Ms Monroe is on a mission. She has been hiking and hacking her way through land owned by Anne Arundel county where citizens and others are not encouraged. The land, overgrown and inaccessible, covers many hundreds of acres and leads to beaches on the Chesapeake Bay that were closed by the county after desegregation in the early 1960s. The thinking: if we have to share it, we’ll make sure no one uses it at all. Now the land is enjoyed only by deer and fox. There are also less desirable forms of wildlife. Ms. Monroe’s fair skin was covered in chigger bites when she and I met this afternoon-hundreds of angry red marks up and down her legs . She knows I am not much of a one for rambling even when there is a clear cut path, an absence of bugs and the promise of a picnic at the other end. We used her Boston Whaler to look at the sand from the water. The county has put in breakwaters to stop erosion and on top of each pile of stones there is a sign forbidding trespass on land we own. The beaches were completely deserted as they have been now for 50 years.
At Breezy Point in nearby Calvert County MD, the administration charges locals and visitors to use the beach. The same is true at North beach where there is a boardwalk, and a net to keep the jellyfish away from swimmers. These beaches are always packed in summer. At Calvert cliffs, there is no charge to walk from the small parking lot along a simple path to the water. All year round, people of any color can hunt for fossils and sharks teeth in the shale.
Ms Monroe plans to campaign for pathways and parking spaces and, yes, picnic tables to allow we the people go back to the beach in Anne Arundel County. I’m with her.