Baltimore area residents have a chance tomorrow night to speak out on whether they want logging and recreation in the forests around the reservoirs that supply drinking water to 1.6 million city and suburban residents.
A public meeting has been scheduled at 7 p.m. at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County to seek citizen comments on the city's management of the watersheds of Loch Raven, Liberty and Prettyboy reservoirs in Baltimore and Carroll counties.
The meeting marks the first time that city officials have sought public comment on their oversight of the more than 17,000 acres of forests and open space surrounding the three reservoirs. It is an outgrowth of a controversy last year over the city's long-time practice of permitting commercial logging of the woods around the lakes.
The city imposed a two-year moratorium on timber sales in the reservoir watersheds after environmentalists and residents complained about erosion and damage to the forest from logging near Loch Raven and Prettyboy.
City Public Works Director George G. Balog named a 10-member task force to review the city's draft management plan for the reservoirs, which also are popular spots for biking, fishing, golfing and hiking.
"There's a lot of people who want to expand recreation, and people who want to see recreation stopped, and some who are concerned about tree-cutting," said Marsha Collins, spokeswoman for the public works bureau of water and wastewater.
The meeting is intended to give the public a chance to make its views known to the task force, which is expected to make its report to Balog by this fall, said Cathy Olson, chairwoman of the panel.
The meeting will be conducted in two simultaneous sessions. One will cover forestry issues, including the impacts of logging on water quality and on woodland plants and wildflowers. The other session will focus on whether hiking, biking, golfing, fishing and other recreational activities should be expanded or limited to safeguard the water supply.