The summer sun rises on western Maryland, and promised to deliver a new start. DNR extended an invitation to the members of Maryland’s new Offroad Vehicle Stakeholder Workgroup. The group was invited to evaluate the St. John’s Rock Trail in Savage River State Forest as a potential new OHV trail! PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS TRAIL IS NOT OPENED TO THE PUBLIC AT THIS TIME!
Recently improved and relocated to avoid sensitive environmental areas, including a globally rare tiger beetle, the trail is comprised of a crushed rock base. The staging area boasts a 10-rig parking lot which can accommodate longer tow vehicles with trailers. Space for additional parking is available and a primitive campsite is proposed beside the parking/staging area. While nobody expects a single trail to fulfill every niche from technical riding to beginner friendly, the trail will certainly make an excellent feeder road. Novice and Intermediate OHVers could be enjoying the wilds of Maryland nature shortly, when the trail marking and final vetting is complete.
By all accounts though, the St. John’s Rock-Red Dog Trail represents DNR’s commitment to reopen OHVing in Maryland. DNR staff included managers from Savage River and Green Ridge State Forests, the MD. Natural Resource Police, Land Acquisition and Planning and the DNR Trails Manager joined in the evaluation ride. DNR has committed not only personnel today, but countless hours in trail construction which certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.
This trail is not the end of the journey, but a mere milestone. The administration’s budget includes $150K in FY14 for phase II design work. Phase II will likely consist of additional “loops” for intermediate/advanced OHVers as the terrain gets rockier and steeper.
The day ended with the MD Alliance understanding the proposed next-steps for this project. The DNR will be soliciting public input on the proposed trail. This is required by state regulations governing OHV trail proposals. The timeline includes two weeks to prepare the public notice, 30-45 days to receive input, and two additional weeks to review the results of the public input process and summarize those results. The closing thoughts for the day were management of resources once the property is functional, as well as, volunteer opportunities during the phase II expansion. Continued success of this project is not possible without you; the stakeholder group, DNR and all the associations that the MD OHV Alliance represents.
The Maryland Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance
Downloadable flyer 2013-ST-Johns-Rock-Trail-Evaluation_REV2