|Are you telling me that not ALL 21-month olds won't sit |
on rocks in cold, rushing water up to their chest,
Even in the summer months, the stream has a cold, shallow flow, wonderful habitat for dace, crayfish, and little boys and girls. The bed material is almost all sand and cobble, which is perfect for any kid or adult who is sure-footed in the water.
I moved into this area in 1998 and first fished the Gunpowder River near its confluence with Minebank Run in 2001. I knew that the County bought most of the land - forming Cromwell Valley Park - in the mid-1990s and some of my habitat restoration competitors were busy in the early 2000s restoring Minebank Run itself. Still, I really know nothing about the stream, the valley, or its history, so I decided to look it up on the interwebs.
Taking some license with history, apparently the area was originally timbered and farmed by some English folks in the 1700s, I dunno, with some forgettable names like "Cromwell" and "Towson." In the late 1700s, broken pieces of locally mined marble, limestone and chalk were processed at lime kilns along Minebank Run. These sites were heavily used (and the stream heavily polluted) until the 1800s, when, according to the Falmanac blog, railroads became more locally prevalent, the implication being (I guess) that it was more efficient to bring in rock and ship out lime via rail than it was to do it via horse, as it was done in the early 19th century. I assume that the rail line they're referring to is the local Northern Central Rail line (now NCR Trail) which was built just a few miles to the west, with newer lime kilns staggered along the rail line.
Cromwell/Minebank Lime Kilns. Source: Falmanac
|Every time a minnow swam by, Hank would say, "Wooooah!"|
Ultimately, the lime kilns along the NCR line were abandoned too, and the farms along Minebank Run, less than 15 miles from downtown Baltimore, became "gentlemen farms" in the 1930s. Around that time, development throughout the little stream's drainage increased quite a bit, which caused heavy storm flows and began the process of stream erosion. In the 1960s, engineers tried to lessen the soil loss by......paving the stream. Surprisingly (?!) that didn't work out, and the stream kept eating itself away and throwing tons of sediment and nutrients into the lower Gunpowder River. Finally, 10 years ago, the stream was restored to mimic natural historic conditions. You can find great photos of that project (before and after) right here.
For us, it's a good place to be, close to home. An amazing fishing hole it ain't, but even when Hank is big enough to hold a rod, I'll bring him to this place and let him think it's the Amazon, that those little bluegills are peacock bass, and that the river crayfish are rock lobsters.
|I'll take my juice and my motorcycle, please.|