You weekend warriors are in good company if – now that spring finally has sprung - you find yourself grabbing a basket full of food, soft blanket and Frisbee to head to your local park. April 23, is National Picnic Day, after all. In the Baltimore region, Carroll County is – and has been - the spot for some quality picnicking. The county planned it that way back in the late 1980s. The 1987 Carroll County Parks and Land Preservation Plan, which we found in the Regional Information Center, shows that 45 percent of survey respondents reported picnicking an average of 4.5 times a year. As a result, the plan also predicted that interest in picnicking would hold steady throughout the 1990s and into the Millennium. Carroll County’s parks and recreation areas, with 810 existing facilities, had more than enough space to accommodate the needs of the pastorally-inclined, according to the plan. Park-goers could enjoy most of that space without intrusion by other parties, too. By 1995, the plan anticipated that only 535 of its facilities would be occupied by multiple parties at a time. However, picnics hardly were the only outdoor activities that drew people to Carroll County’s facilities. Off-road vehicles - such as ATVs, dirt bikes, and modified trucks and jeeps - were on the rise in popularity, as well as organized sports. In short, they needed acres of more space. By 1987, Carroll County had limited space for off-roading, and according to their models, it would need 70.5 miles of track by 1995. Plus, the county anticipated that it should construct 46 more baseball fields, 4.5 acres of swimming pools, and 67 more basketball courts. Carroll County’s facilities currently boast more than 30 parks, and thousands of acres of open land, many of which have been added since the 1987 plan. These facilities include picnic areas, trails, hunting and fishing space, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and baseball, softball and multipurpose fields.
Source: Greenhorne and O’Mara, Inc. 1987. Carroll County Parks and Land Preservation Plan, 1986-1987.