State planners are expected to present for the first time tonight specific plans on what to do with Black Marsh, a 1,310-acre area of unspoiled forest, beach and marsh in eastern Baltimore County.
Robert L. Beckett, director of Land Planning Services for the Department of Natural Resources, said the presentation would show where certain buildings, trails and parking spaces might be located.
Months ago the state put forth a "concept plan" that includes a nature center, nature trails, day-boating slips, a beachfront boardwalk, a restaurant and an amphitheater. The 14-member citizens advisory committee that is studying the issue then asked state planners for "something more specific," said Beckett.
Although Beckett declined to describe the plan in detail prior to the meeting, several things have become clear in recent months.
The state and the advisory committee have agreed to scrap the more ambitious-- and thus more environmentally damaging -- plans for Black Marsh, considered to be one of the largest unspoiled marsh areas along upper Chesapeake Bay.
"There have been lots of things ruled out," including a major resort, Beckett said.
Other proposals axed include a 250-slip marina, a 150-acre golf course and a boat ramp, which would have included approximately 50 parking spaces for boaters' trailers.
Still, the Coalition to Preserve Black Marsh, a 271-member citizens' group opposed to any development of the site, are not satisfied with the state's ideas for Black Marsh.
Lynn Jordan, a coalition member, said her group is troubled by the state's plans to construct a restaurant and amphitheater on the site of the old Bay Shore park, once a popular beach resort abandoned in the early 1940s.
Jordan said the parking spaces needed for such development would cause damaging runoff into the marsh and she speculated that the state would spread pesticides to prevent mosquitoes "as big as cows" from bothering restaurant patrons.
"Those pesticides would end up in the food chain and could kill American bald eagles that nest in the marsh," said Jordan.
Pearl Gintling, a member of the residents advisory committee, said the group is about a month away from making a draft proposal on what should be done with Black Marsh.
Everyone agrees that part of the use for the park will include a nature center and nature trails.