Maryland OHV Alliance promotes safe, sustainable off road recreation in Maryland. The Alliance worked with the Dept of Natural Resources along with other State agencies and officials to open the first of its kind ORV Park in Maryland. Paul Peditto offers insight.
Remember you need to buy a pass before using the St. John’s Rock ORV Trail & Campground. Details in the link below. The Maryland OHV Alliance is working to open more ORV trails in Maryland – help us help you. Please use the trails and the park responsibly!
GRAND OPENING: St. John’s Rock Off-Road Vehicle Trail and Campground, July 21. First-ever ORV trail designed specifically for ORV enthusiasts and riders.The trail is scheduled to be open for day use and overnight camping later this month.
1. We have been extensively engaged with DNR over an opening date for the trails. The latest I received was “We have not reached substantial completion yet. We will not be able to open by July 6. We are working on our plan and we will share that with you ASAP. We are very close.” “Substantial completion” means the trail contractor has finish all but minor punch list items and control has been returned to DNR. Until then the contractor has exclusive use of the area.
2. DNR has publicly announced that “There is no limit on Day Use reservations without parking.” That means if you ride a tagged dirt bike or vehicle to the trail system, or if you park/camp nearby and ride/drive in, then all you need is a day-use permit and there is no limit on the number of riders/drivers. Of course, you need to legally ride from wherever you are to the trail system. (see http://dnr.maryland.gov/forests/Pages/orv/home.aspx)
DNR has posted information about the campground and the trails. Of particular interest is this statement “A total of 19 Day Use with parking reservations are available each day. There is no limit on Day Use reservations without parking.”
We have asked DNR to confirm the intent of the statement. As we read that, it appears that if you drive onto the trail system in a jeep, ATV or dirt-bike then all you need is a day-use permit and there is no limit on the number of those users. That in effect removes the upper limit of users on the trails. We think this is a good thing and are confirming with DNR.
Several of us had the pleasure of riding the new Savage River trails yesterday. This was a pre-opening ride. Our biggest critic and doubter had this to say:
I must say that I am indeed eating a big crow today, maybe even a buzzard! I was impressed with the trail that has been cut – yes it is two-track width, but it has plenty of technical action. Lots of turns, switchbacks, elevation changes, and challenging rocks. The trail is well laid out with a main connecting road, and the trail “fingers” coming off it broken up into 3 or 4 sections. Up and back on the technical loop is 16.5 miles. The parking areas are smartly done, with very nice timbers for guard rail. The camp area has a pee-wee loop that connects to all the campsites. It was fun to ride as well. There was rock pile installed for the crawlers, could maybe get through it with an Abrams tank if you’re lucky. – Great stuff. Only a few minutes from the interstate, and good cell service. Also a latrine. The DNR staff were great, with very positive attitudes, unlike some I’ve experienced in the past. Weather conditions were perfect, with cool western md air and bright sun.
All in all a fun trail that should be sustainable for years to come.
Here are a few photos from trail construction. Keep in mind these are not the final trail. We hope to make a nice video for you to see when the trail is done.
Trail from campground
Trail from campground looking the other way
The rock crawl
We have made many comments about why did DNR require mulch on an OHV trail? It makes no sense. That won’t last one weekend. We have expressed our concerns to DNR and doubt it will be replaced once the mulch is gone.
The Association of the Year Award was presented to MDOHVA “for their continued growth and development, and their efforts to preserve access for all OHV enthusiasts in Maryland.” Jack Terrell, NOHVCC Senior Project Manager, accepted the award on the Alliance’s behalf, saying, “This award is much appreciated. It is the work of our NOHVCC Associate Partner in Maryland, Ken Kyler, who has done a fabulous job there. There was absolutely no OHV riding anywhere on State land in Maryland. They had shut down every inch of trail there. The attitude was that the way to manage OHV trails is to close them.
“Ken was one of those guys that wouldn’t accept the words ‘no’ or ‘you can’t do that.’ He formed the Maryland OHV Alliance. The interesting thing is, that some of the officers don’t even live in Maryland. What they have accomplished in the last couple years is incredible. The State DNR has agreed to open up a new riding area. They put out a bid to construct the riding area. The bid package has been approved by the State and the trails will be under construction in the next couple of months. It’s a situation where the riders in that State have no opportunities and have had to go ride out of State. They will now have a place in-State to ride. It’s a most deserved award for them, and I am more than happy and honored to accept it on their behalf. We are going to be doing a Great Trails Workshop there 10 days from now, and I will make sure that Ken and the Association receive this award.”