CHESAPEAKE CITY — The Bohemia River State Park is still on track for a 2020 opening, as state officials prepare to break ground on the new entrance and continue to prepare the park for passive use.
Last fall, Maryland Park Service officials delayed opening the state’s newest state park after it was determined that the two existing entrances were unsafe. Both access points were on curves on Route 213, without clear sight line to oncoming traffic.
State officials are designing a straight road to serve as the main entrance to the Bohemia River State Park, with construction expected this winter or spring. Following that, the park should be open for passive use in late summer or early fall.
“I wouldn’t be expecting to see picnic tables or grills anytime soon, but it will be open for passive use,” assistant Park Ranger Chris Grieco told the Whig. “Think hiking, biking and a soft launch for canoeing and kayaking. There’s already hunting on the property.”
The future park, 460 acres of former farmland, will include 15,000 feet of waterfront property on the Bohemia River, as well as open meadows and forests.
The $4.87 million property was acquired in 2017 through Program Open Space funds and assisted by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC).
Between the purchase of the property and now, MSP has been making environmental and safety improvements. The iconic sycamore trees that lined one of the existing entrances were torn down because they were plagued with an incurable fungus disease.
Other improvements include demolition of an old barn on the property as well as filling in a well for safety.
State officials are also working on planting trees near the waterfront. Since runoff from farm fields is not ideal for water quality, new trees along the river will help serve as a buffer and a natural filtration system.
MSP are still developing an overall plan for the Bohemia River State Park, specifically outlining trail access and parking for it, Grieco said.
“One of the things we feel so fortunate about is that it was essentially a blank canvas when we got it. It’s not often in your career as a park ranger that you get to design a park,” he said. “But it’s important to keep the focus that we’re not building this park for us, we’re building it for the Cecil County residents and park-goers across the state and in the tri-state area. We look forward to continuing to get feedback on what people want to see.”