It’s officially spring, and the Chesapeake Bay region has been gifted with a handful of beautiful days to get out and enjoy. People continue to embrace hikes and walks in the pandemic era, and even in March, some popular areas are already filling to capacity on the weekends. This past Sunday, parts of Patapsco Valley State Park had to turn away visitors.
There’s a lesser-known hike destination at the mouth of the Severn River. Greenbury Point is owned by the U.S. Navy, and when they’re not using it for firearms training, it’s open to the public. Naval Support Activity (NSA) Annapolis, which manages Greenbury Point, is issuing new guidance to help you enjoy this piece of waterfront. Hikers, dog walkers, and runners can use the roads and trails of this natural resources conservation area—as long as firearm ranges aren’t operating and other training events aren’t underway.
Some of the roads used by hikers are within the Surface Danger Zone, known as SDZ, defined as “that portion of the land and the air above in which personnel and/or equipment may be endangered by ground weapons firing or demolition activities.” NSA Annapolis Commanding Officer Capt. Homer Denius encourages visitors when it’s safe, but reminds everyone:
“You can enjoy Greenbury Point, but for your safety, you need to adhere to the posted signage and warnings. Most importantly, gates, lights, and signage indicate when the gravel roads are closed to the public due to use of the firearms range.”
Last weekend, Bay Bulletin found families, dog walkers and hikers taking advantage of the sweeping Severn River and Chesapeake Bay views, including a clear sightline to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The access roads are paved with dirt trails, which had puddles after a recent rain but were still passable. There was plenty of free parking available and no overcrowding on the two-mile stretch of trail that follows the shoreline, passing the massive radio towers that have become a landmark and sometime-navigational aid for boaters.
If you plan to go walk there, it doesn’t hurt to check the @NSAAnnapolis Twitter feed or call 410-293-9304 to make sure the trails are open before heading over.
Greenbury Point is also a training area for the U.S. Naval Academy, including field operations, navigation drills, and physical fitness. In fact, there are road signs warning drivers they must yield to military service members in formation.
“Greenbury Point serves as a training hub for the U.S. Naval Academy, so the conservation area is frequently closed to accommodate our future leaders’ mission requirements,” said Zoe Johnson, NSA Annapolis Community Planning Liaison Officer. Johnson explains that certain areas are reserved for authorized military and Department of Defense use only, including the marina and guest cottages currently under construction.
Ultimately, NSA Annapolis wants visitors to be in the know on how to take advantage of this beautiful conservation spot.
“The general public is open to use the walking trails and access roads, but we want people to be safe when they visit the area,” says Johnson.
For hours of operation, regulations, and a PDF map of Greenbury Point, visit https://www.navymwrannapolis.com/programs/bedd477e-9ba4-49a2-9d91-8cd6f02dcd8f
-Meg Walburn Viviano