Savage River State Forest

Savage River State Forest is the largest state forest in the state of Maryland! With  54,000 acres of classified northern hardwood forest, there is plenty to do.

Whether it is biking, camping, canoeing, or hiking, there is always something to do.

You can even bring your pets, as long as they are on a leash!

 

Savage River Stare Forest - Savage River

 

For more information, click on the photo or call 301-895-5759.

 

 

Three River Reservoir Releases Set

May. 31, 2012

Taming the Savage (river, not beast) is a challenge that has been enjoyed by whitewater paddlers of all levels and from all over the world, and three opportunities to take that challenge will be available this summer and fall, with Savage River reservoir releases scheduled for June 3, July 1, and Sept. 29.


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The releases are once again being coordinated by the Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI). Above, professional whitewater outfitter Precision Rafting of Friendsville rewards guests with a rare rafting trip on the Savage during one of last year’s scheduled recreational releases.

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Three Savage whitewater releases planned

For the Cumberland Times-News Cumberland Times-News

— BLOOMINGTON — The Upper Potomac River Commission has scheduled three recreational whitewater releases from Savage River Reservoir for the summer season, according to Adventure Sports Center International.

The releases, based on water availability, will take place June 3, July 1 and Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ASCI has been working with the UPRC, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NewPage, G&S Coal, Precision Rafting, Savage River State Forest and Garrett College to arrange paddler parking, shuttle service, put-in and take-out access, release of liability for the stake-holders and removal of dangerous river debris.

“If it were not for the efforts of ASCI to coordinate all the entities involved with this event, it just wouldn’t happen,” said Scott Shoemaker, UPRC superintendent.

All direct expenses related to the shuttle service, registration of private boaters and the removal of dangerous river debris is paid for from donations received from the boaters.

The releases are open to private boaters who are able to to navigate difficult whitewater (American Whitewater Class III+/IV). Others who are seeking the experience should contact a professional whitewater outfitter, such as Precision Rafting, Upper Yough Expeditions or Wilderness Voyagers located in Friendsville.

For more information, contact ASCI at 301-387-3250

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DNR talks Savage River trout at open house

Michael A. Sawyers Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — More than 30 people came to an open house Saturday to hear about brook trout management in the upper Savage River drainage, some traveling from as far away as Baltimore and Sugar Grove, W.Va.
The Maryland Fisheries Service, a part of the Department of Natural Resources, conducted the meeting at Allegany College of Maryland to discuss impacts of special regulations in place for brookie fishing during the past five years.
Beginning in 2007, the use of bait and the keeping brook trout in 111 miles of the river’s drainage was prohibited. Much of the drainage is made up of tributaries flowing into the Savage River Reservoir or the river that feeds it.
“There has been no significant improvement (in the brookie population),” said Don Cosden, chief of the freshwater fish management. “In fact, there has been a drop across the board.”
Cosden said bad reproduction of baby brookies throughout the study period have made the results inconclusive. Robert Hilderbrand, PhD, of the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Sciences, Appalachian Lab in Frostburg, directed the study.
Reproduction was poor, Cosden said, because of high water flows in some years and low water flows in others.
Visitors to the open house were given the opportunity to supply written comments about the brook trout management.
“We had the gamut,” Cosden said. “Some passionately told us we had made the wrong decision (with the regulations). Some agreed with the regulations and some wanted the regulations to be even more strict, such as a moratorium on fishing.”
The complete study is available at www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries as is a place for online comments.
Cosden said all public comments will be reviewed and considered in future management decisions.
Doug Oxford, Oakland, said he is an avid Garrett County brook trout fisherman who has mixed emotions about the regulations.
“In 1987, a friend and I would start at the top of Poplar Lick and fish all the way to the bottom. We would catch 200 brook trout using small red garden worms and hooking them in the lips. We put them all back,” he said.
On the other hand, Oxford said he doesn’t think all fishermen have the knowledge and skill to use bait to catch brook trout in that manner. More fish die that swallow hooks into their throats or gullets, according to Hilderbrand.
The regulation will remain unchanged for now, Cosden said. The agency will continue annual population surveys of brook trout by shocking them with electric current for weighing and measuring before their return to the water.
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

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>Savage River Headwater Dam Removal, Stream Restoration Project Complete

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Jun. 16, 2011

The Savage River Watershed Association (SRWA) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday for the recently completed Savage River Headwater Dam Removal and Stream Restoration Project, constructed on property owned by the city of Frostburg. The ceremony was attended by local representatives, project partners, and funders.

The project restored natural stream conditions to a 600-ft. reach of the Savage River to improve habitat for brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, Maryland’s only native freshwater trout species. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) listed brook trout as a “Species in Greatest Need of Conservation” in 2006, leading to the development of a brook trout Fisheries Management Plan that includes a focus on the upper Savage River resource.

