On Location Series #17-Patapsco Valley State Park


The creation of the Patapsco Valley State Park began with provisions in the Forestry Act of 1906. In order for Bloede’s Dam to be completed, protections were needed to stop silting from the nearby farms because of their respective erosions. Patapsco State Forest Reserve was passed in 1907 to protect the valley’s forest and water resources. The first forty-three acres, graciously donated by Russell Sage Foundation director John Mark Glenn (1858-1950) from his Hilton estate. Due to that donation, the park thrives to what we see today.

Now, walking through 2 out of 4 trails in part proved to be a casual but rewarding experience. 

Navigating downhill through rocky terrier was somewhat tricky but scouting ahead we viewed the body of a large size stream. As we approached the flat section of the trail, which this one we were on was called “Union Dam Trail” it became apparent we were not alone. Dozens of families were out there, hikers, fishers and bike riders. I was surprised that the bikers rode through the rocky trails with ease, but I’m guessing that it was a typical weekend excursion for them. Nevertheless, we walked on and first strumbled unto what appeared to be forsaken train tracks.
The sign near the tracks gave a warning that they were still in use even though we did not see any moving trains that day. The greeny surrounded the tracks, displaying a rather lovely view as the tunnel looked old, well old to me. It reminded me of the movie “Stand by me” for some reason, the train tunnel, the young boys whose innocence was lost that summer. It was a good film which I encourage you to view when you have the time.

Moving on, we made our way to the stream, which was the Patapsco River. I mistakenly called it a stream during my video talks during our hike. The section we were standing at initially appeared to be small in width and confused me. We walked further on, and the water became wider, prettier while moving through the Thomas Viaduct. We sat there for a bit, taking it in for the next 15 minutes. It was an active scene, two fishermen, several hikers and two couples walking their dogs. Before departing a couple with their four young children took our spot as they sat there talking, surveying the surroundings of the Patapsco River. I assumed with the limited deep-rooted history I was accustomed to seeing from past parks I was going to be disappointed. That was not the case. I enjoyed the hike but more importantly spending time with the river that I wrongly label a stream…

Videos below for your viewing.

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