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DNR Announces Results of Off-Road Vehicle Trail Review Process

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that of the three off-road vehicle (ORV) trails proposed for State-owned lands in Western Maryland, St. John’s Rock in Garrett County on the Savage River State Forest was the single property selected for ORV use. DNR made the decision based on comments gathered during the public input period this summer/fall. 

“We are thankful to the citizens who took the time to share their input through the public process both at the meetings and through our online system,” said DNR Secretary Joe Gill. “This is a great example of the department working with our professionals in the field to craft sound proposals and using public input to help guide the ultimate outcome. We also recognize the great work of the ORV Stakeholder Workgroup in helping lead us to this proposal phase and promise to continue coordinating with them to find alternative locations for this type of recreation.”

Ecologists and trail experts will work to establish paths and boundaries for ORV-use to develop the system for St. John’s Rock that would have minimal impact on surrounding natural resources. The system, slated for completion in the summer of 2014, will be managed, monitored, and its regulations enforced to ensure ecological best management practices.

“Our trails team is looking forward to implementing the new paradigm of ORV management on St. John’s Rock,” said John Wilson, manager of the Statewide Trails Development Office. “Working with our peers in land management, enforcement and information technology, we are confident that this trail, and all future ORV trails, can be well-regulated, safe and sustainable. We are committed to that end and look forward to demonstrating our plans for success.”

The other two proposals ─ Sideling Hill North and South trails, within the Woodmont Natural Resources Management Area near Hancock in Washington County ─ have been withdrawn and removed from further consideration as ORV trails.

Although not in the proposal, the former ORV trail at Greenridge State Forest remains closed in order to maintain the department’s statewide dual certification status for the State Forest System.

DNR will continue to fortify ongoing efforts to develop public/private partnerships on potential private land ORV trails, and further evaluate opportunities to acquire access to other private land locations for multi-use recreational facilities.

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 two-year study to assess its landholdings and develop a plan that would incorporate these trails in a manner that would have minimal impact on sensitive natural areas.


  • Troy

    So what trails are open to ORV’s in Garret County and where can you get a DNR approved map

    • kking13

      Greetings Troy,

      I am attaching a link below to the DNR OHV webpage that contains all rules, regulations and trail locations for off-road vehicles
      on DNR lands in the state of Maryland.

      The only official Off Highway Vehicles (OHV) trails on
      DNR lands are
      out in Western Maryland.

      DNR spent the last several years evaluating every DNR land unit across the state and the resource damage from OHV’s was determined to be extensive (see
      assessment report in the attached link above). As a result, it was determined that OHV riding trails would be limited to Western Maryland
      where impacts were manageable.

      In addition to the designated trails in Western Maryland, there are literally hundreds of miles of dirt roads within all of our state forests that do offer jeep riders an enjoyable experience. In addition to our western forests, there are the Chesapeake Forest lands on the eastern shore which include Pocomoke State Forest; down in Southern Maryland we have Cedarville, Salem, St. Inigoes, and Doncaster state forest lands. And there are also the forest roads on Elk Neck State Forest.

      DNR is also working with the Maryland Off Highway Vehicle A
      lliance, trying to develop OHV riding parks on privately-owned reclaimed mine sites.

      And finally, there are numerous private riding parks in Maryland. I am enclosing a link to an extensive list of private properties that charge a fee to OHV users.

  • Ryan

    We need trails on the Eastern shore. We have no where to ride our atvs since they closed pocomoke forest orv trails.