Towns of Garrett County- Friendsville, Maryland

Located about 10 miles north of Deep Creek Lake, Friendsville, Maryland is known for its rich history and adventurous outdoor sports.  Home of the first settlement in Garrett County, the town now consists of 500 residents.

Friendsville residents have many sources of entertainment such as the Kendall Trail and the Friendsville Community Park. Just above the Yough Dam, the stretch of the Youghiogheny River in Friendsville is perfect for whitewater activities. When is the best time to visit Friendsville? The Friendsville Days  summer celebration at the end of July! For more information, please visit http://www.friendsville-md.org/.

FUN FACT: Although the citizens of Friendsville are quite friendly, the town is actually named for John Friend Sr., one of the first settlers that bought the tract of land from Native Americans in 1765.

friendsville

Friendsville revitalization proposed

Garrett commissioner requests $25,000 for concept drawings

Elaine Blaisdell

Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Garrett County Commissioner Jim Raley asked for approximately $25,000 for concept drawings to revitalize the town of Friendsville during the commission meeting Tuesday.

Raley’s vision for Friendsville, which he shared in a document with the commissioners, includes an enhanced business district that boasts locally grown foods, an arts and entertainment district and an abundance of recreational activities.

“One of the things that I recognized after being elected was one of the things we need to do is, we need to grow our population,” said Raley. “Ultimately, growing the population should help to grow the economy. It comes down to how do we keep Garrett County relevant and how do we keep Garrett County viable.”

A lot of people are leaving the county — 130 school-age children left the county and 20 percent of the student population has declined in a decade, according to Raley.

“We have to do something; we can’t sit back and do nothing,” said Raley.

Raley cautioned that discussion of school closures has to be stopped in order to attract people to the area.

“I don’t know how to make that conversation stop other than we have got to do everything in our power to get the funding in place to make sure no more schools close. I can tell you right now when the media hits and we are talking about closing more schools that does not make us attractive. No one wants to come in and buy into that possibility.”

Raley has met with the town’s governing board, investors, developers, business owners, entrepreneurs, Habitat for Humanity, Community Action and other individuals who are interested in the project. The economic development office is working on a relocation kit that would attract people to stay in the area.

New jobs wouldn’t necessarily need to be developed in Friendsville because of its proximity to Hazelton or Morgantown, W.Va., for jobs, according to Raley.

“There is no doubt that we need to grow and we need to grow strategically,” said Raley. “One of the things that is attractive about Friendsville is that it’s a long standing community.”

Friendsville will celebrate its 250th birthday in 2015, according to Raley.

Commissioner Gregan Crawford asked for some time to review the document Raley provided before making a decision about the request for $25,000.

The revitalization of Friends-ville will also help to benefit the entire county, according to Raley.

“The weekend visits offer opportunities for visitors to view not only Friendsville but other areas of Garrett County,” writes Raley in the document.

Raley used Eagle, Colo., as an example of a revitalized downtown historic district.

“It is a great area that is much like Friendsville if you look at it,” said Raley.

Raley asked for everyone to embrace a strategic growth pattern and plan that will evolve and discussed setting up businesses like Strata Safety Products, LLC. Strata is the first business to move into Keysers Ridge Business Park.

During the meeting Tuesday, the commission approved the award of $1,024,000 to Beitzel Corp. of Grantsville for designand construction work on a Strata manufacturing facility. The county is working with Strata to construct a 12,000-square-foot, steel-framed building on a 5-acre parcel in the park.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

More here.

Friendsville gets grant to help complete its part of Garrett County’s loop trail

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

FRIENDSVILLE — The town of Friendsville recently received a $78,500 award as one of the recipients of the 2013 Bikeways Program Grant.

“We are very happy to receive the grant. I appreciate the cooperation of everyone that we worked with to achieve this grant,” said Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle. “It is part of the master plan for our future to bring in economic development for recreational activities.”

The grant will be used for designing and engineering a town trail that will extend to the community park.

It also will help with additional signage, bike racks and safety improvements in the future construction of the Kendall Trail, according to Schlosnagle.

The Kendall Trail, which begins on Morris Avenue, is about three miles long and, once fully completed, will go into the Sang Run area of Oakland.

