Volunteers plant native trees at Pasadena's Beachwood Park

Randy Inniss, of Odenton, frequents Beachwood Park in Pasadena to fish and collect grass shrimp. He was at the park during a tree planting on June 2. Inniss says he's noticed positive changes in the park over the past few years.
Randy Inniss, of Odenton, frequents Beachwood Park in Pasadena to fish and collect grass shrimp. He was at the park during a tree planting on June 2. Inniss says he's noticed positive changes in the park over the past few years. (Atalie Payne / Correspondent)

With shovels and rakes in hand, dozens of volunteers with the Magothy River Association, Rotary Club of Lake Shore-Severna Park, Freetown Boys & Girls Club, and Broadneck High School, arrived at Beachwood Park in Pasadena June 2 to plant 10 native trees and spread mulch in the wooded shoreline.

The planting was established through a partnership between Magothy River Association and Rotary, coinciding with Rotary's "Year of the Tree" initiative. Rotary International has challenged every Rotary Club to make a difference by planting a tree for each member — all 1.2 million of them.


Five hundred dollars worth of native trees were purchased by Rotary to be decorative and functional. Eastern Redbuds were planted near the park's entrance to greet visitors. Southern Yellow Pines were selected because they are favorite nesting locations for great blue herons and water-loving Atlantic White Cedars were planted close to the shoreline.

Magothy River Association Secretary Kelly Kalinowski has been volunteering to improve Beachwood Park for years. She estimates the organization has invested thousands of dollars enhancing park.


"I love this place, it's very peaceful," she said.

When Freetown Boy & Girls Club, of Pasadena, heard about the planned activity, they brought volunteers to help plant trees. Five young men ages nine to 15 accompanied the club's assistant director, William Boone.

The boys are part of different factions of the club, focusing on leadership — Keystone and Torch.

"We have a great partnership with the Rotary Club," Boone said, "this gives (the boys) a new experience...a year from now they will be able to see their work."

While planting the trees, Magothy River Association volunteers spoke with the five young men about the environment surrounding Beachwood Park and the value of native trees to the watershed.

Historically, Beachwood Park was a popular African-American entertainment venue and amusement park during the post-war era of segregation. It is said to have had an arcade and Ferris wheel on the premises. Famous musicians visited the park, including James Brown and Cab Calloway, as concert-goers danced in the pavilion.

Traces of its entertainment history still remain in the park, dilapidated foundations can be found in the wooded landscape.

The nature lovers park is relatively unknown, many volunteers noted they had driven past 8320 Beachwood Park Road numerous times not knowing it existed.

Several students from Broadneck High School's National Honor Society volunteered to pitch in by mulching around the newly planted trees. The students also mulched a lengthy, uphill trail experiencing erosion which winds down to the shoreline.

Broadneck student Dana Roller, 16, said the hardest part of the morning was "going down that hill with a wheelbarrow."

Anne Arundel County Tree Service donated the mound of mulch used throughout the park.

The groups partnered to continue improving the park, one of the few preserve natural areas located in Anne Arundel County. Magothy River Association has focused much of its attention on the county park which was overgrown, trash-filled and neglected for many years. It's one of the few parks in the county with public water access.


The association began its quest to improve the park several years ago. Volunteers removed debris, built a nature trail, constructed new signs, and improved river access for kayakers. Heeding Magothy River Association’s suggestion, the county added 20 off-street parking spaces and reopened a road leading to the park.

A new memorial bench was recently installed to honor the late Charlie Nolte, a faithful steward of the Magothy River. Nolte often donated money to the river association for projects along the river.

Nestled in a scenic location, the bench overlooks cattails and a naturally-made driftwood sculpture perched in the river.

Nolte "dedicated his whole life to the Magothy River," said association member Karen Royer, who volunteered at the tree planting.

The new bench will be dedicated, along with a new set of wooden steps built by the county, in a ceremony at noon June 12 for Magothy River Day.

Planting and mulching at the park was strategically planned prior to the bench dedication.

Also at Beachwood Park on June 2 was Odenton resident Randy Inniss. He says he's been frequenting the park for several years; primarily to fish for white perch and buckets of grass shrimp he uses as bait.

While researching public beach access in Anne Arundel, he discovered the park and its African-American heritage.

Wearing his water-proof wading overalls and carrying a bucket and net, Inniss combed the shoreline for grass shrimp.

For more information about Freetown Boys & Girls Club, call the club at 410-437-0880. The Magothy River Association meets every third Wednesday at Berrywood Swim & Tennis Club in Severna Park. For information about the association or Rotary, visit magothyriver.org or rotarycluboflakeshore.org.


Pasadena Sportfishing Group will meet June 11 at Earleigh Heights VFC, 161 Ritchie Hwy. Doors open at 6 p.m. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

Luke Weiss will discuss "Kayak Fishing Techniques."

Food and beverages are available and children will receive a free ice cream. A free drawing for a door prize will be awarded to adults and children.

Raffle tickets and a 50/50 drawing will be held after the discussion by Weiss. At this meeting, a drawing for a 1,200-foot crabbing trot line will take place, final chance to purchase tickets.

The group will not meet in July due to the carnival. All are welcome to attend. For more information, visit www.pasadenasportfishing.com.

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