Big Gunpowder Falls Prey to Commercialism

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I enjoy a water park as much as the next person, but sometimes I’m in the mood for
a relaxing float down a tranquil stream in my giant inflated doughnut. Remember when
Grandpa took you on a hike through the woods with fishing poles, tubes, and maybe even a kayak? The best part of that was the seclusion. Big Gunpowder Falls has been a favorite outdoorsy place for Marylanders for over 60 years. Families have tubed and played in
the streams without the hassle of crowds and noise. Not to mention, homeowners on the
water have paid big bucks for access to watery peace right in their backyards…key word
here, peace.

But now, two commercial operations have set themselves up at the Falls, offering shuttle service and attracting hordes in herds. (In case you missed the Sun’s related story this weekend, a link.) Inevitably, one of those demographics bulges with boisterous, alcohol-chugging college students, who leave beer bottles behind, and no doubt shout obscenities near little swimmers’ ears. Don’t get me wrong–I think college students should be able to enjoy the Falls as much as kids and grandparents, but bringing them together via recreational business seems to draw a disproportionate number of undesired drifters.

I want to know what happened to the good old days when families could sneak off to hidden nooks and enjoy nature, without waiting in a line. Why does everything have to turn commercial? Can’t business keep its greedy groping hands off of one of the area’s most enjoyed summer pastimes? Then again, seen another way, the Falls practically flaunted its sweet, innocent (word-of-mouth-popular) bounty–perfect place for the money-minded to barge in and profit.

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