a new boathouse in Cherry Hill.
Residents in the communities that border the waterway feel hemmed in by highways and trains and often suffer quality-of-life pitfalls. They’ve heard many plans, but have had little success. Check this out!
Despite the visibly polluted and post-industrial landscape of the South Baltimore shoreline-interstate ramps, heavy and light rail lines, a looming sludge incinerator, the muted drum of traffic across the Hanover Street Bridge-it is still possible to hear the squawks of gulls, feel the gentle lapping of waves, and catch sight of ducks and herons gliding by. That is why ecologist Brett Berkley and his GreenVest team feel a deep responsibility to support this 11-mile stretch of shoreline as part of Reimagine Middle Branch.
Led by the renowned New York City landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations (of High Line fame), Reimagine Middle Branch has already begun to transform this long-neglected waterfront. The project envisions a public open space network that will front new developments in Westport and Port Covington, and extend north to Ridgely’s Cove, where large expanses of marsh will form a “maritime park” that also functions as green-storm water infrastructure. It will also link to Black Sox Park in the west, Swann Park in the east, and a new “Underpass Park” at Stockholm and Sharp Streets.
From the top of a wooden boardwalk, ecologist Brett Berkley can hear the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River calling him to take a walk along its sandy shore. His office in Port Covington is within a stone’s throw of its changing tides, but the roar of traffic on the nearby interstates, the bright lights of BRESCO’s waste incinerator, and the muted drumbeat of commuters crossing the Hanover Street bridge keep him from spending much time outdoors.
But he has big dreams for what the area can become, envisioning families playing in the water on a beach in Cherry Hill, swimmers frolicking in a floating pool in Westport, kayakers paddling amid wetlands, and couples strolling the waterfront promenade at a marina in Baltimore Peninsula/Port Covington. He is part of a group that includes local residents, community organizations, and government agencies working together on the Reimagine Middle Branch project to connect the city’s 19 neighborhoods to their neglected shoreline. This unique place is a must-see!
Located in South Baltimore, the 11-mile shoreline of Patapsco’s Middle Branch offers a diverse range of recreational activities. From a beach and picnic grounds at Port Covington to fishing piers and boat ramps in Westport, the area is also home to the Baltimore Rowing and Resource Center.
Despite its rich history, many generations of Baltimoreans have grown up disconnected from the water. Amid the visible pollution of the post-industrial landscape–interstate ramps, light and heavy rail lines, a looming waste incinerator, and the muted drum of traffic across the Hanover Street Bridge–it can be challenging to connect with nature.
But a revitalized Middle Branch can offer more opportunities for recreation and connection than ever before. Visitors can explore the Gwynns Falls Trail, try sculling with Baltimore Community Rowing, or take advantage of a public canoe and kayak program offered by the City Department of Recreation and Parks. Those looking to learn more about the environment can visit a new waterfront education center.
If you love walking and biking, Middle Branch Park is a great place to live. You’ll find a few shops and restaurants nearby, and there are many parks within a short drive of this location. You’ll also be close to schools and health facilities. This neighborhood has a mix of single-family homes and apartment complexes.
The Gwynns Falls Trail follows the river along most of the park, which can be scenic (dependent on the trail portion) or litter-laden (closer to the piers next to Medstar Harbor Hospital). You’ll also have access to water sports and fishing piers in this area. The park’s proximity to downtown Cherry Hill means it’s often lively. There are several events and festivals throughout the year. Check out the schedule online for details. There is much to do in this community, so plan to spend a full day exploring! Read on to find out!
Driving directions from Superior Soft Wash to Middle Branch Park
Driving directions from Middle Branch Park to Canton Waterfront Park