I had the pleasure of meeting with Daryl Anthony, Assistant Secretary for Land Resources. In this capacity, he is responsible for Engineering and Construction, Maryland Environmental Trust, Forest Service, Land Acquisition and Planning, Wildlife and Heritage, Maryland Environmental Trust, and the Maryland Park Service. For such a busy man, I was surprised and pleased that he gave me nearly 2-hours of his time. I should add we spent a good portion of that time discussing his awesome Jeep Rubicon and some of his wheeling adventures! Asst Sec Anthony is definitely an off-road guy!
Early on in our conversation Daryl stated that DNR recognizes OHV/ORV use a as viable recreational opportunity and DNR will provide opportunities for this use. The rest of the conversation supported that. I have no doubt that he is committed to opening and maintaining OHV riding areas on State land. Much of our conversation regarded the Savage River trail systems. He stated frequently that DNR must ensure that it is done right the first time. He shares our concerns that without heavy involvement from the end user group, DNR is at risk of building a trail system no one wants or would use.
We then talked about teaching DNR how to manage an OHV area. I proposed that MDOHVA and NOHVCC put on another, longer workshop for DNR to provide more in-depth training to DNR personnel and he was very interested. He definitely wants DNR personnel to better understand how to manage land for OHV use; it is very different from hiking trails. He also mentioned he would like to take key personnel to a nearby established system such as Spearhead in VA for a first-hand look and to experience OHVing first-hand. He mentioned that whenever he gets the traditional managers in an OHV and out in the woods they love it. This will go a long way to helping our community establish a better dialog with those in DNR responsible for opening and maintaining trails that we could use.
Many times he mentioned how the mountain bike community has changed and opened DNR’s views about land management. He suggested we could do the same and although he didn’t mention it directly, it appears that he wants to help us.
To say I was excited at the conclusion of the meeting would be an understatement. We worked hard to get to this point. We’ll work equally hard to build on this and become a trusted partner with DNR.