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Water Trails of Anne Arundel County

Several segment maps of the Anne Arundel County Water Trail (AACWT) have recently been updated, making this resource more useful than ever!  The weather and the water are getting warmer, and it’s  a great time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and practice safe social distancing with friends at a local park or on the water.  Take advantage of our proximity to the bay and the local rivers, to access all the beauty and amenities that our parks and waterways have to offer. There are miles of coastline and nature to explore along the AACWT!

Read the recent Bay Weekly article, “Launch Your Summer,” here: https://bayweekly.com/launch-your-summer/

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Plan your next paddle or hike by exploring the annotated maps below. Additional maps of the Anne Arundel Water Trail are available at www.aacwt.org. Scroll down for additional images, and more!

The newly-updated Map 11 (shown below) includes:

  • Improvements at Jack Creek Park
  • Full public access at Beverly Triton Beach Park
  • Mayo Beach Park has expanded hours of 9 am to 7 pm for the Public Open Days
  • The reopening of Captain Avery Museum

Download a Map 11 PDF copy HERE  —  Download a Map 9 PDF copy HERE


Jack Creek Park, Before and After*

By Paul Fofonoff

Jack Creek Park, an Anne Arundel County Park on the east coast of Shady Side, has been a favorite spot of mine as a stop on my annual paddle to work and as a destination in itself with a sandy beach, beautiful woods of oak and holly (where bald eagles sometimes perched), and an expansive grassy field.

For many years, access to the park was difficult. It was either by boat or a half-mile walk to the water. The park has gone through many changes, from the erosive effects of rising sea levels to new construction to mitigate those effects and allow easier access to a new a canoe/kayak launch.

In 2003, on my first paddle to work, the park had a peninsula sticking out into the Bay. After a while it got severed by a channel. At first it was a tight and shallow squeeze for my kayak, but soon it got wide and several feet deep. For several years, I enjoyed swimming out to the island from the beach.

By 2018, the island had split in half, and on at least one stormy day in 2019, and again in April 2020, it was underwater. Meanwhile, waves had chewed at the park’s shore and the forest.

By 2018, the original trail through the forest required lots of detours and scary steps over eroded gaps. The park was officially closed and construction started on a shore protection project, which included a public kayak launch.

The project was finished in March 2020, but the coronavirus outbreak caused the cancellation of the planned opening ceremony. The park, however, has been open and offers lots of open space, but the beaches were small patches of sand laced with wires to protect newly planted beach grass, and with only narrow gaps in the new breakwaters. They seem to be designed to prevent swimming and boat access away from the launch.

I’ll confess to feeling nostalgic for the park as it was, with a stretch of wild shoreline and lots of solitude, reachable only by a long walk or by boat. But it was eroding fast, and there is a need for public access to the Bay.

Boat access was difficult for those who don’t live in a waterfront neighborhood. Paddling here is very weather-dependent since the shore is exposed. Overall, Jack Creek Park is a great natural asset for the residents of Anne Arundel County.

(Editor’s note: CPA members, including our colleague Lisa Arrasmith, have been strong advocates for expanded public access for kayaking and other water-related activities.

Jack Creek and several other Anne Arundel parks have a gated entrance. Visitors must submit an online form to get the access code before visiting. It’s worth the extra effort to see these beautful parks for yourself! The lock combination is visible after submitting the form.

For more information about Jack Creek Park, go to:

https://www.aacounty.org/locations-and-directions/jack-creek-park

*This article was originally published in the CPA Kayaker, the newsletter of the Chesapeake Paddlers Association. Reprinted with permission. The
Chesapeake Paddlers Association is a nonprofit and all volunteer club that welcomes all to its kayaking trips and training workshops around the Chesapeake Bay and beyond. http://www.cpakayaker.com