Opportunities for recreation are abundant

Pastime: The nautical-minded and landlubbers enjoy the great outdoors.

May 16, 2004|By Nancy Knisley | Nancy Knisley,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Options for outdoor recreation in Anne Arundel County are diverse and abundant. State, county and Annapolis parks and trails provide a variety of environments for walking, hiking, biking and picnicking, as well as ball fields, tennis courts and other areas developed for sports.

If nautical recreation appeals, Anne Arundel, with its location on the Chesapeake Bay, rivers and creeks, offers opportunities to spend time on the water.

Sandy Point offers fun on the water

With 786 acres off U.S. 50 at 1100 E. College Parkway, Sandy Point State Park is busiest during the warmer months when its location on the Chesapeake - hard by the bay bridge - makes it ideal for water-related activities like fishing, crabbing, swimming at the beach and boating. Rowboats and motorboats are available for rent from late spring to early fall, and boat launches are available at the marina.

Other options for water recreation include canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing. Or parkgoers can picnic, play at the playground or hike through pine forests, marshes and woods. Birding is a popular year-round activity. 410-974-2149, www.dnr. state.md.us/publiclands/south ern/sandypoint.html.

Anne Arundel operates variety of public parks

Anne Arundel County has more than 150 parks, both developed and undeveloped, ranging from large regional parks to small neighborhood parks with ball fields and playgrounds, according to John Marshall, the county's chief of special facilities. Among the most notable:

Hike, jog, bike, skate or ride your horse on the paved bed of the old Baltimore and Annapolis (B&A) Short Line Railroad on the county's long and narrow Baltimore and Annapolis Trail Park. About 13 miles long and 10 feet wide, the park's south end is at Jonas Green Park in Annapolis, its north end at Dorsey Road in Glen Burnie, where the 12.5-mile paved BWI Trail loops around Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The trail, accessible at a number of points along the way, passes through a variety of environments. 410-222- 6244.

Lake Waterford Park at Pasadena Road and B&A Boulevard in Pasadena has areas for passive recreation such as hiking, picnicking and bird watching as well as areas developed for softball, basketball, tennis and other sports within its 108 acres.

There is a small nature center with small animals such as reptiles, amphibians and fish, and nature-related activities for children and adults are scheduled throughout the year.

Two highlights of this county park are its 12-acre lake with fishing and a Boundless Playground, accessible to all children, including those with disabilities. 410-222-6248.

Kinder Farm Park, 1001 Kinder Farm Park Road, off Jumpers Hole Road in Millersville, offers mostly passive and natural recreation.

Its 288 acres includes trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, a playground and picnic facilities. Or you can fish, play horseshoes, or go bird-watching, a popular park activity.

New at Kinder Farm Park is a working Depression-era farm with operating blacksmith shop, old tobacco barn and antique equipment. Farm animals will be added in the near future. A variety of events and activities for children and adults are held throughout the year. 410-222- 6615, 410-222-6122 (activities hot line).

The County's 340-acre Quiet Waters Park, located along South River and Harness Creek, is home to a popular dog park and dog beach. For humans, there are hiking trails, a playground, picnic areas, rowboat and paddle boat rentals, guided nature walks and more. 600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis, 410-222-1777.

Downs Park, located on the Chesapeake Bay, has 245 acres with natural areas for passive recreation, paved and unpaved trails, ball fields, tennis courts, a nature small center, a pond, plus a dog beach. 8311 John Downs Loop, Pasadena, 410-222-6230, 410-222-6239 (activities hot line).

For more information about the many county parks, trails and recreational facilities, visit the Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Web site, www.aacounty.org/RecPark or call 410-222-7317.

70-acre Truxton Park is Annapolis' largest

Annapolis' largest park, the 70-acre Truxtun Park at Hilltop Lane has tennis and basketball courts, ball fields, an outdoor pool, public boat launch, fishing, playground and picnic areas, a skateboard park, as well as trails for biking or hiking.

The city also owns a number of smaller recreation and park areas and trails. For more information, call Annapolis Recreation and Parks, 410-263-7958, or check its Web site, www.anna polis.gov/citizens/depts/recr.

If you like to bike or hike, you might be interested in these groups:

Cyclists at all levels of experience and skills are welcome to join the Annapolis Bicycle Club on their scheduled rides in the Annapolis area and to scenic areas of Maryland and neighboring states. 410-647-7139, www. annapolisbicycleclub.org.

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