I support efforts by Councilman David Marks to preserve the beautiful nature trail through the West Towson Y woods.
Like the Y buildings, the trail has seemed neglected for a long time, and my heart jumped when I read some funding might be found for its revival.
As a kid raised in West Towson and at the YMCA, I recall playing in the woods, along the paths, beside or in the stream and on the boulders. It was a place of imagination and a delight for me and my friends.
Over the years, I've returned for a familiar walk there alone or with family and friends. I've been pleased to run into friends there enjoying a walk with their dogs.
It's been a comfortable and safe place to hike with my son since he was little and a good place to have a snack and talk with him about nature, pollution and local history.
I am pretty sure Towson residents of all ages enjoy the woods as much as I do.
I believe Councilman Marks is earnest in his efforts to "stabilize" the Y woods trail and that he does not wish it made over in any heavy-handed way. Having heard him speak to my son's Scout group about citizenship, I believe Marks wants to please the neighborhood and from his involvement in scouting, will trust his stewardship regarding this natural area.
I was also encouraged by what I read of West Towson's reaction to the Y woods proposal through Stephanie Keene's position from the association (Towson Times, June 6). I agree with concerns that the trail should be for walking, and hiking, with no paving or cycling.
I was especially glad to see engagement on those issues because there are several fine wide spots for gathering, quiet places for repose and some narrow places, of which all might be easily spoiled by paving and bikes.
Any proposal must be conservative and considerate of the many back yards which adjoin and overlook the woods. If there is to be signage for the trail, I hope its form can be some compromise decided by folks who enjoy it often and/or live nearby.
In my opinion, some discrete markers at trail heads and natural delineation of the path would improve way finding and limit trampling. I think the semi-private neighborhood paths through Roland Park, and Keswick communities are good examples of what we might want.
The Y camp uses the woods and the trail for children's' activities, so I hope for their sake, the place can remain as natural and flexible as ever for that creative programming.
I am in favor of the discussed purchase of the Y site by Baltimore County for use as park and playing fields — the sooner the better. The Y parcel overall is a wonderful neighborhood asset within an increasingly urban Towson. Most people I talk to are thankful this terrific natural area is so close and are glad some dialogue has begun.
The dilemma might be whether to be lucky or safe: to have private woods for a while, resigned they'll eventually be carved up for development when greed wins out; or to have a park which we will protect but share more widely.
I suppose, too, there are sensible middle options — such as the Maryland Environmental Land Trust — if there is will to explore them. While I wish I knew more about how the funding may be implemented, I applaud Marks for taking a chance on this issue.
I appreciate Mrs. Keene and Mike Ertel being the voice for people like myself who love this undeveloped part of West Towson, and the ways it enhances our lives.