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DNR to Hold Public Input Meeting on Possible Expansion of ORV Trail System

Dirt bike on the trailsComment deadline October 4

When: Wednesday, September 4 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Where: New Germany State Park Lake House, 349 Headquarters Ln, Grantsville
Who: Open to the Public
Cost: Free

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking public input on a proposed plan that would expand the off-road vehicle (ORV) trail system on State owned lands in Western Maryland. Based on a comprehensive two-year study conducted by the department, the plan looks to introduce ORV trails that would have little impact on surrounding natural resources.  

Three new ORV trails are being considered:

  • One trail in Garrett County on the Savage River State Forest in the vicinity of St. John’s Rock-Red Dog Road. The site would add 14 miles of round-trip ORV trails to the system. A camping loop would be located near the parking area.
  • Two trails in Washington County on the DNR managed lands of Sideling Hill north and south. Each site would add around 16 miles of round-trip ORV trails to the system, 32 miles total.

At the meeting, DNR will present the plan and accept public comment thereafter. The agency encourages citizens unable to attend to view the proposal and submit their comments online at The comment period is open through October 4, 2013.

A number of ORV trails were developed within the State Forests in the mid 1980s, quickly becoming a popular, in-demand form of recreation. However, most of the trails had to be closed in 2011, as some of the activity began to threaten environmentally sensitive areas. With only a few small ORV trails still open, DNR began a comprehensive study to assess its landholdings and develop a plan that would incorporate these trails in a manner that would not harm any sensitive natural areas.

The final alignment, design and construction for each of these trails will be contracted by DNR to an Architectural and Engineering company. For more information on ORV use on Maryland public lands, click here.



  • Lou Compton

    I support the concept of providing ORV recreational trails where appropriate. However, I am opposed to any plan that would expand ORV trails into any MD WMA’s. The current plan seeks to expand ORV trails in the Sideling Hill WMA. These areas are meant to be managed for WILDLIFE and not off road recreation. The management of these lands is paid for with hunter dollars and the expansion of ORV trails in this area could degrade the overall quality of the hunting experience there. NO ORV TRAILS IN WMA’s!

    • Bob

      Agree 100% with the comment that ORV trails should not be allowed in WMA’s. Why ruin something natural and enjoyable paid for by hunter’s tax dollars by puking smoke and exhaust fumes into it. State forests have ORV trails, use them! If someone wants to use a WMA, leave the 4-wheelers and dirt bikes at home, get a hunting license instead, and take your gun for a hike.

  • Donald Lloyd

    I support all ORV trails. Wish we had more through out Maryland. ORV trails that go through WMA areas would open up a chance for disabled hunters to access these areas. I say go for it.

  • icetrout

    As long as ORV trails aren’t crossing or located near any Brook Trout Streams … no problem… just make sure that the regs include “Dawn to Dusk” no nighttime noise from the roughnecks… :)

  • icetrout

    be nice if the DNR could locate a ORV track on one of the abandoned strip mine areas that are so abundant in the Savage River area…

  • Keith

    I am both a hunter and an ORV user. Both of these groups can work togehter to create a better experience for both. New trails will provide better access for Hunting and getting the game out of the woods and the wildlife managment will provide a more exciting visit for the ORV user. I own 4×4 trucks, ATV’s, and Motorcycles. I also hunt with both bow and firearms.

  • Randy

    Since ORV use is the fastest growing outdoor family activity, Maryland is loosing and loosing fast to our neighbors when it comes to ORV use. ORV users have the largest number of riders in any outdoor community. As it stands now, we have to spend Maryland money in other states just to enjoy our sport. If we follow the ” Tread Lightly ” rules ORV users become more of a conservationist than most conservationsists. No one has ever been able to answer the question as to what is the difference between the ecology and hydrology of lands on private property verus public property. It is the same dirt, same streams, same water, and same dirt. We all can work together in a sound manner just like other states do.

  • Sean

    Yes opening up more trails would be great but why put restrictions on them. like closing for hunting season. no other trails close for hunting- Green Ridge, Poplar lick, Wallman or savage. they don’t close so why should these. I agree that there should be some restrictions like not allowing modified exhaust on ORV’s but not to say you have to stop riding at a certain time.I like to take night rides, its like riding in a different world.If the idiot yahoo’s want to burn up and down the trail then give us a number we can call to report such actions.we go up to PA now and give them my money because ya’ll closed Green Ridge and Poplar Lick. Another thing is if you want these trails to succeed you have to put camping grounds on them its a 2-2 1/2 hour and people that live far aren’t going to go there if they have to find somewhere else to camp it’s not worth the aggravation.

  • Darrin

    I dont know of any parks near me that I can take an ORV to. I feel like riding a dirt bike is pretty much impossible in this state. I would like to see the expansion supported… hopefully out of jsut extreme western maryland…

  • Scott

    I do not support ORV trails in wildlife management areas. I’ve had to deal with every kind of inconsiderate person while they are riding around during hunting season. People that are perfectly healthy ride back and forth looking for game and are just too lazy to walk to an area. I had them ride right up to me while I was hunting to see if I had seen any game! The vehicles are noisy, spew exhaust fumes everywhere, tear up ground, and promote bad hunting practices. I can see a disabled person using one or using one to get game out of the woods if you need to, but otherwise leave them at the truck.

  • John

    how about to go a little east and reopen greenridge these places are to far I think I will just have to spend money in another state thanks

  • Tom

    I would love ORV trails to be open it’s a family time together! Something for the kids to do other than running the streets.

  • Butch

    It would be nice to have more ORV trails in MD . They would have to be closed when hunting season opens in WMA. September through January .

  • geo2515

    Contruction of ORV trails does not support ANY of the following statements:

    The Wildlife & Heritage Service (WHS) oversees the management of 47 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs),

    Mission of the WMA System

    To conserve and enhance diverse wildlife populations and associated habitats while providing for public enjoyment of the State’s wildlife resources through hunting and other wildlife-dependent recreation.

    Goals of the WMA System

    •Maintain, enhance or protect sustainable and diverse wildlife populations.
    •Create, enhance or protect appropriate habitats, natural communities and ecologically sensitive areas.
    •Conserve rare, threatened and endangered species by protecting the habitats that support them.
    •With a focused emphasis on hunting, provide wildlife-dependent recreation on areas with minimal capital improvements or other development.
    •Provide a venue to educate citizens on the value and needs of wildlife and plant communities through outreach, demonstration and sound management.

    WMA management recieves funding from the State Wildlife and Management Fund; a fund that is provided by any revenue recieved from licenses, stamps, permits, application fees. This fund is SOLELY used for the scientific investigation, protection, propagation, and management of wildlife.

    ORV construction inside a WMA is a direct violation of Maryland COMAR, and probably MD NRC Code, Title 10, Subtitle 2, Section 10-209

  • Joe Winter WCFSC

    The Washington County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs are of the opinion that ORV trails that embrace “hard recreational riding” activity is not consistent with DNR’s own stated objectives and goals set for Wildlife Management Areas of Maryland. In addition, there is a great deal of concern for environmental destruction, soil erosion and associated run-off particularity into Sidling Hill Creek as well as noise and other nuisance behaviors. Wildlife Management Areas should be protected from this type of intrusive recreational activity.