Anne Arundel proposes rowing and paddling facility in Quiet Waters Park after six-year search

Anne Arundel County is considering Harness Creek in Quiet Waters Park for a rowing and paddling facility after the county found few options for the small watercraft community during a six-year search.

Residents will have the opportunity to learn more about the plan — which is about 30% complete — and weigh in at a public meeting that will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.


Recreation and Parks Director Rick Anthony said the county previously funded a study which included Anne Arundel waterfront properties and also invitations to private marinas that might be interested in a partnership. Harness Creek emerged as the best suited location for the launch. Right now, plans include only ramps and docks.

He said it is the department’s intention to eventually consider a boathouse for the site, but the presentation will focus on other aspects of the facility. He said he hopes questions will, too.


Though Harness Creek has been tentatively selected, it’s possible that if they discover an area in the county that would be better suited for the needs of the boating community they could shift the plan to the new location.

Budget Officer Chris Trumbauer said the plan hasn’t been funded yet beyond the initial location study. Typically, Trumbauer said, design and engineering plans are completed first, and then the construction costs are spread out over a few years. Anthony said he thought it would be feasible to complete the design by the end of Fiscal Year 2022.

Trumbauer said residents have weighed in on the project at recent budget town halls, and he hopes that advocates and opponents would both turn out Tuesday night so that the county can get a good idea of how the community feels about the project.

He said County Executive Steuart Pittman supports water access and recognizes this as a community need.

“We are interested in keeping the project moving forward,” he said.

Though she knows nothing is set in stone yet, Chris Poulsen of the Annapolis Rowing Center said she’s excited to have made it this far in the process.

Cognizant of the concerns of environmentalists, Poulsen said current plans don’t include any paving — only wooden walkways and ramps — and other safeguards for the environment.

Poulsen said she’s heard concerns for some people about whether the water on the South River will be ideal for rowing.


“Some people say its not perfect, and you know, no site is absolutely perfect,” Poulsen said. “Some people felt the water might be rougher as we get further down South River toward the bay, but a lot of us rowed on the Severn and it’s no worse.”

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Poulsen said that rowers could temporarily make due without a physical boathouse if the ramps and docks are installed. They could strap rowing shells to racks, and could store equipment like oars and life preservers in a temporary shed.

Some community members have concerns.

Ray Sullivan, a member of the Friends of Quiet Waters board, pointed out that the park is already very popular and this would only bring more people to the area.

“We’re getting maxed out on the number of people this park can handle,” Sullivan said.

He makes the five minute walk from his home to the park at least twice a day.


Sullivan said he is concerned about the environmental impact of the project. The location, according to the community meeting announcement, is in the Critical Area. Sullivan said it also includes tidal and nontidal wetlands and submerged vegetation in the water.

“There’s no question that we need more access to the water in the area there’s no question about it at all,” Sullivan said. “But this is the wrong place for it.”