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Grand Opening Announcement – St John’s Rock Trails

Just out from DNR via Facebook

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.

St John’s Rock (aka Savage) Trails Another Update

Two big announcements

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

Standby we are close!

St John’s Rock (aka Savage) Trails Update

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.


Savage Trails Preview (Part 1)

Teaser alert! Pictures and video coming soon.

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.

Savage Construction Photos

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.

NOHVCC Association Of The Year Award: Maryland OHV Alliance

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.”


Savage Trails Approved!

“The Board of Public Works unanimously approved today the construction of several projects within Savage River State Forest, including the development of the state’s first modern off-road vehicle trail. The trail will include the first-ever campsite designed to support off-highway vehicle riders. Other features will include single-track hare scramble style trail sections, technical trail spurs, internal loops, vehicular pull-offs and in another first – a full size rock crawl area.”

Off-Road Vehicle Trail Approved for Garrett County

Savage River Trail News

On Wednesday September 28th, we had breakfast with Deputy Secretary Daryl Anthony. Our #1 topic was the extensive amount of time it has taken to get the Savage Trail bid awarded.  He understood our concerns and regretted the delay, but he did have good news.  The additional funding was approved and the next Board of Public Works meeting would review the

My #1 issue was the delay getting the contract for Savage awarded.  DNR wasn’t being very aggressive getting the funding approved.  He said the funding for Savage River had been approved and he expected the October 19th Board of Public Works meeting to review and approve the contract.  This is an open meeting and encouraged us to attend.  The Alliance will have a board member present and we encourgae any others who wish to attend.

Assuming the Savage Trail contract is approved, we then discussed a Grand Opening next spring.  He supports that idea and we will work together to ensure Maryland’s first planned OHV system is appropriately opened.  More details on that as this progresses.

Friends, this has been very frustrating at times but we are slowly getting there.  Breaking new ground is never easy.

Trail Volunteers!

The AMA, the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council and the Maryland Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance have been working together in western Maryland to open an OHV park following trail closures at three of the state’s off-highway vehicle riding areas: the Green Ridge Trail at Green Ridge State Forest; Chandler Trail at Pocomoke State Forest; and Poplar Lick Trail at Savage River State Forest. All were permanently closed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and establishing a new trail at Savage River has been the cooperative focus to date. As we’ve all learned, no OHV effort succeeds overnight and significant enthusiast support is a critical element.

Though just in its fourth year, MDOHVA has been very effective reaching key players in the riding community – as well as state, county and local officials — to promote the opening of OHV parks. In September 2014, MDOHVA teamed with NOHVCC and AMA to introduce Maryland DNR staff to OHV trail construction and management concepts proven around the country. In July of 2015, MDOHVA and the AMA met with Secretary of Natural Resources Mark Belton and newly-appointed Assistant Secretary for Land Resources, Daryl Anthony. Sec. Belton understands the positive economic impact of OHV recreation and Daryl Anthony, a longtime off-road Jeeper, is a strong supporter of the concept. With their help and other connections in the Gov. Hogan’s administration, a 2017 Savage River OHV trail opening is planned.

The Savage River Trail System will include group and private camping with a tot-trail between the sites. A first for Maryland, the system will include a rock-crawl for ATVs and 4-wheelers. The trails themselves will have sections appropriate for motorcycles, ATVs and UTVs.

As the MDOHVA and the AMA have promoted the economic benefits of organized OHV recreation on state land in western Maryland, other communities have come forward looking for local parks of their own. We’re looking for volunteers to help maintain the trail system coming to Savage River as well as be an ambassador to riders on the trail, and spearhead efforts in other parts of the state to establish more public OHV recreation.

If you’re serious about seeing OHV trails come back to Maryland, whether on public land or private, please contact the AMA at (or Let us know if you and your riding buddies have the time and energy to help maintain the momentum started at Savage River, or can help with the political and organizational hurdles at other locations where the MDOHVA and the AMA hope to open trials.

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 your support will help the AMA fight for your rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. To join, go To encourage your friends to join, tell them about the many AMA benefits you appreciate and forward the link to them.

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