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State Parks In Baltimore County Getting Trashed

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Baltimore County
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The state parks in Baltimore County are seeing a crush of people looking for things to do during the COVID-19 pandemic. And because of that, officials say, the parks are being abused and traffic around them can be a nightmare.

The county is taking steps to crack down on willy-nilly parking around the hike and bike trail that runs through Monkton Station, which is part of Gunpowder Falls State Park.

Republican Councilman Wade Kach said 650,000 people used the trail the first six months of this year. Kach said that’s nearly three times as many people as last year, and that is causing big headaches as people look for parking.

“You have people parking on the road. You have citizens walking in the middle of the road. You have young kids darting back and forth,” Kach said.

Earlier this month, the county council agreed to hike the fine for parking illegally along the road in Monkton to $200. The fine took effect this week.

North Point State Park is in Republican County Councilman Todd Crandell’s district. He said the state parks are suffering from overuse and people aren’t picking up their trash.

“People that are using the parks aren’t using them for their intended purpose, and are really leaving their mark,” Crandell said. “Maybe worse than we’ve seen in my years on the council.”

Baltimore County Administrative Officer Stacy Rodgers said the Olszewski administration plans to work with the state on what to do about its parks.

Rodgers said it is a multi-faceted problem. She said the county and state both have campaigns urging people to take trash home from parks.

“Some places it’s working better than others,” Rodgers said.