Greenbury Point Conservation Area: A Sanctuary

The days of pre-vaccine Covid were a severe lock-down. A physical and mental lock-down. We were told to hide from each other and our normal lives. We all had to find safe places to find solace and peace during these stressful and uncertain times. For many of us, Greenbury Point Conservation Area became that sanctuary.

Greenbury Point Conservation Area is not a new sanctuary. It has been a nature preserve for decades, protected by the Sikes Act of 1960 and critical area laws in Maryland. There is well-documented and storied history, preserved by the U.S. Navy for the pubic, so we may learn about the importance of this place. With this in mind, many were shocked when information was recently leaked that the Naval Academy Golf Association has been privately working on plans to bulldoze these 200 acres of pristine wilderness and nature trails for a second golf course, adjacent to the current one, reserved for Navy use only.

For years, this beautiful outdoor space has been loved and actively used for recreation by residents of Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, Navy personnel of all stripes and midshipmen who use this for daily fitness routines. How can it be that an area protected by law and used by countless civilians and military members could be leveled and walled off for golfers?

Many of us have played golf – and while it is a fine game, this is not a debate about the game of golf or any Navy sport. This conversation is about access and health – for all of us and our surroundings – and preserving this very unique treasure for today and future generations. As aptly described in CNET, exercising outdoors can have an effect on your brain similar to meditation: “… something as simple as going for a walk or bike ride outdoors can have an immediate profound effect that can help give tremendous relief because it invites the mind to shift spontaneously without any effort, into this meditative like state…”

Words cannot easily describe the complex cornucopia of benefits to humans, wildlife, plant life and the surrounding bodies of water that this land provides. Greenbury Point is surrounded by Carr Creek, the Severn River, the Chesapeake Bay and Whitehall Bay. The Greenbury Point Nature Center, open Thursdays 11am-3pm, is located at the “main gate” to the large service road, which leads to the interior trails of Greenbury Point Conservation Area. The nature center is a showcase for the local fauna and flora of the conservation area and has its own little paths along Carr Creek. Adding a second golf course would literally be wiping away a critical, delicate, and environmentally pure landscape.

To see the colorful bounty of the conservation area, view the over 140 photos visitors have voluntarily and joyfully uploaded to the Google page for this special place. The Navy has its own website for Greenbury Point, which hardly does the place justice. Popular hiking websites, such as AllTrails, describe the wonders of the area and give it high marks. Then again, photos and video can barely capture the experience of Greenbury Point. The senses come alive during a spring or summer walk: the fragrance of the blossoming plant life, the chirping and singing of untold numbers and variety of birds, and then add the breezes that wash over your face and skin. In fall and winter, the chill, still and quiet experience is no less exhilarating to calm the chattering mind of any lucky soul who knows this hideaway.

Covid may have crippled us all for a while, and there are those who are still hurting today, but it is comforting to know that a place like Greenbury Point Conservation Area is available to anyone who needs it. For now.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Please help us to #savegreenburypoint

Photo and video credit: Mike Robinson

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