Bay Ridge Forest
Not many Bay Ridge residents today would argue with the statement that one of the community’s most outstanding physical features is the Bay Ridge Woods and Commons. The wooded land moderates our temperatures, filters and mitigates storm-water runoff, improves our air quality, and, best of all, sustains us in all seasons of the year with the beauty of a mature, deciduous woodland.
For years not many residents knew, or cared, that almost all of that woodland as well as the Chesapeake and Severn shoreline, platted paths, street ends, and Kass Park were still in the hands of the last developer, Bay Ridge Properties, Inc. (BRPI). The Bay Ridge Trust, a local land trust, now part of the Scenic Rivers Land Trust, kept telling us how important the wooded lands were to the fragile ecosystem of the Chesapeake. The Trust wanted to buy BRPI’s property, but most people thought that was impossible.
Suddenly, in the spring of 2000, BRPI announced their intent to prepare their lots for sale. They expected to build approximately 160 homes in the Bay Ridge Woods and more on Kass Park, the bluffs on Bay Drive, and scattered lots. At packed BRCA meetings, community members shouted a resounding NO WAY!
Relying on a unique collaboration between the Bay Ridge Civic Association and the Bay Ridge Trust, Bay Ridgers decided to buy the land themselves. We would protect our community from over development, preserve our way of life, and conserve the natural resources that are so critical to us and to the Bay.
Fortunately, Bay Ridge residents and friends included men and women with special expertise in finance, law, real estate, public relations, education, development, and engineering who volunteered their skills and time for the community good. They led cadres of other volunteers in a battle to save the woods. Take a moment to read the incredible story of the Bay Ridge Forest Purchase.
To volunteer for our forest clean-up days, visit our Events calendar.