Many of us have a soft spot in our heart for the United States Navy. Personally, I come from a Navy family, not to the extent of others I know, but it is a legacy just the same. My grandfather on my father’s side was a Navy man who fought in WWII as a marine engineer, piloting landing craft in the Battle of Saipan. My father joined when he was 17. His cousin graduated from the Academy. An uncle on each side of my immediate family served. Three of my cousins served. I didn’t sign up, but as a kid growing up in Annapolis, I played multiple sports in youth programs at the Academy and at the Naval Station (as it was called then). Today, I enjoy watching rugby games at the new Greenbury Point fields – cheering on when they crush their opponents with superior fitness and skills. It should go without saying that I am supportive of the Academy golf program, and even played a round on the current course when I was invited by a neighbor (but, keep reading). And who doesn’t think the Blue Angels are an inspiring sight for families every year?
So, there it is. I love the Navy. They protect us and without them, there would not be freedom for our nation. If the Naval Academy was not in Annapolis, our capital would be a sleepy colonial Maryland town that comes alive each year for three months with state business.
This whole Greenbury Point Conservation Area issue is simply a Naval Academy Golf Association plan that doesn’t float. It doesn’t work, for all the reasons already discussed in the press and on social media and there is no point in listing them here once again. The conservation area should not be replaced with a second Navy golf course of any size, period.
What does work, instead of a second golf course, is taking what is already a long-established nature preserve and making it better. The conservation area is already the complete package: Protected by Federal and State laws, widely used for outdoor recreation, has park benches set all along the expansive shoreline, has a Nature Center that explains the wild ecology all over the Point, and the preserve currently has the quiet and loyal support of thousands of civilians and military personnel from all walks of life and ranks.
What’s next for Greenbury Point Conservation Area? All it takes is some imagination and very little budget to support this wild refuge: minimal landscaping and grass cutting to keep the ticks away from the park benches, a graded access road and trails to keep them puddle free, and perhaps a little more appreciation and protection by all the levers of government, County, State and Federal. A few observation towers would be nice but are not essential to enjoy the wide and breathtaking views of the Chesapeake Bay and Annapolis.
Let’s please turn the page on this issue and march in unison into the future, so all our families can simply enjoy nature’s bounty here in Annapolis.
Video and photos credit: Mike Robinson