“It’s a big benefit for our community,” said Schlosnagle.

The Bikeways Program is an integral part of the proposed Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, an initiative developed and led by Garrett Trails.

The vision for the proposed loop trail is a 150-mile, hard-packed, multi-user trail that runs through the heart of Garrett County and bridges the connections between existing trails and connects to larger trail networks outside the county, according to the Garrett Trails website.

The northern portion of the loop trail leads through Grantsville, eventually connecting with the Great Allegheny Passage in Meyersdale, Pa.

The existing Allegheny Highlands Trail forms a loop at Confluence, Pa., where it can be taken to the southern portion of the loop beginning at Friendsville, according to the trail’s website.

“The benefits of a county-wide recreational trail system are wide-ranging. A comprehensive trail system will enhance the quality of the life within the county and become an indispensable asset,” states the 2003 Garrett County Recreational Trails Plan update.

“Although creating or expanding a trail system can deliver significant economic benefits by itself, communities can do more to capitalize on the economic potential of trails. Trails generate positive economic impacts by delivering additional spending to businesses. As businesses become more productive, new jobs and tax revenue follow.”

Statewide, the Bikeways Program provided 28 winners with $3.13 million in grants to seven counties, Baltimore City and 12 other municipalities, according to the program website.

These projects are the second set of grants awarded through the Bikeways Program, bringing the total to 48 bikeways grant recipients for a total of $5.63 million to date.

The grant was made possible thanks to the assistance of Gov. Martin O’Malley, who facilitated the program; U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and his staff, who are strong proponents of hiking and biking trails; and Garrett Trails, according to Schlosnagle.

“It is a joint effort with everyone working together to make it a reality,” Schlosnagle said.

For more information on the proposed Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, visit the website at www.garretttrails.org.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com

More here.

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Bridge Completed in Friendsville


Mar. 22, 2012

A safe passage for pedestrians wanting to cross Bear Creek into Friendsville Town Park is now available, as the town took delivery just yesterday of this new bridge, which was immediately installed on Rt. 53/Second Avenue. Mayor Spencer R. Schlosnagle said that this route is heavily traveled by those going to and from the park, including persons from the Head Start/Senior Center and an apartment complex.


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The bridge will also be an important segment for the proposed hiking/biking trail from Confluence, Pa., through Friendsville along the Youghiogheny River and south to Oakland. The town received $122,240 for the design/engineering and construction of the 8′ x 65′ bridge as a Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development block grant. The bridge was built by Crane Materials, International/Gator Bridge Division out of Atlanta, and consists primarily of aluminum materials. The contractor for the construction of the bridge abutments and installation was BYCO of Grantsville. “We could not have accomplished this without the help of concerned citizens and various groups who provided letters of support, as well as individuals from various county and state agencies,” said Mayor Schlosnagle. “The town council members and I are very grateful to all who helped this become a reality.” Photo courtesy of Bonnie Artice.

More here.

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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Friendsville Responds To Proposed School Closings; Forms Committee


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Jan. 12, 2012

In response to a proposal by the Garrett County Board of Education to close Friendsville Elementary School, an emergency meeting was held by the mayor, town council, and a group of Friendsville’s concerned citizens. The meeting took place in December, prior to the school system’s Christmas break, with the expressed purpose of informing local parents of the board’s plans to balance its budget.

“I feel that this would have such a negative impact on the students and community of Friendsville as a whole,” stated Spencer Schlosnagle, mayor of Friendsville.

“Our children are our future – and the future of Friendsville – and we cannot let this school closing happen.”

According to the board, the closing of Friendsville Elementary is being based on the decline in student enrollment over the past few years. The Friendsville Advisory Committee has been formed to research the feasibility of the school closings and their impact on the students and the community as a whole.

Friendsville Elementary is one of three schools in line to suffer the consequences of funding cutbacks felt throughout Garrett County – setbacks shared by communities across the state of Maryland.

Faculty members were notified on Dec. 13 of the proposed closing of Friendsville, Dennett Road, and Kitzmiller schools. If the proposal to close these schools becomes a reality, they would be scheduled to close at the end of the current school year. This action is part of a five-year savings plan that couples the school closings with program and staff cuts, such as the elimination of the driver’s education program, and also with the realignment of grade levels (fifth graders would be moved from elementary schools to middle schools).

