The Gwynns Falls Trail is an environmentally valuable urban greenway park located in Baltimore City. It runs west and southwest along the Gwynns Falls stream valley. It is an historical area that is culturally significant to its neighborhoods. According to the Gwynns Falls Trail organization’s website: This greenway “is the most complete system of linear parks in Baltimore as originally envisioned by the Olmstead Brothers in their plan for Greater Baltimore Public Grounds prepared for the Baltimore Municipal Arts Society in 1904. The Trail covers over 2,000 acres of publicly owned land and includes a large wilderness woodland park.”
Hiking and biking is enjoyed by many on the Leakin Park’s trail that follows the stream to the Middle Branch and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor of the Patapsco River. It is a 15-mile open trail system. There are also approximately 10 miles of additional natural paths to be enjoyed throughout the wilderness park that is unique in this urban setting.
More than 30 neighborhoods enjoy the parkland’s environmental features, cultural resources, and historic landmarks. Along with hiking and biking, residents and visitors enjoy roller blading, fishing and picnicking. The area also provides an opportunity to watch the abundance of birds and other wildlife. Area groups also provide environmental educational activities and host many community festivals in the park.
Some significant historical landmarks located within the Gwynns Fall Trail area are the Crimea Mansion, Baltimore City’s Carrie Murray Nature Center, the Carrolton Railroad Viaduct, Mt. Claire Mansion and the B&O Railroad Museum. The area is also home to the Waterview West wildlife observation boardwalk and deck, the Baltimore Rowing Club, M&T Bank Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Inner Harbor Promenade, and many local parks such as Solo Gibbs Park, Federal Hill Park, Carroll Park, and Middle Branch Park. The Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound Program also calls this area home.
The website also indentifies thepublic-private partnership that was required to make this Trail a reality. “Project partners are the Baltimore City Departments of Recreation & Parks, Planning, Transportation, Public Schools, and Police, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Trust for Public Land, the Gwynns Falls Trail Council, the Parks & People Foundation, and the Citizens of Baltimore.
The construction and land acquisition funds for the Gwynns Falls Trail have been provided by the United States and Maryland Departments of Transportation, Maryland Program Open Space, the City of Baltimore, and several private funders. Funding for the Trust for Public Land, the Gwynns Falls Trail Council and Parks & People Foundation have been provided by the Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund and other private funders.”
It should be noted that the Gwynns Falls River and Trail is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.