The critical question about developing Black Marsh Wildlife Refuge is not so much why it should be done but rather why it shouldn't.
The 1,310 acres at the edge of Edgemere in Baltimore County, facing the Chesapeake, was described in the county's master plan as the finest area of tidal wetlands in the upper bay. Though part of the property was once an amusement park, the marsh is now much as it was in the primeval beginning. Bald eagles have been sighted there; the tangled marshland is home to three endangered plant species; various fish and birds inhabit the area.
Certainly the state needs to ensure that Marylanders have better access to this resource, and improving facilities like picnic areas, tours and trails certainly would be appropriate. But the Department of Natural Resource's plan to develop 20 acres of Black Marsh -- for a 350-seat amphitheater, parking lots, tot lots, boat tie-ups and a restaurant -- goes too far.