After our naturalist session, I went on to walk further inside the Greenbury Point Conservation Area to take more photos and enjoy the sunny morning. My slow and observational walk made me think of this John Muir quote:
I don’t like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not ‘hike!’ Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre’, ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.
The collection of photos below are some for the iNaturalist project and then others from my leisurely saunter around Greenbury Point.
Today we had a pre-planned visit to the Nature Center, which was scheduled with the center manager. The Greenbury Point Nature Center, adjacent to and at the entrance of the gated Chesapeake Bay-front Greenbury Point Conservation Area, is an important resource that supports the conservation area and the natural resource mission for the entire Greenbury Point peninsula. The purpose of the center is to document and display Greenbury Point’s wild plant and animal habitat, educate young and old about environmental management and provide a space for visitors to learn about the present-day natural landscape and cultural history of the peninsula. It is essential that this center remain open and accessible.
“The Greenbury Point Nature Center is a 2,400 square-foot structure housing 16 exhibits on cultural and natural resources. Since opening in 2000, the nature center has offered programs for scouts, school children, and volunteer organizations. Over two miles of walking trails and a bird-watching platform located near the nature center are two of the key features of outdoor recreation and environmental awareness at NSAA North Severn.”
The gated conservation area, which features miles of access road, forest, wildlife, wetlands, trails, bench areas, fishing spots, and the famous communication towers, has been closed for maintenance Monday to Friday during the month of June.
Center Trails are Open
The Nature Center trails, behind and nearby the building, have been open. One very special feature of the trail system is the “Poet’s trail” behind the Nature Center, with several loops and two observation buildings along Carr Creek. This can be seen in the photos below, and one of the loops opens next to the main Navy Rugby field before continuing along the creek. These peaceful trails have been populated with signage, displaying quotes by well-known poets and naturalists who thoughtfully wrote about the natural world and our place in it. A contemplative walk here is open from dawn to dusk (times are posted) for those who want to escape the noise and hassle of everyday life.
A Central Hub
The center itself may be visited by appointment with the Natural Resources Manager. As seen in the photos and info below, the Nature Center has been the central hub for Naval Support Activity Annapolis’ environmental stewardship for the entire Greenbury Point peninsula. Here, midshipmen, Navy families, and the public can learn about the local ecosystem and how to protect and maintain it.
Natural Resources Management
From the Naval Support Activity Annapolis Environmental Management Guide (in photos below) available at the Nature Center:
“Implemented in 1960, the Sikes Act Requires each Military Department to manage their natural resources in a way that does not negatively impact the military mission. In the case of NSA Annapolis, preservation of natural resources actually plays an important role in the base’s mission by providing a healing environment for our injured service members.”
“What Natural Resources are found at NSA Annapolis? Over 300 acres of forests and streams occur on the Installation. These forests are all different ecosystems including coastal pine woods, edge forests, wetlands, streams, and others. Greenbury Point also contains a network of trails, providing recreational opportunities for personnel and visitors on base.”
The photos below are from inside the Nature Center and then behind it on the Poet’s Trail, June 23, 2022:
“Greenbury Point Peace”
Celebrating Greenbury Point Conservation Area: As of June 1, 2022, the Greenbury Point Peace prints and imprinted products are an approved fundraiser to support the Chesapeake Conservancy and Severn River Association in their fight to #savegreenburypoint from becoming a second Navy golf course.
SALE: For a limited time, save $10.00 off the regular price for 8×10 wall art prints of Greenbury Point Peace or Greenbury Point Peace Esprit De Corps (with text).
This is by far one of the top 10 parks in Maryland. Why? Location and management. Situated next to the Bay Bridge on Kent Island, this park features oyster shell pathways, woodlands, wetlands and a beach with views to die for. Brand new bathrooms for visitors and an attentive and friendly ranger staff are icing on the cake.
This award-winning 276-acre nature park features a 3.25-mile oyster chaff walking trail, which meanders through wildflower meadows, wetlands, tidal ponds, woodlands, and sandy shoreline. The trail provides a unique vantage point for viewing an incredible variety of waterfowl, wildlife, and plant species. A gazebo is located along the sandy shoreline afford a spectacular view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Park benches located along the trail provides a brief respite for the weary. The trail, which wanders over several bridges, across marshlands and through woodlands, features two observation blinds overlooking the tidal ponds. The trail connects to the County’s Cross Island Trail system. Nearby parking for the Cross Island Trail system is available at Old Love Point Park. Read more…
This large park on the Chesapeake, next to the Bay Bridge on Kent Island, has a variety of nice trails and a beach. Like other Queen Anne’s County parks, no swimming, no coolers, no alcohol, no fishing (except at south end of beach) and no shade structures are allowed here. The county recently finished new stone bathrooms and a small guard station next to the parking lot. A friendly guard in an ATV rides about to enforce their rules.
It should go without saying that this is a very popular spot for walking with or without dogs, but biking is also excellent on the dirt and paved trails, as this is a departure destination for the expansive cross island bike path.
Aldo Leopold was a conservationist, forester, philosopher, educator, writer, outdoor enthusiast and hunter and is held in the same high esteem as other naturalists such as Henry David Thoreau and John Muir. Leopold has inspired “environmentalists” for many decades, especially after his book A Sand County Almanac was published in 1949.
The photo above with Leopold’s quote was taken by me at Greenbury Point Conservation Area in 2022. This area is now a focal point of unity for those in Maryland who enjoy the nature preserve and face the real prospect it could be bulldozed for a new golf course. #savegreenburypoint
From the Aldo Leopold Foundation website: He is considered by many to be the father of wildlife ecology and the United States’ wilderness system. Among his best known ideas is the “land ethic,” which calls for an ethical, caring relationship between people and nature.
Born in 1887 and raised in Burlington, IA, Leopold developed an interest in the natural world at an early age, spending hours observing, journaling, and sketching his surroundings. After graduating from the Yale Forest School in 1909, he eagerly pursued a career with the newly established U.S. Forest Service in Arizona and New Mexico. Learn more…
Rode from my home to Greenbury Point Conservation Area today – round trip of about 21 miles. The trek included suburban roads leading to the B&A trail, then on to the wide shoulder of Rt. 450 – crossing over at the WWII Memorial and then weaving through a neighborhood to stay as safe as possible on my way. This type of biking adventure takes a focus on defensive road riding because there are instances where there is very little or no shoulder – and one needs to stop for cars and give them their space when necessary. This was a cool and sunny late morning ride and a great work-out.