Ninety years after Patapsco Valley State Park was born, the park and its visitors received a long overdue gift. In the 1990’s a group of volunteers, assisted by businesses, the Boys Scouts, and the Maryland Park Service, worked to change one of the park’s oldest structures into a Visitor Center. This unique volunteer effort led to the formation of the Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park, Ltd (FPVSP). and in the Year of the Park (2000) we opened the Avalon Visitor’s Center in an Old Stone Iron Worker’s House located in the Avalon Area just up-river from Elkridge.
Since our inception, we have offered educational and recreational programming and engaged in beautification efforts and environmental restoration. The Friends of Patapsco Valley State Park, Ltd. continues its mission to support and advocate for the park in a wide range of areas.
Previous efforts have funded the soon to be built Hollofield Play Space, a John Deere Gator ATV, as well as iPads for park rangers and naturalists with “Discovery” backpacks to better share information about the park and interact with its visitors. We have acquired a new outdoor theater system for the campgrounds, a portable professional backdrop for the Scales and Tales program, freshly printed maps for all the sections of the park complete with the latest trail information, and a new wood chipper for park maintenance that is in the final stages of acquisition.
Additionally, in 2015 FPVSP partnered with the trail user community in support of trail maintenance and bicycling events in the park.
Our goals include planting trees to restore riparian areas, removing noxious/non-native plants, providing a sheltered meeting area for educational programs, purchasing interpretive displays, and establishing a public archive of the history of Maryland’s State Forests and Parks. By reporting their sightings on our website, community members have been able to successfully curb growth of invasive species like Wavyleaf Basketgrass.
We host, fundraise for, and coordinate Eagle Scout and Girl Scout Awards projects, Family Fun Day, volunteer fairs, clean-up efforts, and are currently engaged in working on acquiring AED’s/Defibrillators for every section of the park, a dump trailer to more easily manage the clean-up operations in the park, more Discovery backpacks, trail cams to help rangers determine trail usage so they can be proactive on trail conditions and maintenance plans and, finally, partnering with all user groups for Patapsco Trail Fest.
The park holds special memories for so many of us, whether those times involve fishing from its river, camping trips, family reunions, or a hike, run or ride on the170 miles of natural surface trails at Patapsco. In all of these ways, Friends of the Park ensures that our communities’ visions become reality.