The total anticipated savings from closing these schools is thought to be over $2 million. The action would eliminate the costs associated with utilities and the upkeep of the facilities, but also remove teaching, custodial, and secretary positions.

More here.

Buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland? Call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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>A Regal Pose – The Republican News

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Posing regally in an icy-limbed forest was this American bald eagle, photographed recently in the Friendsville area by Friendsville resident Jesse Whittemore. With Presidents’ Day just around the corner, one can’t help but marvel at the resiliency of not only this national symbol but also of the United States and its people. The bald eagle was on the brink of extirpation in the lower 48 states not too long ago. But after much hard work and determination by many citizens, eagle populations recovered and stabilized – so much so that in 2007, the eagle was removed from the federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States. Americans can once again view this magnificent creature and emblem in many areas of their nation, including Garrett County.

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

Deep Creek Do It All specializes in cleaning services in Garrett County & @ Deep Creek Lake. Give them a call (301-501-0217) or visit the website – competitive rates and quality results from a locally owned & operated company!

Youghiogheny corridor is a treasure for all

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News Fri Sep 24, 2010, 08:00 AM EDT

— In regard to the recent article by Times-News reporter Megan Miller titled “Whitewater Woes in Friendsville,” I would like to point out some missed points in both the original article and the response by Matt Ackerman.

First of all, I am a resident of Winchester, Va., but have a vacation home in Garrett County primarily due its proximity to whitewater recreation. This area (Western Maryland, northern West Virginia and western Pennsylvania) is known not only nationwide, but also worldwide as one of the most desirable locations to visit and live for whitewater enthusiasts. With the variety of rivers from the mild Middle Youghigheney to the technical Blackwater to the challenging Upper Youghiogheney to the powerful Cheat to the great training grounds of ASCI (Adventure Sport Center International) this area has rivers and training facilities for every type paddler and should embrace the tourism or other areas such as central West Virginia or western North Carolina will claim those dollars.

I understand the frustration of the few bad apples who cause problems in town and have personally called out several on occasion. Undressing in a small town is simply unacceptable, especially when Wilderness Voyagers allows free use of their changing rooms at the take-out. In addition, trespassing and not respecting the locals’ property is just plain stupid. Again, these actions are taken by a very small minority.

When you look at the demographics of those kayaking the Upper Yough, it becomes very clear that this is an older, more experienced crowd than you will find on many other rivers. With older paddlers comes, in most instances, higher income and the ability to have a greater positive impact on the local economy. Many of these boaters also bring their families and rent, or buy, local cabins in the Deep Creek area so the kids can play while Mom and Dad do as well.

Focusing in on the economic impact of the rafting companies, Vernon Sines states that local businesses do not see an economic impact and that outfitters do not buy from local stores. This is simply not true. Does he think that the rafting companies (Roger at Precision Rafting for instance … himself a local resident) go out of their way to buy all of their supplies from far away locations? No, they buy groceries where he buys his groceries.

I do agree, however, that Garrett County should split the $20,000 amusement tax with Friendsville at the very least. The only negative impact the boating has on Garrett County would be an increase in road use from the put-in to the take-out.

The boater put-in is entirely funded and maintained by American Whitewater and is in no way affiliated with or funded by Garrett County. Friendsville, on the other hand, has to absorb all of the cars, traffic and hassle with the only impact being their smaller amount paid — it must be pointed out — on a voluntary basis from the outfitters (rafting companies).

Therefore, the real focus for Friendsville should be on obtaining a large portion, if not all, of the Garrett County amusement tax instead of looking the gift horse of whitewater recreation in the mouth. The Yough corridor is a treasure for fishermen, boaters, hikers (the train leading up the river from Friendsville would be an awesome rails to trails project!), and hunters.

Let’s all work together to make Friendsville not only a great place to live for the full-time residents, but also a world renowned place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts.

Mark Hoyle

Oakland and

Winchester, Va.

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

Deep Creek Do It All specializes in cleaning services in Garrett County & @ Deep Creek Lake. Give them a call (301-501-0217) or visit the website – competitive rates and quality results from a locally owned & operated company!

