How green is our valley? [Editorial]

Of all the amenities in this area, it's hard to think of one more vital than the Patapsco Valley.

The valley, which straddles the line between Baltimore and Howard counties, is comprised primarily of Patapsco Valley State Park, a favorite of hikers, picnickers and those who simply want to get back in touch with nature. Environmentally, the park's 16,043 acres offer a great balance to the increasing urban development.

But as development in the region continues, more stress is placed on the park in particular and the valley in general. Runoff and pollution are obvious challenges but so is the maintenance of the historical spots along the Patapsco River, such as the old mills near Oella and the Thomas Viaduct that spans the river from Elkridge to Relay.

That's why an effort by The Patapsco Valley Heritage Greenway needs to be supported. Next week, the organization, along with the Urban Land Institute Technical Advisory Panel, is hosting a meeting at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to discuss how to create a long-term conservation plan for the valley. The next evening, the panel will present its preliminary findings at a meeting at the Robinson Nature Center in Columbia.

The timing of the noon to 6 p.m. meeting on Wednesday, June 12, might make it difficult for many to attend, but the importance of developing a conservation plan for the valley is critical, as is giving this panel local feedback. Any effort by local groups to have someone there to speak for the valley and park in particular would be in everyone's best interest.

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