Part of the Bluestem development plan includes an access point that connects to the “Orange” trail within Lake Roland park. This access point was planned through thoughtful collaboration with community members, park experts and professionals with specialized knowledge of the sensitive environmental habitats on the land surrounding the trail.
Where Will the New Access Point Be?
The new access point will be constructed at the back-end of the Bluestem development. A gate will be constructed that allows Bluestem residents and Bare Hills community members access to the “Orange” trail within Lake Roland park. Current park regulations will still apply, and only pedestrian traffic will be allowed access to the Orange trail. Bikes and motorized recreational equipment will still be strictly forbidden.
The Benefits of the New Access Point
This new access point will provide a more convenient entrance to the Orange trail, replacing the current outdated entrance. It will also provide an additional access point for the “Red” trail via the Orange trail, which will help to ease congestion and parking concerns at the Greenspring entrance to the Red trail. This trail will also give park-goers access to view the beautiful and unique serpentine ecosystem, which will heighten awareness and appreciation of this valuable and rare habitat.
Will Bluestem Be Building on Park Property?
The Bluestem development will not be constructed on any park property. The access point will simply consist of a gate built on the parcel Bluestem purchased. Bluestem will not be developing any roads, trails or other infrastructure on or within Lake Roland park property. In fact, Bluestem has made a commitment to construct the development much closer to Falls Road than originally planned as to ensure there is a sufficient forested buffer between the development and park property. This will help to ensure that the park’s integrity and natural landscape is maintained.
How Will the Serpentine Ecosystem Be Protected?
The developers have made several purposeful decisions to ensure Lake Roland’s delicate and unique ecosystem remains unaffected—and even enhanced—by the Bluestem development. The Bluestem developers have spent extensive time studying the microclimates that exist within the park, including the serpentine barren areas that surround the Orange trail within Lake Roland park. Because Lake Roland is one of only four remaining areas in Maryland with a naturally-occurring serpentine barren, a prairie-like grassland area existing on dry, nutrient-poor soil and rock, the Bluestem developers feel strongly about maintaining its integrity in every way possible.
One of the biggest ways Bluestem has committed to the preservation of this delicate habitat is by maintaining an open dialogue with park staff about the removal of the invasive Virginia Pine, which has crowded out the prairie grasses that would naturally inhabit the unique serpentine areas of Lake Roland. They have also maintained an open line of communication with the Lake Roland Nature Council to discuss the possibility of new park trails that circumvent the most vulnerable regions of serpentine barren.
The Bluestem development team is also comprised of specialists who have both worked on Lake Roland Park projects in the past and have a specialized knowledge of the region’s flora and fauna. This includes Human & Rohde as well as Plusen Landscape Architects. With their insight, and in collaboration with park officials, a variety of solutions for preserving the serpentine barren region have been suggested, including boardwalk-style paths similar to the path Human & Rohde created to link the park with the MTA station and signage that explains the delicate nature of the serpentine and how park-goers can best traverse the area to preserve its integrity.
How Else Has Bluestem Chosen to Maintain an Environmentally-Friendly Design for the Development?
Whether through the thoughtful planning of the new access point that will link Bluestem with the Orange trail, or the myriad other ways Bluestem has chosen to maintain an environmentally conscious design, the Bare Hills community should be assured that this development will serve as a positive example of how smart and thoughtful development can make positive impacts on natural spaces. To learn more about Bluestem’s commitment to environmental preservation, click here.