With Maryland’s weather being as unpredictable as it is, we here at OSM decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather earlier this week and check out the newly reopened Robert E. Lee Memorial Park located near Falls Road and Lake Avenue in Baltimore. The beautiful fall colors were everywhere around the park, showing no sign that it had snowed less than two weeks prior. People were out enjoying the gorgeous fall day and the beautiful new park.
The park’s centerpiece is Lake Roland, which was built as a reservoir for the City of Baltimore. Here we found families fishing along the banks of the lake and around the dam. It’s also a great spot for canoeing and kayaking. Areas of the park are now much more accessible after undergoing over $3 million in renovations. Through grants from the state and Baltimore County, a pedestrian bridge that spans 115-feet over Roland Run was added along with a paved footpath, a boardwalk and a 1.5 acre dog park.
In 1992, the park was declared a National Historic District. It was originally part of an 18th century land grant from Lord Baltimore to several Maryland families. Lake Roland was formed in the 1850s as a reservoir. Later, the park fell into disrepair, and two years ago the County acquired the park from the City. The park shut down in late 2009 to undergo extensive renovations. Now nearly two years later, this hidden gem is open for everyone to enjoy.
While visiting the park, we saw tons of people utilizing the park: dads fishing with their sons, couples taking afternoon strolls, dog owners walking their pets, bicyclists out for a ride, kayakers out for a paddle and families picnicking along the lake. We were pleasantly surprised to see so many people out and about enjoying the weather and the park on a weekday afternoon.
We also noticed how dog-friendly the park is now. Located within the 415-acre park is Paw Point Dog Park, a gated 1.5 acre, off-the-leash park that features benches for the owners and bags for pet waste removal. You have to be a member to utilize the dog park, but the rest of the park is just as pet friendly. As long as your pup is on a leash, it’s more than welcome to enjoy the beautiful grounds. There are even dog waste bag dispensers located along the paths. We saw one dog really taking advantage of the beautiful day by hopping into the lake for a doggy paddle.
Besides the dogs and people, we also noticed the presence of park rangers. This is also a new addition to the park, with rangers roaming around offering assistance and friendly hellos to every passerby. The rangers are also there to enforce the park rules and aren’t afraid to issue a citation if you’re breaking them. One of the next phases in the park renovations is a ranger station to be added sometime in the near future.
The park is conveniently located right off of I-83 and is only a stone’s throw from downtown. The Light Rail runs through the park, and it has a stop right along the trail. Robert E. Lee Park is definitely an urban oasis for nature lovers. The beautiful scenery was enough for this self-proclaimed indoor girl to want to get out and take an afternoon hike!
Check out our slide show of pictures that we took while on our trip to Robert E. Lee Park.