Discussion of new trails in Allegany County MD
Cumberland Times News : ATV riding trails a possibility in Allegany County
CUMBERLAND — A recreational developer wants to bring a series of legal off-road riding areas to Allegany County for use by all-terrain and other vehicles.
Key to any trail system would be cooperation between the state and developers involving liability issues and the use of reclaimed strip mine lands.
“It’s in the very early stages,” said Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine.
The closure of trails in the Green Ridge State Forest in 2011 is estimated to have cost the county economy about $1.2 million from spending by the use of the trails, Valentine said. Except as a beneficiary of economic gains, the county will not be financially involved in the project, he said.
The proposal, among other items, may be discussed at an upcoming Maryland Department of Natural Resources public meeting.
The DNR is asking residents for their input on outdoor recreation facilities and services.
The Regional Stakeholder Recreation Evaluation public meeting for the Western Region will be held March 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Allegany College of Maryland in the Continuing Education Building Room 8. Valentine said this is an opportunity for residents to express support for off-road vehicle trails.
In May 2011, the DNR closed three of the state’s off-road vehicle trails — Green Ridge, Chandler and Poplar Lick trails.
The roads were closed because of a forest certification audit. The audit was part of the state’s effort to receive dual certification for all three Western Maryland state forests.
The move was made to protect environmental features of the forests.
Green Ridge Trail is part of Green Ridge State Forest; Poplar Lick Trail is in Savage River State Forest; and Chandler ORV trail winds through Pocomoke State Forest.
The developer is also interested in creating trails in Garrett County, Valentine said.
“We have a problem in Georges Creek with four-wheelers on the roads,” Valentine said.
If the trails are created, it could help with that problem, Valentine said.
A small fee for a pass would be attractive for recreational riders compared to a fine and court date, Valentine said. Snowmobiling in the winter might also be a possibility on the trails, he said.
The county isn’t formally involved in the project, but is helping the developer with contacts needed to try and move the plan forward, Valentine said.
State officials would have to grant a use lease for the property and free the developer from liability for accidents. The county is also helping the potential developer comply with all environmental guidelines and make sure any concerns are addressed on the front end of the project, Valentine said.
“We want to make sure it’s done properly,” he said.
Contact Matthew Bieniek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a quickie update for you:
Okay, so I did a little digging this week to find out more info on the OHV article that was published in the Cumberland Times earlier this week. OHV Article. One of the guys on the DNR OHV committee, with myself, is one of three gentlemen spearheading this possibility mentioned in said article. I emailed him and received this response:
"The back story is several of us (myself, a land owner and a mine operator) met with Commissioner Valentine to discuss creating a Hatfield-McCoy like system in western MD. I wish he hadn't said "developer" as that implies a commercial venture. It is NOT a commercial venture. The intent is for a public governmental entity (TBD) to manage a public OHV "park".
This is complex and I was waiting to talk more about it at the Mar meeting."
I'm guessing it would be created by a private enterprise and then 'bought' by DNR for management purposes. We'll know more after the March Meeting. Start the rumor-mill...now. Lol
Actually, March’s meeting was very encouraging. It was really mind blowing to learn that the DNR is serious about using WMA's (Wildlife Management Areas) for OHV. Mind you, it would mean closure during hunting season. Honestly though, it seems like a very small price to pay. I honestly believe that would work in our favor in two ways.
We are looking at doing a field trip to these areas, tentatively in April. I’m planning to go and will take pics.
Antietam is stalled out. Not looking too promising. No one's fault in the group, for sure. Just not working out. It is what it is.
There is a “mine” property at I-70 and I-68 which still holds hope and the owner really wants to make it happen.
One of the group members is working with a Mine property owner in Allegany County. To start with, we are looking at 300 acres. The county commissioner is all for this. The DNR group leader has to see if the State can help us with the liability end of it. If that were to happen, the County would help to establish management. The State and the County are now seeing $$$$ signs.
Barton is still on the table. St. John's Rock is a real possibility.
The tone was very upbeat! It was encouraging, as some members from the Baltimore 4 Wheelers, Inc. four wheel drive club were there. Nice turn out.
One of the group members has been speaking with Donelle at the Nature Conservancy, (with extreme caution). Still, she was very polite during the meeting and even supportive at times with our game plan. Another member with ‘well-known’ land use group was at odds with the plan. You could take the most wasted of waste land and there would still be a problem. We made it clear, we are not looking for waste land. We appreciate the finer aspects of nature, too.
At the evening's Public Trails meeting was about 8 to 1 OHV people there. Mind you, many were clueless and really not so much help to our cause, but they count too. A number of very elderly citizens there were very vocal FOR OHV access! Some OHV folks there were pretty loud, but not out of control. A consulting firm was used to run this meeting and gather data. Given the crowd, they were doing the best that they could and put up with some tough folks. Keeping folks on topic was a main difficulty. Still, they stayed tough.
For those of you asking how to help out, let’s just say keep Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day weekends open. We may need some ready hands…we will be focusing on pre-engineering design phase ideas.
Truly, very exciting times for Maryland's OHV community!
Awesome! Keep us informed and if you need a hand with anything, let me know. Also, I work at a Civil Engineering firm (mainly working with CAD and stormwater management and some surveying), so if you need some stuff or assistance in that area, shoot me a pm. Thanks for keeping us in the loop!
This sounds great! Is there anything we can do to help?
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