Whitewater woes in Friendsville

Residents say ‘river rats’ use parking, amenities, but tax funds do not go to town
Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News Mon Sep 13, 2010, 08:08 AM EDT

— FRIENDSVILLE — The raging rapids of the Upper Youghiogheny River draw throngs of whitewater enthusiasts to Friendsville each year, in a season lasting from April to October.

In recent years the number of annual visitors converging on the town has skyrocketed. In 2000, the companies that guide and outfit Upper Yough river-goers reported 959 rafts of customers to the state. In 2009, the total reported raft count was 1,363.

An even more dramatic increase appears to be under way since 2009. That year, the outfitters reported 3,743 individual clients. Just one year earlier, the outfitters tallied barely more than 3,000 clients.

Those figures don’t include the number of private kayakers and boaters who run the river with their own equipment. Friendsville Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle estimated that count to be at least half the number going through the outfitters.

On its face, the increase in tourist traffic might seem like a boon for the small mountain town. But that depends on whom you ask.

Vernon Sines has been the owner and operator of the S&S Market on Maple Street for 30 years. He’s seen the impact of river visitors in many ways, but a boost for his business isn’t one of them.

“No, no, we sure don’t see that,” Sines said. “That’s for sure.”

Most of the whitewater outfitters, Sines pointed out, hold cookouts or otherwise supply food to their clients, which means visitors only in town for one day aren’t buying from local stores.

“They don’t do a whole lot (for local businesses), really,” he said. “It’s more of an aggravation, of them parking and changing clothes wherever and walking up the middle of the road.”

While the locals’ frustration over out-of-towners’ behavior is a longstanding issue, the Upper Yough’s recent popularity boom has newly irritated the old wound.

Residents report out-of-towners living out of their vehicles in the streets, drinking in public and changing clothes in the open or in private garages and sheds.

And the influx of visitors can bring as many as 150 additional cars into the town, with no parking area big enough to accommodate them all.

“It became exponential this year, with boaters parking in residential parts of the town,” said Jess Whittemore, a 30-year resident of the area and Town Council member.

Whittemore, himself a “river rat,” said he sees recreational boating as a “fantastic” economic opportunity for the town, if it’s handled correctly.

“If you step back and look at it, it’s just a lot of wallets walking into town. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of wallets,” he said. “What small town of 600 people doesn’t want that?”

But as Whittemore and other town officials point out, it’s not the municipality that’s currently cashing in on the Upper Yough. It’s county government.

Maryland assesses a 4.5 percent amusement tax on top of the fees clients pay to the whitewater outfitters. The state hands those dollars over to the county, because the spot where boaters put in to run the Yough is at Sang Run, outside the Friendsville limits.

Schlosnagle estimated that the county is taking in about $20,000 per year from the Upper Yough amusement tax, while Friendsville is getting approximately $800 per year in what amounts to voluntary contributions from some outfitters for use of the town’s public take-out area.

So on Aug. 24, Schlosnagle, Whittemore and the rest of the council went before the Garrett County Commission to ask for a piece of the amusement tax revenue.

“People come into our town and park their vehicles in our town,” Schlosnagle told the commission. “They’re shuttled up to Sang Run and float down to the town. … We feel we should get some portion of the money that comes to the county.”

The commission has taken their comments under advisement and is examining what can be done, according to County Administrator Monty Pagenhardt.

In the meeting, the commissioners steered the conversation away from tax dollars and in the direction of supplying more parking restriction signs to the town.

But Schlosnagle said more signs aren’t the answer. For one thing, the town has no money to hire even a part-time enforcement officer to make sure people are abiding by the restrictions.

“These really are opportunities,” commission President Ernie Gregg told the Friendsville council members. “From the time all this started, way back when, a lot of the local people disdained the river rats. But their money is green like anybody else’s and we need to … find a way to make this work.”

Agnes Lichtner runs the Riverside Hotel on Water Street. Lichtner, too, said she views the influx of visitors as a positive thing.

“When we see traffic, that’s business,” she said. “You have to grasp that opportunity.”

She acknowledged that few boaters stay overnight at the historic hotel, but said they often come in for meals in its restaurant.

