This story showed up last Saturday, and kinda details what those of us that ride Gwynns Falls on a regular basis already know: the cops are gone. And, as it turns out, the trail naturalist and the other dedicated trail administrator are also being cut. So, instead of the 5, 7, or 8 cops (depending on who you ask) assigned to the trail (not at the same time, of course) there are two, which the city feels is justified because of the low rate of crime on the trail (when there were 5, 7, or 8 cops working). And trail maintenance will be kept up to current standards by regular Parks and Rec workers and inmates, according to a tepid, not-really-reassuring rebuttal to the Sun story by Parks and Rec administrator Wanda S. Durden. (I don’t know how the rash of kid gangs jumping bikers at the CSX bridge and Edmondson Ave. overpass figures into that. Nate Evans assures me the incidents are in his database.)
Maybe my getting ruffled here is an overreaction. The City promises to keep the trail safe and clean, right? But, honestly, the city was just barely keeping up on those things anyhow, and it’s hard to imagine a stretched Parks and Rec is going to somehow unstretch itself for a new assignment. I suppose the thing to do is pay close attention to what happens next, and if things start sinking anymore, raise a holy hell. That said, we should probably raise a holy hell anyhow: Gwynns Falls is an amazing thing to have right in the guts of a major city, and one of my own favorite places to go around here. The parallel dimension of crumbling road and thick woods between Windsor Mill Road and Dickeysville on the reclaimed Wetheredsville Road shouldn’t have a right to exist in Baltimore, but amazingly does. In DC, it’d be “rustic” townhouses.
Unfortunately, it strikes as one of those cynical budget cuts (timed for fall/winter) that out-of-touch administrators think won’t get noticed. And if it does get noticed, will look to most people like a trim of something that was wasteful anyhow. Which pushes me (us?) into the asshole argument of saying we should cut something else to save our pretty lil trail, and people less realistic than me into arguing that if Gwynns Falls goes downhill, people won’t want to move to Baltimore anymore for its stunning wildlands. So, maybe I don’t want to be that guy or any of those guys because, honestly, we’re getting close to siding with yuppies here. So, the point is, toughen up, get Kevlar tires and a tazer. Or write a letter to the powers that be.