Savage River Trail Progress

On the 27th of July, DNR held the ORV Stakeholders Meeting at Rocky Gap State Park. At the meeting, they showed the 30% design plans for the new Savage River trail system. Friends, I have to admit I’m impressed! DNR has definitely been listening to us and took to heart the lessons from the NOHVCC workshop last year.

For the rock crawlers, there will be a dedicated section roughly 50′ wide by 250′ long. Preston Stevens from the United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and Doug Dobrynski from the FJ Bruisers, provided input to add a bypass lane beside the rock crawl as well as other additions to make that crawl an all-day affair for the wheelers.

The campsites will have drive-through access for those of us pulling trailers. They will also be installing a water-less ADA-compliant toilet. There will be 4 group sides with a 40×40 pad and 4 family sites with a 20×20 pad. The pads are for tents and tables. For the kids, DNR will create a kiddy trail between the campsites. There is a trail head near the camp sites for families that want to go hike the Savage River Trail.

We suggested that the lower section, which traverses a long hill, be made narrower to slow down riders, increase enjoyment as well as reduce the cost of construction. Most bike and quad riders want a narrow twisty trail and DNR listened. It looks like roughly 30 miles of trail, using the loops as well as going all the way out and back, will be constructed. At the end furthest away from the campsites, we suggested an area be established for a pavilion for folks to take a break or have a picnic. We will be donating a picnic table for their use.

The next stage requires permits from the Department of Environment. This is where our meeting earlier with DNR Secretary Belton will pay off. He promised to engage with MDE to expedite the required permits.

Standby team! I think you will like the new trail system.

Meeting with DNR Secretary Belton

On July 20th 2015 we met with Mark J. Belton, Secretary of Natural Resources, the newly appointed Assistant Secretary for Land, Darryl Anthony and Paul Peditto, Director of the Wildlife & Heritage Service. Assistant Secretary Anthony’s appointment was quite a surprise and was literally announced minutes before the meeting. Prior to his appointment, Assistant Secretary Anthony was the DNR Parks Manager for western MD. He is a off-road enthusiast as well as a dirt bike rider and a mountain biker. We are extremely excited about his appointment.

We had a very positive meeting with the Secretary and Assistant Secretary. We focused on OHV recreational tourism and the economic benefit to rural counties, and public/private partnerships using reclaimed coal mines. We specifically asked him to ensure that the Savage River trail opens next year. Our community has waited almost 5 years for the promised establishment of a public OHV area and it is time to deliver. We also briefed him on the need to have a certified trail builder assist with the trail layout. Construction of sustainable and safe trails is not a job that anyone can do. The State needs to get this right the first time. He promised to engage other departments and remove roadblocks as well as push to ensure a trail builder is part of the construction team.

The DNR has been evaluating for acquisition 3,000 acres near Kitzmiller, MD. We have been discussing this with DNR for several years. We asked him to purchase the property and ensure it is operated as an OHV park. This needs the support of Garrett County leaders and we have been discussing that with them as well.  This could be the southern anchor to a joint public private riding area similar to Hatfield-McCoy. The Savage River trail would be the northern anchor. In that regard, we asked Secretary Belton to engage with the Department for Economic and Business Development to request a Joint DNR/DBED working group to look at OHV recreational tourism state-wide.

As I mentioned, it was a very positive meeting and the Secretary thought what we asked for was reasonable and he saw no show-stoppers.

The next year looks to be quite exciting!

Need $80?

If you would like to participate in a ROV (side-by-side) focus group on June 2nd (one meeting at 4 PM and the other at 7 PM), contact Rick Arnold at 240-403-4800 extension 236. You will get an $80 debit card for your effort.

Tell Governor Hogan And DNR Secretary Belton That All Marylanders will benefit from OHV Parks

Update!  We were a bit premature earlier.  The AMA port is back online.  Please resend your comments or take the time to send now!

Thanks to the AMA, the Alliance has gotten access to Gov Hogan and his administration.  Gov Hogan is sympathetic but he needs to hear from you!  Please take time to send him an email using AMA’s portal.

Tell Governor Hogan And DNR Secretary Belton That All Marylanders will benefit from OHV Parks

Your support is critical and we’re making it easy for you to make a differnce

The American Motorcyclist Association hopes you will support an ongoing, concerted effort to foster off-highway-vehicle recreational tourism in Maryland. The AMA has joined forces with the Maryland Off Highway Vehicle Alliance to develop OHV parks on public land.

You are probably well aware that the economic impact of OHV recreation is huge – more than $68 billion in direct spending nationally, according to a 2013 Motorcycle Industry Council report. An Arizona study showed that OHV recreation created a statewide economic impact of $4.25 billion.

Closer to home, the Hatfield McCoy Trails system in West Virginia provides in excess of $20 million dollars in economic benefit annually to seven of the poorest counties in the state. And the Spearhead Trail System in Virginia is forecast to yield $30 million local revenue annually.

Maryland properties well suited to similar development exist throughout the state on rehabilitated former coal mines, gravel pits, landfills, and even urban brownfields.

Individuals like you recognize the health benefits of OHV use, a physically beneficial activity that provides personal stress reduction and numerous exercise benefits. You know responsible OHV recreation is also a healthy social and family activity. Riders like you are known to be public spirited and civic minded, volunteering your time for activities such as trail maintenance, area cleanups and safety patrols.

