Nature trail makes a full recovery after Isabel

GBMC to dedicate new walk after extensive renovation

October 18, 2004|By Kevin T. McVey | Kevin T. McVey,SUN STAFF

The Greater Baltimore Medical Center's nature trail, which took a beating last year from Tropical Storm Isabel, has been renovated.

The hospital will hold a dedication ceremony at 3 p.m. today to mark the opening of the improved, mile-long trail on GBMC's campus.

The renovation culminates more than a year's planning and construction, which restored the trail after its destruction by Isabel last year.

Doug Smith, president of the GBMC Foundation, received a call last year from Cindy Crawley, president of the GBMC Women's Hospital Board, about repairing the trail, which Crawley and her husband, William, a GBMC plastic surgeon, enjoyed with their dogs.

Funding for the $52,000 renovation came from a $38,000 donation by the GBMC Women's Hospital Board and from $14,000 in hospital funds.

The trail dates to the 1960s, when local Boy Scouts planted dozens of white pines, which still stand along the trail.

In the 1980s, the hospital received a grant from the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary, a group of about 800 people who raise money for the hospital. The group contributed $100,000 for forested areas and other improvements around the trail.

Since then the trail has deteriorated, but it has received a face lift. This was done partly because Crawley and the women's hospital board wanted to show their appreciation for Cornelia Levering, who was active in GBMC's predecessor, the Hospital for Women of Maryland of Baltimore City, and who advocated environmental conservation throughout the area.

Smith said that because Levering was an influential figure in environmental issues, it is fitting that the new trail is a tribute to her. Levering died two years ago.

Additions and reconstruction include relining the trail with crushed stone and installing new signs to direct people through the park.

Smith also said the hospital tried to improve the trail's educational aspect by working with the Irvine Nature Center to identify indigenous trees and then posting signs to point them out and give some information about them. Smith hopes the signs will attract elementary school classes.

Crawley said she hopes that not only pupils but also staff and patients at the medical center will put the renovated trail to good use.

"I am hoping that patients will avail themselves of it," she said. "For family of patients who are waiting during a surgical procedure, they can go out onto the trail and enjoy the natural and beautiful environs of the trail."

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