Seneca Rocks guide, author to speak at Garrett College Tuesday

Seneca Rocks guide, author to speak at Garrett College Tuesday

Cumberland Times-News

MCHENRY — The Adventuresports Institute of Garrett College will present the final speaker of its fall Colloquium series, Tony Barnes, author of the definitive work on regional climbing, “Seneca: The Climber’s Guide,” on Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. in Room 224 of the Continuing Education building. A reception for the speaker will precede the presentation, beginning at 6 p.m.

Barnes’ climbing and guiding career spans 35 years and has occurred in almost as many states. He has been active as a guide for Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides at Seneca Rocks Climbing Area, a part of the Monongalia National Forest, and located nearby in Seneca, W.Va., for the past 20-plus years.

Barnes has written articles on Seneca Rocks for Climbing Magazine and other publications. For the past eight years, he has worked as an adjunct professor of rock climbing for Garrett College’s Adventure Sports program.

For more information about the presentation, contact the Adventuresports Institute at (301) 387-3330 or e-mail adventuresports@garrettcollege.edu.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Oakland bypass will affect community forever

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

The Maryland Highway Administration will conduct a public meeting with the Garrett County commissioners in the commissioners’ meeting room on Oct. 2 at 10 a.m.

One of the projects discussed will be the No. 1 priority given to the U.S. Route 219 Oakland bypass by the Garrett County Planning Commission. This highway project has been declared off budget by Gov. O’Malley (declared at a public meeting at Frostburg State University) and also denounced by former Gov. Parris Glendening in correspondence to the writer of this letter.

It appears the planning commission is not listening to the honest opposition to this $42 million-plus abomination that will destroy not only farmland but the downtown business community, rather listening to the developers who are trying to establish a new business district.

If for one moment you think this will be a limited access highway, think again, and drive from Uno’s restaurant on Route 219 along the lake to McHenry and determine how limited that is, and think how many rear-end accidents occur there during the summer months. This bypass will last about 10 minutes at the outset from being limited access.

We ask the planning commission to direct their priorities to state Route 495, a more direct route from the Northern Industrial Park to the Southern Industrial Park. This proposal was made in the Garrett County Comprehensive Plan of 1974 signed by Garrett County commissioners Wayne Hamilton, Don Bender and George Edwards, now Sen. Edwards. The purpose was to divert thru-traffic away from Deep Creek Lake.

We invite everyone with an interest for or against the bypass to attend this meeting and express your views. We also invite each county commissioner to make a public statement as to their individual position. This is extremely important and will affect our community forever.

DeCorsey Bolden

Chairman

Garrett Countians

for Smart Growth

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Regional Ski Resorts Collaborate for Season Pass Holders

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Regional Resorts Collaborate for Season Pass Holders

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Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands ski resorts Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Hidden Valley Resort with Maryland’s Wisp Resort are proud to announce an exciting new offering that will provide each resort’s Unlimited Season Passholders more value, more options, and more reason to experience great Mid-Atlantic skiing for the 2009/2010 ski season.

More info via DeepCreekBlog.com

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Tearing down the Point View Inn

Tearing down the Point View Inn

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I just took a few quick photos and I wanted to share one. The Point View Inn (specifically the hotel part of the building) is in the process of being torn down. It’s available for sale ($4.9 million apparently) and could be just about anything – townhomes, 7 single family homes, new hotel, etc…but for someone with deep enough pockets, it could remain the Point View Inn! That was one of the 4 spots I hit the night I turned 21. Truly a Deep Creek Lake icon!

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

I Love Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County Group on Facebook

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I invite you to join the new ‘I Love Deep Creek Lake and Garrett County, Maryland’ group on Facebook. It went from 0-60 members in about 12 hours! Help keep it growing!

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Road-killed bears total 32 in Maryland so far

The number of bears that have died on Maryland highways in 2009 jumped to 32 with the demise of four bruins Oct. 9-13, according to Clarissa Harris of the Maryland Wildlife Service. The Cumberland Times-News count is unofficial.

On Oct. 9, a 101-pound female bear died on Interstate 68 in the Friendsville area.

On Oct. 11, two bears were killed, a 148-pound female on I-68 near the Finzel exit in Garrett County and a female of 72 pounds on I-68 near Little Orleans in Allegany County.

Then on Oct. 13, a 338-pound male bear was struck and mangled on state Route 36 at Barton. The bear was eventually put down by Natural Resources Police.

The covers on three operating hot tubs have been ripped open by bears in the Deep Creek Lake area. Harris said she believes the bears become curious about the sound of the motor and the moving water and investigate with their claws.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Vacation rental agencies voice opposition to tax increase

OAKLAND — Garrett County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt said he was surprised by the amount of opposition Tuesday from local rental housing representatives to the county commissioners’ request to be able to increase the hotel rental tax from 5 percent to 8 percent.

