Efforts to close Loch Ravenís trails stalled in the mid nineties when overwhelming public support swayed the DPW to keep the trails open. In 1998 the Mountain Bike Plan was conceived by a diverse group of people with a vested interest in keeping recreation alive within the reservoir. However, DPW never followed through with their part of the plan and eleven years later they have started with enforcement of the now archaic laws. Had they actually followed their own lead, we would have a healthy trail system and there would be no debate today.
For the last eleven years the mountain bike community, as well as other user groups, has maintained the trails at Loch Raven and educated the public as to what are the doís and doníts of the trail. MORE a trail building and advocacy group has worked with the past administration to build re-routes of heavily eroded trails and they have also worked on nearly forty other parks to create multi-use trails. Land managers are happy to have volunteers to help manage the parks. This is what we intend to do at Loch Raven Reservoir.
DPWís reason for the enforcement is because they state that use of the footpaths creates sediment in the reservoir and is therefore not allowed. We will present our information next week at an informational hearing with the Baltimore City Council, which shows the real impact of multi-use trail systems.
During a time of reduced budgets and healthy living, it just makes sense to continue to allow recreation on the footpaths of Loch Raven. We are offering volunteer labor and trail building skill so that the reservoir can still hold value for our future generations.
Please bear with us as we update our site to the newest available information. Things are happening at lightning speed and we will do our best to inform you in a timely manner. Thank you for any and all help that you may provide and I look forward to seeing you on our soon to be open trails.
The Loch Raven Reservoir is a reservoir that provides drinking water for most of Baltimore County, Maryland. Originally built in 1881 as a dam and water tunnel to channel water to Lake Montebello and Lake Clifton, the new dam was constructed in 1914 in efforts to increase the municipal water supply. After the dam was built, the reservoir submerged the agricultural village of Warren. In 1923, the dam was elevated from 52 to 240 feet (73 m), and was viewed by many as a step towards the re-vitalization of Baltimore after the Great Fire of 1904. It is fed by the Big Gunpowder Falls river, and has a capacity of 23 billion gallons of water. In addition to providing potable drinking water to Baltimore County, the lake serves as a park and recreational area for the public to enjoy.
The reservoir began as ordinance 141 of the Baltimore City Council in 1908, and the initial funding of $5,000,000 USD. The dam was constructed between 1912 and 1914 and when completed its crest was 188 feet (57 m) above mean sea level, and 51 feet (16 m) from the original valley floor. The dam consisted of 50,800 cubic yards (38,800 m3) of concrete and impounded 1.5 billion gallons. Seven miles of new roads were constructed as well as two new bridges. Additionally a 12-foot (3.7 m) wide tunnel was built at a length of 1,623 feet (495 m) from the upper to the lower dam, which connected with the main tunnel running seven miles (11 km) to Lake Montebello in Baltimore.