- To preserve and enhance Myrtle Point Park as a nature park, where people can enjoy outdoor activities in a healthy Chesapeake Bay watershed environment, activities such as hiking, fishing, birding, picnicking, beach strolling, primitive camping, kayaking, canoeing, photography and art, and nature study.
- To restore Myrtle Point Park as a healthy Chesapeake Bay tidewater environment and preserve its archeological sites.
DESCRIPTION AND HISTORY
The 192-acre park is a unique gem. It is a peninsula bounded by the Patuxent River, Mill Creek, and Sam Abel Cove. Beautifully forested areas abound and mature trees line the beaches ringing the perimeter. A portion is a designated FID (Forest Interior Dwelling) area. Myrtle Point has a great variety of wildlife, from river otters, mink, and cottontail rabbits to diamond-backed terrapins, green frogs, and salamanders. There are hawks, herons, owls, warblers, and eagles. The Park also contains many significant archeological sites, both colonial and Native American.
Sections of Myrtle Point Park were formerly a farm, an Italian embassy retreat, and a failed residential development site. In these areas, damaged habitat has begun regeneration and abounds with myrtles, black cherries, and cedars. However, in sections where they must compete with nonnative invasive plants, recovery is slow.
Preserve and Enhance Myrtle Point Park as a nature park: The county parks abound with playing fields, but the special qualities of Myrtle Point make it an unusually valuable property for a nature park. Every park need not be the same. As a dedicated nature park, Myrtle Point can be a unique part of a comprehensive park system, providing activities away from noise and congestion. Past suggestions have been for sports complexes and boat ramps, with the attendant parking lots and lights and only a fringe of trees around the perimeter. This plan would not be hospitable to wildlife and would result in an environment too sterile for the real enjoyment of the outdoors.
Restore Myrtle Point Park as a healthy Chesapeake Bay tidewater environment and preserve its archeological sites: As public access to river waterfront diminishes, Maryland forests decline, and the land devoted to housing increases, it is essential that we restore and preserve tidal habitats and contiguous forests if we are to preserve Maryland's rich environmental heritage. In Myrtle Point, the damaged habitat areas need restoration, including a concerted program to remove invasive plants. This will expedite the return of a more natural forest and provide sufficient habitat to support wildlife. Our state bird, the Baltimore Oriole, for example, requires more that 100 acres of contiguous forest for nesting sites. The cost for this restoration could be provided through grants and donations. In addition, archeological sites must be preserved as an integral part of the native and colonial history of our region.
FRIENDS OF MYRTLE POINT PARK
The Friends of Myrtle Point Park is a citizens' group dedicated to promoting this vision of the Park. We sponsor education programs in the Park for school groups, lead hikes and hold cleanup days. We maintain the hiking trails by placing signs, clearing downed trees, and keeping the bulletin boards maps up-to-date. We also have members who are knowledgeable about finding and obtaining grants for projects in the Park, including invasive plant removal, capital improvements and education programs.
- Expand the trails systems by converting roads to trails and adding new trails
- Construct a handicapped accessible boardwalk along one of the marshes, with access to the beach
- Apply for inclusion of Myrtle Point Park in the national Park Service's Gateways to the Chesapeake Program
- Establish a hike-in/paddle-in primitive camping area
- Locate a launch site for kayaks and canoes
- Begin restoration with a demonstration plot (perhaps grant funded) where alien plants are removed and native plants restored
- Develop educational materials, including interpretive signs, to be used with nature study programs
- Establish two picnic groves with small cleared areas for volleyball, horseshoes pitching, kite flying and similar activities
- If financially feasible, restore one of the barns to a condition suitable for nature study and other similar education programs
- Continue the positive relationship between the FOMPP, the County Government and R&P offices by providing volunteer support and writing grant proposals
Once a master plan has been adopted and has passed review by all the appropriate agencies, such as Critical Areas Commission, the Friends of Myrtle Point Park stand willing and able to work diligently on these recommendations. We believe that Myrtle Point Park can become a place where all residents of St. Mary's County can enjoy the outdoors, with all the attendant benefits to body, mind and spirit. Further, this nature park can be a regional showplace and a legacy for future generations.