The Beach is Open: Beverly Triton Beach Welcomes Citizens
The Anne Arundel County Water Access Committee has been working hard to establish free and accessible access to the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries for all citizens. To that end, the group recently cut the ribbon on several new spots. Last week, we covered the opening of a kayak and canoe put-in at Shady Side Park in Shady Side.
One of the places that has been open, but is little known, is Beverly Triton Park, off Triton Beach Road, in Edgewater. We checked it out on a recent weekday. There were a few cars in the parking lot, and a family or two on the shore, but otherwise it was pretty quiet. The location is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
To get there, take Central Avenue on to the Mayo Peninsula to a left on Shoreham Beach Road. Take the right curve in the road to follow Triton Beach Road. At the turn into Saunder’s Point (Carvel Lane), you’ll see the entrance, the opening in the fence and the parking area on the right.
If you have a canoe, beach or picnic items, you can follow the road all the way to the end to drop off. Water Access Committee chairman Mike Lofton likened the drop-off routine to a bag drop at a golf course. Temporary parking is available right near the water’s edge.
You’ll need to move the car back to the parking lot though — Ranger Bob lives on the property and enforces the rules.
Lofton said that Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks director Rick Anthony is serious about water access for all citizens.
Beverly Triton Beach Park sits on 400 acres with hiking trails, ponds and gorgeous beach frontage directly on the Chesapeake Bay. At one time, it was a privately-owned whites- and gentiles-only beach. In the summertime, families spent days playing in the beach eating hot dogs and fries from the concessions, and evenings dancing to live bands.
According to a story in the Baltimore Sun, the beach closed in the late 1960s, when the owner didn’t want to allow blacks and Jews (and others) access in the aftermath of a Civil Rights lawsuit. The beach and land sat, unused. The buildings fell into disrepair and ruin.
Anne Arundel County Executive John Gary (who served 1994 to 1998) wanted to turn the park into a golf course, according to Lofton. That idea didn’t sit well with neighbors. They pushed back on the proposal.
It was later fenced high on all sides, with the only access from the water or the strip of sandy beach where walkers and birders could approach from the south (via Beverly Beach).
The Water Access Committee worked to get it open.
“The Bay shouldn’t just be for the privileged,” Lofton said. “When more people have access, the Bay will do better. Most people don’t have that connection.”
The county eventually opened the beach a few years ago, but the process for citizens to gain access was onerous. Lofton showed a withered yellow card from his wallet. He joked that citizens had to meet a lady at the fence at midnight and slip them $10 through the chain-link to get the card, which gained access.
Now it’s open. Just open. Seven days a week, 12 hours a day. There are two portable bathrooms on site — one near the beach and the other at the edge of the parking lot.
There is no swimming at the site. The water is pretty shallow and the rocky breakwaters installed to curb erosion from the southeasterly prevailing winds could make swimming a dangerous proposition. But you can sit in the sand, put your feet in the water and watch the eagles and ospreys hunt just offshore. You can pack a picnic and watch the big ships head to and from the Port of Baltimore. You can bring a fishing pole and catch dinner (get yourself a fishing license first – Martys Sporting Goods, 95 Mayo Road in Edgewater sells those).
Lofton hopes to do more to open other beach access points throughout the county. He’s none too happy that Mayo Beach Park is only open a couple days a year and for weddings.
“This county doesn’t offer a single beach that is fully functional. We give a venue for weddings, but not for the general pubic? That has to change,” he said.
Lofton’s favorite thing to do at Beverly Triton is to hike the woods in the winter time.
“You can see the ruins of the old buildings — the old wall of the bath house and the concrete pads,” he said. “You can tell that it was a busy place, even though there are no intact structures.”