A long and winding river in Harford County, Md. is poised to become a paddling destination as it adds county-operated public canoe/kayak launches.
Deer Creek originates in York County, Pa. and winds for nearly 53 miles to the Susquehanna River at Susquehanna State Park. It is the vision of Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, an avid paddler and outdoorsman, to create a Deer Creek Water Trail.
The 2018 Harford County Land Preservation, Parks & Recreation Plan aimed to develop integrated greenway, land and water trail systems with both public and private segments. To that end, the county has just opened a new canoe/kayak launch at Walters Mill Road in Forest Hill.
The Walters Mill launch has a loading area and 14 parking spaces. It’s open dawn to dusk and managed by Harford County Parks & Recreation. It is 19 miles upstream from the mouth of Deer Creek, where it empties into the Susquehanna. And the launch is only six miles upstream of the county’s first launch area of the planned Deer Creek trail, at Benjamin’s Bridge in the community of Street.
In addition to being a great spot for locals to launch their paddlecraft from, the hope is that paddlers from elsewhere in the Bay region will make an afternoon of it, beginning at Walters Mill and ending at Benjamin’s Bridge.
“Paddling on Deer Creek is one of the best ways I know of to unwind,” County Executive Glassman said. “Our new launch at Walters Mill makes it easy to head down to Benjamin’s Bridge and enjoy a six-mile stretch of one of Harford’s most beautiful waterways.”
Harford County Government spokesperson Cindy Mumby tells Bay Bulletin, “Deer Creek is a Harford County treasure,” saying these new launches give people an opportunity to enjoy it up close—especially people who weren’t already familiar with the tributary.
You can find the newest launch at 1202 Walters Mill Road and the Benjamin’s Bridge launch at 3010 Conowingo Road. Mumby says now the search will begin for another launch location that is accessible and environmentally responsible. If an appropriate spot is found, the launch could be added in fiscal year 2023.
–Meg Walburn Viviano