I shall be glad if all the meadows on the earth were left in a wild state," Henry David Thoreau said.
When he said that, he might havebeen describing the rolling hills and panoramic vistas of the Hashawha (an Indian term meaning old fields) Environmental Appreciation Center.
Nature's bounty and diversity has made this land off Route 97 north of Westminster a jewel. Recognizing this value, the Carroll Commissioners acquired the site in 1972 and set it aside for everyone to enjoy.
As part of the Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks, Hashawha serves as a resource for environmental education and outdoor recreation. During the school year, all sixth-graders have an opportunity to come to Hashawha to experience the "outdoor classroom" for an entire week.
Facilities at Hashawha include an administrative building with meeting rooms, cafeteria and nature discovery area, five winterized cabins -- each able to accommodate 32 people and containing two bunk rooms joined by separate lavatory shower rooms -- andan inground swimming pool and a solar-heated conference center seating 150 people. The facilities are available for public use on a reservation basis.
Pavilions are located in the cabin area, at Lake Hashawha, and at the Primitive Camp, which is designed for tent camping for large or small groups. Recreational opportunities for the public -- available from dawn to dusk, seven days a week, year 'round -- include fishing at Lake Hashawha, bird watching, hiking and cross country skiing.
Hashawha's 4.5-mile trail system leads nature enthusiasts throughout the 320 acres. Located on the trail system is a wilderness camping area for backpackers, with reservations.
Nature trails,a partially restored log cabin (circa 1850) and play areas are available to campers. The Martin Log Cabin serves as a bridge to the past,allowing campers to learn more about lifestyles from pre-Civil War days and see methods of construction used by settlers of the area.
In keeping with its purpose as an environmental center, Hashawha tookthe lead in conservation measures. Both traditional and innovative methods have been used in this regard.
Hashawha is a participant inProgram Open Space, Maryland Acres for Wildlife and is a registered tree farm. The public is invited to visit the center during festivals, for special programs, and during the summer Concerts in the Park series. Concerts, lectures and festivals are free of charge; other programs have a modest charge to help defray costs.
Hashawha is at 300John Owings Road, off Route 97 north of Westminster. Information: 848-9040 or 848-9566.
* June 25-27: Chesapeake Awareness and Ecology Field Trip, in cooperation with the Outdoor School and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; for middle school students from Carroll County; reservations required and accepted after May 20.
* Sept. 15: Honey Harvest Festival; 1 to 5 p.m.; in cooperation with the Carroll County Beekeepers Association.
* Dec. 7-8: Nature Art and Craft Show; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; co-sponsored by the Carroll County Arts Council.
* March 8, 1992: Maple Sugaring Festival; 1 to 5 p.m.; marks the beginning of spring at Hashawha.