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Stevenson Villager

New nature trails provide scenic routes between Stevenson’s Owings Mills campuses

Claire Oshman
The legendary tire swing, hidden away down by the stream.

An urban legend has spread around Stevenson University’s campus for years. The story was once shared with upperclassmen on campus and gradually makes its way to incoming students.  

Legend says that somewhere, deep in the woods surrounding Stevenson University, lies a lonely tire swing, attached to a fallen tree. The swing is real, and thanks to recent efforts, hikers can now discover the legendary swing.  

Four nature trails now connect the athletic fields of East Campus, North Campus, and Caves, thanks to the work of professor and chair of counseling and human services Dr. John Rosicky along with student volunteers.  

The nature trails on campus provide students with a new and direct way to travel between campuses. The trails are labeled on maps around campus and cover about one mile through the woods. Along the North Trail, which connects the North and East Campuses, hikers walk through the woods alongside Gwynns Falls, a 25-mile stream throughout Baltimore. To the left, about halfway up the trail, students can behold the legendary tire swing, on the other side of the stream. 

Rosicky established trails to provide students with easy access to nature around campus. He has also made trails around his own home and in Patapsco State Park.  

“One thing that made me fall in love with [making trails] is just the sense of having accomplished something at the end of the day,” Rosicky said.  

Stevenson student Miriam Walton appreciates the convenience of the trails.  

“It’s relaxing to just go walk in the woods, and it’s especially nice since it’s right there,” Walton said.

Rosicky worked with student volunteers starting last spring semester and continued over the summer to complete the trails. The women’s ice hockey team, the cross-country team, Stevenson’s Center for Environmental Stewardship, and other student and faculty volunteers have all pitched in to help build the trails. 

The trails give sights of local plants, trees, and wildlife.  

“It’s peaceful,” Rosicky said. “You don’t realize that right on the other side there’s all of these wooded areas [with] birds, deer, quiet… it’s a nice change.”  

Stevenson student Cedar Brown thought the trails were beautiful.  

“My favorite part was seeing all the animal tracks in the mud along the trails,” Brown said. “It’s very relaxing, it feels very magical.” 

One mile of trails currently extend through the woods along Gwynns Falls but plans for further expansion are already in development. Rosicky said that he hopes to expand the trails to the wooded area next to the Mustang Stadium. There are also plans to connect the trail system to the Stevenson dorms. Signs will be added to the trails by the end of the fall semester, and Rosicky hopes to add benches along the trails too. 

There are many sights to see, including the old structures of Rosewood Center, tributary streams, local wetlands, and Gwynns Falls. Students who take the Caves Trail will even cross Gwynns Falls on several large steppingstones. 

 “It was really nice. I wish I could have stayed there longer,” Brown said.

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