HOT SHOTS: Shady Side Park Opens Water Access Point to the Public
There is now another place to put in kayaks and canoes in South County. Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks administrator Mark Garrity led a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday at Shady Side Park in Shady Side to open the new site. Dozens of kayakers then made their way to the water for either a five- or 12-mile kayak trip.
The new access point was made possible by an appointed group of volunteers, the Water Access Committee, who try to find locations for the public to have better access to the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. The committee, chaired by Harwood resident Mike Lofton, has worked to open several South County sites in the past few years, including Jack Creek Park in Shady Side, Beverly Triton Beach in Edgewater, Rose Haven Memorial Park, Deale Wharf, Patuxent Wetlands, Wooton’s Landing and Davidsonville Park. They have other locations on their wish list.
Garrity opened the ceremony by saying that County Executive Laura Neuman, who was not in attendance at the ceremony, had made it a priority of her administration to “get people out on the water.”
West/Rhode Riverkeeper Jeff Holland said that the opening of these access points has been a great partnership with the county.
Chuck McMillin of Chesapeake Kayak Adventures, an all-volunteer paddling group, said that with 550 miles of shoreline in Anne Arundel County, and more registered boats than any other county on the Bay, it is a shame that our county has the fewest free and accessible put-in places for citizens.
Lofton added that when more people have access to the Bay, more people will have a stake in taking care of it — which will make restoration efforts more meaningful and successful.
The Water Access Committee has been scouring county-owned waterfront property to find suitable locations.
“You don’t need a lot of space. A spit of land and clear path to it,” Lofton said.
At the ceremony Lofton thanked Lisa Arrasmith, who he credited with doing numerous reconnaissance kayaking missions.
At the new location at Shady Side Park, users of the new access point can park just to the northeast of the baseball diamond backstop and walk along the line of trees. From there, a split-rail fence separates the athletic field from the put-in spot. The old trail to the water has been widened and the site has been (mostly) cleared of poison ivy and weeds. A bed of mulch makes the haul with a kayak trailer smooth and easy.
Enjoy these photos of the ceremony and inaugural kayak launch: