A newly unveiled recreation area in Havre de Grace is giving residents more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and providing a use for sediment dredged from nearby boating channels. Through a unique partnership between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Boating Services and the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Swan Harbor Farm project has opened-up nearby waterways and used the material to form a pond and scenic path.
“With more than 100 people using the walking trail around the site on a weekly basis, we are realizing the practical and recreational aspects of this site,” said Paul Magness, chief of capital planning development for the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation. “The area also provides a location for the dredge material that filled the Havre de Grace Yacht Basin after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee required Conowingo Dam to open last fall.”
Sediment was taken from the Havre De Grace Yacht Basin to make boating easier and more accessible and then used to build a walking trail on top of the area’s dikes. The project, which took one year to complete, will continue to serve as a disposal site for future dredging cycles of the basin and channel.
The project features:
• A nearly one-mile long, ADA-accessible, pedestrian walkway with scenic views of the surrounding area and a 20-foot by 20-foot timber observation platform.
• Dikes and tree buffers to improve the health of local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. Approximately 14,800 square feet has been planted to include 37 large trees and 74 understory trees. This dredge-site will remain a pond and serve as home to a variety of local wildlife.
• The capability to hold 100,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the Havre de Grace Yacht Basin.
• Several cells inside the dike which slow water flow and allow the silt to settle out before the water reaches Swan Creek. From there, there are also a series of small pools with check dams made of porous rock material to help filter the water.
The landscape features are required by the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission. DNR and the Harford County Parks and Recreation worked closely with the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commission to ensure that the site meets all environmental requirements.
The park is located at 401 Oakington Road in Havre de Grace. Project funding was provided through a DNR Waterway Improvement Fund grant of $775,922. Revenue for the fund comes from the one-time, 5 percent excise tax, paid when a boat is purchased and titled in Maryland.