This area comprises over 100 miles of interconnected streams that are 25% of all brook trout stream miles in Maryland. Brook trout require cool stream temperatures that do not exceed 70°F. Headwater ponds and impoundments are known to adversely affect stream temperatures and block fish passage. When a pond is built inline with a stream, the surface water of the pond warms. As the water re-enters the stream it increases the stream temperature below the pond. When stream temperature exceeds 70°F for extended periods, brook trout cannot survive. This condition is known as a thermal impact.

In the early 1900s, an impoundment was built on the upper Savage River as part of a municipal water supply for the city of Frostburg and surrounding communities. This impoundment was abandoned in 1986 with the upgrade of the Savage groundwater collection system and replacement of Piney Dam and Reservoir. Though the upper Savage River reservoir was no longer needed, the old dam remained in place, causing increased water temperatures and acting as a barrier to fish passage.

The city of Frostburg provided support to remove the deteriorating dam in order to improve water quality and fish habitat in the Savage River watershed. During the 2008–10 summer seasons, biologists with Maryland DNR’s Inland Fisheries Management Division monitored the temperature at this site. Data recorded showed peak stream temperatures that exceeded 75°F below the impoundment, yet never exceeded 65°F above the impoundment. Savage River Watershed Association and partners identified this as a priority restoration site as the impoundment was not only causing a thermal impact, it also blocked fish passage to a headwater reach along the main stem of the Savage River.

Canaan Valley Institute engineered a natural stream design plan to create a free-flowing channel that bypassed the reservoir and converted it to a wetland. Natural stream design methods were used to create in-stream structures that add aquatic habitat and provide streambank stability.

Stream restoration allowed fish access to 2.5 stream miles upstream from the pre-existing dam, improved aquatic habitat by restoring natural stream features, decreased water temperature, and decreased the amount of sediment contributed by streambanks downstream of the pre-existing dam. The former pond area was converted to a wetland, providing wildlife habitat, water quality improvement, and flood storage. The site will serve as a demonstration for stream restoration activities and brook trout habitat improvement projects.

Restoration of this site was possible as the result of partnership efforts coordinated by SRWA staff. SRWA extends thanks to all partners and funders for their strong support to complete this project and to local representatives for their interest in and support of SRWA activities.

Project partners that provided funding were Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT), FishAmerica Foundation (FAF), Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), Maryland DNR, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Partners who provided professional support and in-kind services were: Canaan Valley Institute (CVI), the city of Frostburg, DNR, and SRWA.

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State replenishing Savage River Reservoir fish

Thousands of largemouth bass, crappie fingerlings added to reservoir
Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

BLOOMINGTON — The Maryland Fisheries Service dumped 12,000 largemouth bass fingerlings and 18,000 black crappie fingerlings into Savage River Reservoir Tuesday in a continuing effort to return game fish to the impoundment that was drained this past winter.

Dave Sein, who works at the Manning Hatchery in Brandywine, drove the fish from Prince George’s County to their new Garrett County home. It wasn’t the first trip.

“We had already stocked 800,000 walleye fry and 25,000 walleye fingerlings along with 25,000 bluegill fingerlings, 9,000 red-ear sunfish fingerlings and 3,850 adult rainbow trout,” Alan Klotz, regional fishery biologist, said Tuesday.

“We will be stocking fingerling warm water fish for the next three years to replenish the fishing in the reservoir,” Klotz added.

Klotz said anglers should not expect much in the way of fishing for the warm water species for a few years. “But once the fish start growing, the fishing will come back quickly, usually peaking about five years after stocking in reservoirs that have been drained. The trout, though, are ready for catching right now.”

The reservoir has returned to full pool, having been drained so that repairs could be made to faulty release gates in the dam.

Klotz said he was surprised that dead fish from the reservoir were not found downstream in the Savage River.

“I expected to find thousands,” he said. “I think they must have washed on down into the North Branch (of the Potomac). We certainly didn’t see dead fish lying on the drained reservoir surface.”

In addition, Klotz said some yellow perch, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass moved upstream in the Savage River during drainage and have likely returned to the impoundment.

Klotz said that initial news about survival of trout downstream of the reservoir is good.

“We had a crew do a quick electrofishing sample and found adult brown and brook trout just about everywhere,” he said. “We probably lost a year of reproduction, but the adult fish seem to have done better than anticipated. When I watched the high flows coming down the river during the draining I didn’t think any trout would survive.”

Klotz said a thorough survey of the lower Savage River will take place in July and will tell the full post-drainage story.

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