“We have dinners that we serve, and they’re one of our No. 1 supporters,” she said. “When they come off the river they eat here, more than what the fishermen do.”

Whittemore said the number of problems with boaters has decreased since the organization American Whitewater stepped in and began putting the word out to the boating community to be more considerate while in Friendsville.

The town is also drafting a camping ordinance so that law enforcement can legally control nuisance camping on the streets or town property.

He hopes that new approaches to river visitors, with the help of redirected amusement tax dollars, will help locals embrace the tourism and recreation industry.

“Coal mining and timbering is a long-gone natural resource of our whole area, and this is the new resource,” he said. “It’s here, it’s never going to go away, which means the kayakers are never going to go away. The wallets are going to continue to walk into town.”

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

Deep Creek Do It All specializes in cleaning services in Garrett County & @ Deep Creek Lake. Give them a call (301-501-0217) or visit the website – competitive rates and quality results from a locally owned & operated company!

Rafting Boom Has Pros, Cons For Friendsville

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Aug. 26, 2010

Outdoor enthusiasts are flocking to Friendsville to enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Youghiogheny River. The town’s mayor and council met with the Garrett County commissioners on Tuesday to discuss the positive and negative aspects of this issue.

“Friendsville is very fortunate to have the Youghiogheny River flowing through our town,” Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle told the commissioners. “And over the years it’s continued to grow, as far as the whitewater rafters who come into the county in spring, summer, and early fall.”

He said that is a “good” problem, but it is also a problem that needs to be addressed.

The mayor noted that the Maryland Department of the Environment recently allowed rafters to be on the Yough on Saturdays, in addition to Fridays and Mondays. This allowance, coupled with low water levels on other rivers and the recent growth of rafting, means that hundreds of people are now pouring to Friendsville on weekends.

Local rafting companies reported they have more than 3,700 whitewater customers per year, according to Schlosnagle. The mayor stressed however, that this figure does not include numerous other kayakers and rafters who enter the Yough and other area streams on their own.
While this should be an economic boon to the town, it receives little of the county’s 4.5 percent admissions and amusement tax that rafting companies collect from their customers. That is because the official “put-in” or access site to the Yough River is located in the Sang Run area, which is several miles up stream from Friendsville. Rafters and kayakers park in the town, ride in company or private shuttle vehicles up to the put-in site, raft/kayak down the Yough, and get out of the river anywhere they can in Friendsville, rather than traveling another 30 minutes to a take-out point at the community park.

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

Deep Creek Do It All specializes in cleaning services in Garrett County & @ Deep Creek Lake. Give them a call (301-501-0217) or visit the website – competitive rates and quality results from a locally owned & operated company!

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and head to Friendsville Community Park for the Youghiogheny River Festival this Saturday, July 24, from 3 to 10 p.m. for some musical entertainment by Rob Smith, singer and songwriter for Smith & Roberts; the Sugarfoot Stompers; and the Remedy. Come early and participate in events such as an electrofishing and stream ecology demonstration by Maryland DNR Fisheries manager Alan Klotz; the Scales and Tales Program by Maryland DNR Parks Service; drumming with Dances of Universal Peace; a nature walk with Kevin Dodge, director of the Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology Program at Garrett College; children’s art activities; a scavenger hunt; and 50/50 rubber ducky races. Bring a camera and join the Mountain Top Photography Club in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk during the festival, or enter the art and photo contest sponsored by YRWA and the Garrett County Arts Council. Participate in the first ever Boater Swap by bringing unwanted boater gear, or take a raft ride down the Yough between the Friendsville Bridge and Park, courtesy of Wilderness Voyageurs. Handmade soy candles, jewelry, print art, and other various arts and crafts will be available for purchase. Food vendors will be selling steak and cheese sandwiches, fresh corn on the cob, baked goods and bubble tea. All proceeds will benefit the non-profit Youghiogheny River Watershed Association. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under age 6. The Watershed Association expresses its appreciation for the sponsors of the event: Adventure Sports Center International, Keystone Lime, and Friends of Deep Creek Lake. Anyone interested in more information may e-mail YoughWatershed@gmail.com, search the Youghiogheny festival on Facebook, or visit http://www.youghioghenyriverfestival.info/

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