Liberty Reservoir Day celebrates local watershed [Eagle Archives]

On July 26, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works will again celebrate Liberty Reservoir Day in the recreation area right above the reservoir dam on the North Branch of the Patapsco River.

Last year's Liberty Reservoir Day event was well attended and according to Kurt Kocher, the department's spokesman, the department would like to build upon last year's success.

"We really want to encourage folks to appreciate — and enjoy the reservoir," he said. "This year's event will celebrate and educate visitors about the dam and the reservoir and the water system."

Once again, the Gamber & Community Fire Company; Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department; Carroll County Sheriff's Office; and the Carroll County Department of Planning are among the Carroll organizations that are scheduled to participate.

"Baltimore and Westminster have a long standing partnership that goes back decades," said Westminster public works director Jeff Glass. "Maintaining a sustainable water supply for all our customers is a constant focus."

Next week's event will have another lineup of interesting activities. "Scales and Tales, face-painting and balloon animals for the kids and food trucks will all be there," according to Glass.

The free event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the dam on Liberty Dam Road off Wards Chapel Road. Parking is free. For information, call 410-545-6541 or go to

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the dedication of Liberty Dam, which is located in eastern Carroll County at the border with Baltimore County.

According to a history of Liberty reservoir written for the Historical Society of Carroll County by historian Mary Ann Ashcraft several years ago in the Carroll County Times, "Baltimore Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. dedicated Liberty Dam on September 21, 1954 …."

On a recent visit to the watershed with Kocher and Glass; the watershed's clear waters were not giving up any of its secrets.

However, Ashcraft reports, "Beneath the quiet waters of Liberty Reservoir lies a lot of buried history. What looks like a natural lake has only existed about sixty years."

It was a beautiful day at boat ramp number 1, off of Oakland Mills Road, when Officer S. Phillips of the Baltimore Environmental Police pulled his patrol boat up to the ramp.

"These folks are not park rangers…" said Kocher as he explained that Phillips has been recognized for past police enforcement actions.

"People look at Prettyboy, Loch Raven and Liberty reservoirs as parks. These watersheds are not parks," Kocher said as he climbed in the boat for a brief inspection tour. "1.8 million people are served by our water system, we take this responsibility seriously."

An article in the Sun several years ago by Jim Joyner reported, "'No Swimming' warning signs are posted at each of the three reservoirs…

"All three reservoirs are patrolled by DPW's Environmental Police —full-time police officers with full authority to arrest violators. Officials say that in 2011, there were 222 citations issued for illegal swimming…," according to the article.

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