The Lake Roland Nature Council (LRNC) is a membership based, volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship of Lake Roland (park). The Council, in partnership with Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks, works to maintain, preserve and protect the natural environment and historical structures in the park, providing a legacy for future generations. In addition, the LRNC helps with various recreational and educational programs and aids in the membership administration of programs such as the Paw Point Dog Park.
Recreational and educational features include a Nature Center; multiple trails for hiking, biking, running and strolling; a dog park; two picnic pavilions; a children’s playground; and an area to launch canoes and kayaks. The southwest corner of the park is a Serpentine Barrens, a rare ecosystem.
The main entrance to Lake Roland is located at 1000 Lakeside Drive, Baltimore, MD, 21210. There is also access from the Falls Road MTA light rail station via the boardwalk located at the rear of the light rail parking lot.
Centered on Lake Roland in the Jones Falls valley, the park has 503 acres of exceptionally diverse ecosystems including wetlands, meadows, and mature hardwood forests. Most significant is the environmentally sensitive serpentine barrens in the Bare Hills area, home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna. Lake Roland is historically significant, with not one, but two National Register Historic Districts!
The park is managed and maintained by Baltimore County and is leased from Baltimore City on a 100 year lease agreement. Closed for two years for extensive enhancements undertaken by the County, Lake Roland reopened as a Baltimore County Nature Park in October 2011.
Park improvements and amenities include:
- Ranger Station – Baltimore County rangers provide educational programming and are headquartered at the base of the pedestrian bridge across from the dam.
- Two pavilions with scenic water views available for rental for special events or general patron use.
- A new pedestrian bridge at the dam providing easy access from Lakeside Drive to the main peninsula, ranger station, MTA boardwalk the main hiking trails.
- Paw Point – An award winning enclosed off-leash dog park with water access (membership required)
- Boardwalk from the Falls Road Light Rail Station — Park goers can arrive by light rail or bus and gain easy access to the park via a raised boardwalk that is great for bird watching. This form of transit oriented recreation is unique to Lake Roland.
- Acorn Hill — a children’s natural play area.
- Extensive trail improvements – This ongoing effort makes exploring the park easy and fun. Work is performed on a volunteer basis by the trails committee of the Lake Roland Nature Council in collaboration with Baltimore County. Trail Maps are available.
- Refurbished Trestle Bridge on the former Greenspring Rail Line within the park that now carries the majority of the main red trail’s park patron pedestrian traffic across the Jones Falls. The trestle is both historic and provides scenic views from the main red trail.
- Expanded parking facilities spanning three parking lots including the MTA Light Rail parking lot.
- Significant refurbishment of the existing fishing pier facility which supports a number of water and land based recreational activities with significantly improved accessibility and picnic tables with panoramic views of the lake.
- Lake Roland has been the home to numerous historical community assets and through the revitalization process of Lake Roland, a number of these assets have been restored to their former glory and grandeur.
- The new Lake Roland Nature Center is a 2,594 square foot, green focused building utilizing renewable construction materials and a minimal environmental footprint. The Center has been funded through state, county and non-profit resources including grants and charitable donations. The Center allows the County and the Nature Council to provide year-round education and event programming with access for special needs and handicapped participants. The Center’s strategic location and proximity to the existing boardwalk further enhances its “transit oriented nature” — directly accessible from the Mass Transit Falls Road Light Rail Station via a raised boardwalk — the first of its kind in the Baltimore metro area.
- Lake Roland represents Transit Oriented Recreation (TOR) at its finest. Lake Roland is served by two forms of mass transit: bus and light rail, a first in the State of Maryland, let alone Baltimore County.
To get involved with programs or to help with a committee, visit our Council committees and contact the committee chair.