The broader benefits of OHV recreation to society include the preservation of open space. Public lands designated for responsible OHV recreation remain undeveloped green space. Recreational trails and dirt-road travel routes are corridors that allow the surrounding land and high-level canopy to remain as natural habitat for plants and wildlife.

The specific Maryland OHV goals the AMA and MDOHV are endorsing include:

  • Continue work toward a spring 2016 opening of the proposed OHV trails in Savage River State Forest. This project, initiated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, has been promised to the OHV community and is overdue.
  • Support the MD DNR purchase of the Kitzmiller property in Garrett County for a dedicated OHV park.
  • Reopen the Green Ridge State Forest OHV trail loop that was closed in 2008. A clear demand persists for access to this loop. The closing resulted in several million dollars of lost state sales tax revenue and the shuttering of several nearby small businesses, with the associated loss of jobs.
  • Work with towns in eastern Maryland whose elected officials are interested in opening OHV parks as economic development tools, and promote wholesome recreational opportunities as a way to provide a structured, positive answer to a clear demand by taxpayers.
  •  Build an urban OHV park in Baltimore City as a positive step toward curbing illegal urban OHV use now and into the future.
  • Establish an interdepartmental commission to develop public/private partnerships to expand OHV recreational opportunities and realize a significant increase in recreational tourism and its associated revenue stream.

AMA and MDOHVA hope that you’ll TAKE ACTION by completing the form below to send messages of support for public OHV opportunities in Maryland to Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) and Secretary Mark Belton. You can forward prewritten, but editable, messages to stress the OHV benefits most important to you.

Now more than ever, it is crucial that you and your riding friends become members of the AMA to help us protect our riding freedoms. More members mean more clout against the opponents of motorcycling and ATV riding, and your support will help the AMA fight for your rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go

Thank you in advance for making your support known. If you do send comments, please email the AMA at to let us know.

DNR Hosts First Maryland Trails Summit

Please note “Discussions highlighted multi-use trails including information about hiking, mountain biking, equestrians, off-road vehicles and water trails.”  OHVs are finally getting mentioned as a legitimate user of public lands!

DNR Hosts First Maryland Trails Summit

Governor announces new Trails Development Office GIS Mapping and trails websites unveiled

Linthicum Heights, Md. (October 20, 2010) — On behalf of Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary John R. Griffin yesterday announced the creation of a new Trails Development Office during the first Maryland Trails Summit. More than 200 enthusiastic stakeholders and State and regional trail leaders attended the event, with a theme Sharing the Vision — Making the Connections.

“This summit is another significant step in our effort to make Maryland’s trails system second to none in the nation,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The creation of a Trails Development Office demonstrates our commitment to expanding, improving and connecting our system of trails, bringing countless benefits to our citizens, visitors and young people.”

The new Trails Development Office will be headed by DNR’s Land Acquisition and Planning office. John Wilson, Land Trails Coordinator, will lead the initiative and a planner will be added to the office in the near future. Wilson introduced the Geographic Information (GIS) and trails website at the summit. The GIS mapping system allows citizens to see where trails are in the state, as well as gives planners data on where to make future connections. DNR’s trail website was developed as a fluid clearinghouse for trail enthusiasts to share information, maps and suggestions in a comprehensive, easy-to-use site.

“Today this event is the culmination of ideas and input from four regional roundtables that DNR hosted this summer,” said DNR Secretary John R. Griffin. “We look forward to continuing these conversations in the development of a shared vision for a Statewide Trails network. Our other priorities include developing a plan for Off Road Vehicle trails and creating a citizens’ trails advocacy group. ”

“We will continue to build on our partnership with Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) who has helped fund trail initiatives thru recreational trails grants and staff assistance, resulting in terrific outcomes like the recently released commuter trails map. This will be followed by a trail initiative connecting the commuter trails to recreation trails around the state,” said Griffin.

Yesterday’s event offered attendees an opportunity to hear about regional projects in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Discussions highlighted multi-use trails including information about hiking, mountain biking, equestrians, off-road vehicles and water trails. The afternoon brought time to network with other trail users and planners from Maryland and neighboring states.

“It is great Maryland is taking the lead in bringing people together across the State and looking outside the State’s boundaries to make these trail connections,” said Jennifer Wampler, trail coordinator with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

The morning keynote speaker was Tom Horton, local outdoors author and avid hiker, bicyclist and kayaker. Horton spoke on the importance of connecting and organizing trails on land and water, so people can have access to trailheads, camping sites and enjoy Maryland’s many outdoor opportunities.

Charlie Stek, chairman of the Chesapeake Conservancy, was the evening keynote speaker at the summit.

“Governor O’Malley’s vision of a trails and greenways system that is second to none is a huge opportunity to bolster our economy through recreation and tourism; to better connect our citizens to our natural and cultural heritage; and to foster better health through outdoor activities and experiences, on the land and on the water,” said Stek.

The summit was supported in part by the National Park Service Challenge Cost-Share Program and the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail Office. The summit was planned by: the National Park Service, DNR, MDOT and the Department of Housing and Community Development (Maryland Tourism).

Garrett County

Last week I meet with members of the Garrett County Economic Development team. I briefed them on the economic benefits of OHV recreation and how we can do it in a responsible and sustainable way. There were very interested when they saw the numbers for the economic benefit to nearby areas. More to come!