Watkins Regional Park Master Park Development Plan

What is a Master Park Development Plan?

A Master Park Development Plan will establish a comprehensive vision for Watkins Regional Park by developing a blueprint that balances competing demands on the parks' resources. The blueprint is shaped by recommendations generated from an analysis of information collected through civic engagement, an evaluation of existing site conditions, and robust level of service assessments. The plan identifies priorities and opportunities to responsibly guide development through the next 20-25 years. Many of the proposed elements will still need more detailed planning, design, and engineering before implementation.

Why is it Being Developed Now?

Watkins Regional Park has grown organically over the past 40 years; infrastructure, activities, and programs were developed as opportunities presented themselves. Over the years, Watkins has established itself as a natural, cultural, and recreational jewel of the county. The park serves over one million visitors annually by providing a diverse collection of programs, activities, and options for passive recreation.

The Department of Parks and Recreation recognizes the changing demand for facilities within the park and is working to define steps to allocate proper resources for both conservation and development. A more holistic planning approach is needed to identify the limitations of the parks' assets while continually enhancing the role of Watkins Regional Park in the county.

Guiding Principles

The following principles were established with community members and key stakeholders to guide the planning effort for Watkins Regional Park. They provided a framework for decision making and influences the recommendations for future development:
  • Create a Sense of Place: A compelling mix of destinations and experiences will enhance the comfort, ambiance, and choice of activities at the park.
  • Education and Environmental Learning: Celebrate the park’s natural resources through a more focused lens on environmental discovery and understanding. Special habitat and wildlife features will be protected and explained.
  • Maintain and Expand the Audience and Capacity: Open up opportunities for new audiences and age groups to visit and enjoy the park. Address overcrowding issues by providing additional parking and amenities to compensate.
  • Community Connections: Park facilities, activities and events will be scheduled regularly and be well promoted to draw the community together. New connections out to neighborhoods, improved wayfinding will increase connectivity within the park.
  • Personal Health and Fitness: Trails for recreational use will be expanded to improve fitness and health programming.

Resources and Community Feedback

Please review the documents below and join in the conversation regarding the future of Watkins Regional Park! We invite you to contact the Park Planning and Development Division at 301-699-2517 with any questions or comments.