Despite a chilly breeze coming off the river on Sunday, more than 100 people took advantage of an open house at South River Farm Park to take in the variety of outdoor options the Edgewater park has to offer.
Surrounded on three sides by water — Limestone Cove, Selby Bay and the South River — the county-owned park has hiking trails, a 300-yard sandy beach, two tidal ponds and more. It also is the site of a living shoreline installed in 1995 that has helped spawn the South River's largest area of underwater grasses.
Some chose to stroll along one path leading to the sandy beach area while others took a hike along the old farm road to a high knoll overlooking the South River at Mayo Point.
"The turnout was very gratifying," said Mike Lofton, the "Pied Piper" of public water access in Anne Arundel, which has more than 500 miles of shoreline.
He and other members of the Anne Arundel County Public Water Access Committee have for several years pushed county officials and other entities to provide more spots for the public to view and actively enjoy some of the water resources.
The county has committed to working toward having a public access point on both shores of the county's major rivers.
The South River Federation co-hosted the Sunday event after also working for years to get the county to open the park to visitors.
The pristine 170-acre wooded and meadowed peninsula on the South River is finally open on a regular, though limited, basis.
The park, formed over 30 years ago, will be open on non-holiday weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
South Riverkeeper Diana Muller delighted in showing off the soft shoreline the federation's John Flood and volunteers installed 20 years ago. It has helped stabilize what was an eroding shoreline and provided the habitat for the only patch of bay grasses regularly growing on the river.
Supporters hope to see the park open more often.
"The Department of Recreation and Parks operations make it difficult to use the property as a true park, but we hope to see some changes in the next couple of years to make that happen," Lofton said. "We will continue the crusade."
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