Sen. George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel attended Tuesday’s public meeting to hear the commissioners’ wish list for the 2010 General Assembly and to see if they could help those desires become political reality. Should such legislation become law, it would enable, but not require a tax increase.

At the current rate of 5 percent, the tax brings $1.5 million into the county, according to Wendy Yoder, director of finance. “Each percentage increase above that will generate another $300,000,” Yoder said. She based that estimate on existing rental activity.

That revenue, according to Commissioner Fred Holliday, can be used for two purposes, for economic development or the funding of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.

Nancy Railey of Railey Mountain Lake Vacations used an extensive and detailed presentation to oppose a hike in the tax.

Railey said rental fees for people visiting Deep Creek Lake have been negotiated to bargain basement prices. “I have never before seen this,” she said. “Tourists are responding to these price cuts and will travel more in 2010 than in 2009. However, they will demand rate reductions of 1.8 percent greater than the reductions in 2009, continuing the decline for another year.”

Railey said the number of reserved nights at her company have declined below 2002 levels and the fact that her market share (45 to 50 percent) has held steady reflects that other hosts have experienced the same drop-off.

Railey said the visitors will come, but when they have to spend a dollar more because of a tax hike it will be a dollar that is not spent on local goods and services.

Pagenhardt said the potential for a tax hike was not news to the local rental moguls.

“This legislation was introduced in the 2009 General Assembly. In fact, they knew that if the bill passed it would increase the tax to 6 percent this past July 1 and many agencies had already booked rentals based upon that amount.”

The bill, however, did not pass, because of what Beitzel called a last-minute administrative foul-up in Annapolis.

Others opposed a hotel rental tax boost.

Rob Michael, chairman of the board for the chamber of commerce, said he misses the golden days when Deep Creek Lake was visited by families with small children. He said those visitors can no longer afford a lakeside vacation. “Have we priced ourselves out?” he asked.

Michael referenced Big Bear Lake in neighboring Preston County, W.Va., as a place that still offers such family trips. “We don’t see that dynamic any more,” he said. “Be careful. Increasing the tax even 1 percent is a detriment. Word is out. A vacation in Garrett County is getting to be expensive.”

Ruth Seib of Coldwell Banker said she is not sure that raising the tax would bring additional revenue because of a combination of fewer visitors and declining rates.

Bill Weissgerber of Railey Realty asked that the $300,000 that would be generated by a 1 percent increase in the tax be raised by resurrecting a tax on beer in the county.

Karen Myers, owner of The Wisp/D.C. Developers, cautioned the commissioners to be very careful in considering an increase in the tax. “Don’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg,” she said.

Edwards and Beitzel said they would once again introduce the enabling legislation if it is the desire of the commissioners.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350

Maryland weighs revising park pet policy

CUMBERLAND — Going to the park is a popular group activity, and visitors to Maryland’s state parks may soon be able to bring even more of their friends along.

The Maryland Park Service has begun taking public comments on a proposed plan to revise its pet policy and expand pet access in state parks.

According to the Maryland Park Service, the proposal was developed based on comments from park staff and visitors over the years.

Under the proposal, pet prohibitions in many of the parks throughout the state will be reduced. Parks that will allow pets greater access include Deep Creek Lake, New Germany State Park and Dan’s Mountain.

In particular, New Germany had previously prohibited pets entirely. Under the current proposal pets would be allowed year-round on trails and in the Pine Camp loop. Between Labor Day and Memorial Day weekend, pets will be allowed in the day-use area and lake.

Parks that will not be affected by the proposal include Big Run, Herrington Manor, Rocky Gap, Swallow Falls and Youghigheny Wild River. The policy already allows for pet access in these parks.

“We’re going to compromise with various opinions,” said Lt. Col. Chris Bushman, deputy superintendent of the Maryland Park Service. Bushman said that the Maryland Park Service has received comments with pro-pet and anti-pet views and intends to use them to fine-tune the proposal and address the unique nature of each park.

Park managers will still be able to prohibit pets from certain facilities in areas where they would otherwise be allowed, such as visitor centers and playgrounds. The policy will not affect service animals, which will still be allowed in all areas of the park open to their owners.

Bushman emphasized that the existing policies requiring pet owners to keep their pets on leashes and clean up after their pets will not change. “The park rangers and Natural Resources Police are on-site at these parks in the developed areas,” said Bushman. “We will not allow people to break those rules.“

After comments from the public and other parties have been reviewed and any necessary changes made, the new policy will be put into effect in early 2010.

Comments on the pet policy may be submitted online at http://dnrweb.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/petpolicy/comment.asp and through mail at Pet Policy Comments, Maryland Park Service, 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401. Comments will be accepted until Nov. 30.

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350