When local members of Trout Unlimited, a grassroots conservation group, look out into Baltimore County’s streams and tributaries, they see more than just a scenic body of water.
For Towson resident Don Haynes, vice president of the Maryland chapter, the waters are local gems that need protection and nurturing — part of the group’s larger goal to replenish and sustain the nation's coldwater fish populations.
The Towson-based chapter of the nationwide organization includes about 600 members from Baltimore City, Baltimore, Harford and Anne Arundel counties. Its members work to support stream conservation by funding stream restoration, cleanups and other conservation efforts, Haynes said.
Those interested in supporting the group’s mission to conserve, protect and restore coldwater fisheries and their watersheds— such as the Jones Falls— are invited to attend the Maryland chapter’s primary fundraiser, the Restoration Run 5K, set for Nov. 12 at Meadowood Regional Park in Lutherville-Timonium.
Now in its eighth year, the event raises money for the group’s conservation projects.
“We tend to think of the Jones Falls as our backyard stream,” Haynes said.
The headwaters of the Jones Falls begin in Greenspring Valley where the stream heads east through farms, country clubs and school properties until it merges with the eastern tributaries and then continues south to the Inner Harbor, according to Baltimore County Watershed Management’s website.
Trout Unlimited’s Maryland chapter tackles cleaning a section of the Jones Falls each year, cycling through piece-by-piece from Stevenson to Meadowood Park.
“We’re protecting clean water and the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay,” Haynes said. “If we focus on the headland streams then the water below is cleaner than it was before.”
Clean, cold water is essential for bringing back brook trout populations to Maryland, Haynes explained.
Populations of the native fish are threatened by human impacts such as overdevelopment and tree canopy loss as the fish need cold water to live, he said.
The race will start at 8 a.m. from the parking lot of Meadowood Regional Park and parallel Deep Run stream, which runs through the park and ends at the Jones Falls.
Runners will follow an out-and-back course starting on Falls Road. The course stays on public, paved roads with views of the Jones Falls and Deep Run through trees as runners take a right on Hillside Road before hitting the turnaround point at Greenspring Avenue.
Registration is $40 on Active.com. Race-day registration starts at 7 a.m.
The Maryland chapter’s past 5Ks have attracted about 100 runners, but the course can comfortably handle at least 150, Haynes said.
“Anybody who wants to run can run,” Haynes said.