DNR to Hold Public Input Meeting on Possible Expansion of ORV Trail System
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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 dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/orv_Projects.asp. 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.