Backbone Mountain Food Farm

In my travels, I discovered this organic food farm in Garrett County, Maryland, near Deep Creek Lake. It’s winter now, though I will be stopping by to see what they have later this year! Home-grown food is much more nutritious and yummy! I found it from a link to the Backbone Ski Farm.

Backbone Mountain Food Farm

Located at the foot of Backbone Mountain in Pleasant Valley , MD, Backbone Food Farm is a small family farm holding on to the idea that small scale, independent agriculture, stewardship and diversity are not only ideas from the past. Entering our tenth season as organic growers , we market our products through our CSA (in its 7th year), local farmers markets and local restaurants.

Our Motto
Working with Nature to Raise Healthy Food

We believe that people should have access to safe, clean, locally grown food that is chemical free!


Max and Katharine Dubansky
530 Lynndale Rd.
Oakland MD 21550

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

Backbone Mountain Ski Farm near Deep Creek Lake

My daughter came home from school (Dennett Road elementary) yesterday with a permission slip to go cross country skiing. She was excited to go and my first question was: ‘Where?’. I had no idea that there was a cross country ski farm nearby, let alone in Garrett County! I knwo the Wisp had offered it before, but this was new to me, so I googled it:

From the Backbone Mountain Ski Farm website:

For some fine cross country skiing in Garrett County, Maryland, join us at the Ski Farm, where snow fall is abundant! The winter season typically brings us over 150” of genuine snow- direct from Mother Nature. Located on 520 acres of field and forest at the base of Backbone Mountain you will find 15 K plus of maintained nordic ski trails, including 8 K of groomed ski trails. Cross Country ski your way up Backbone to one of the finest views in the county, then swoosh back and warm yourself by the fire.

Enjoy hot organic coffee and teas and baked goods and more in a laid back atmosphere you can relax in. Everyone from first timers to old timers can find the right terrain on our groomed and backcountry ski trail system. We have everything you’ll need to have a great day of cross country skiing.

Exercise your right to enjoy winter…
…………Free your heels!

Backbone Ski Farm Phone 301-334-5633
530 Lynndale Road,
Oakland, MD 21550

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

Fed's Mortgage Backed Securities exit could lift Treasury yields

Emily Flitter and Julie Haviv – Analysis
Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:08pm ESTRelated NewsMortgage applications rise in first week of 2010
Wed, Jan 13 2010
Fed minutes show lingering concern over housing
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The end of the Federal Reserve’s program to buy mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could have a ripple effect on the market for U.S. government bonds.

Once the Fed stops buying mortgage-backed securities at the end of March, private buyers will need to step in and take over in a market that the government has propped up since the financial crisis reached its peak. But they won’t want to buy MBS unless the securities offer a better return than the current rate, so mortgage rates will likely rise.

Higher rates could, in turn, spur a hedging practice in the Treasury market that has been largely absent in recent months. As a result, longer-dated U.S. debt could cheapen and yields could climb.

(more from Reuters)

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

U.S. mortgage demand up for third week as rates drop

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Demand for U.S. home loans rose last week for the third straight week as mortgage rates fell to a one-month low and stoked refinancing, an industry group said on Wednesday.

Borrowers are rushing to take advantage of low borrowing costs and other incentives while they last.

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s index of total home loan applications rose 9.1 percent in the week ended January 15 to 575.9 on a seasonally adjusted basis. The increase was driven by a 10.7 percent jump in the refinancing index, while home purchase demand rose 4.4 percent to 223.0 last week.

(more on this article from Reuters)

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

Snowmobiling at the Deep Creek Lake State Park

Snowmobile parking at the Deep Creek Lake State Park has been moved to the upper lot of the boat ramp. This will allow the Discovery Center Parking Area to be open for automobiles during regular day use visitors and special events such as the Snowflake Chase this weekend. The restrooms in the upper lot are open and heated.

To use any of the State Park or Forest designated Trails, users must have an ORV Sticker that can be purchased for $15, at any of the DNR offices. The sticker is valid for the current calendar year.

Also, in an effort to ensure safety the park has blocked areas that are not to be accessed by motorized vehicles with signs and plastic barricades.

If you have any questions about snowmobiling in the Deep Creek Lake State Park, call 301-387-5563.

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

Friends of the Casselman River

Friends of the Casselman River will want to familiarize themselves with this issue.

I want to go on the record as not being for or against this (yet) – but from what I have read and researched, there a few things that concern me about this project that need to be addressed:

1) Pulling 750,000 gallons of watre per day from the Casselman River? That is excessive and their is no way to know if that will adversely affect the wells (no public water through most of the Casselman basin) of local residents, not to mention the wildlife and trout stream concerns.

2) Tunneling under the river itself? I’m no expert on coal mining and I am sure it’s been done before in other places, but that is an extrememly risky proposal should something go ‘wrong’.

3) It appears to me that this is state land, not privately owned. I am a huge proponent of private property owners rights to use that property as they see fit, but the taxpayers should have a say in anything regarding public lands.

That being said, there are some unavoidable issues that lend creedance to the idea of this:

1) The number of jobs that it will bring to Garrett County cannot be ignored.

2) Western Maryland has always been known for its coal heritage, and I have always been for alternative fuels, though not on state land.

3) A proposed coal power plant in the region? A big plus for jobs..

From their website:

Environmental Alert for Grantsville, Maryland!

Hot Topics – Maryland Energy Resources Corp., LLC/ Joseph Peles Coal Company mining application in Grantsville, Maryland –

What you need to know!

The Maryland Energy Resources Corp., LLC (affiliated with the Joseph Peles Coal Company) is proposing the construction and operation of a 3040 acre coal mining effort in Grantsville, Maryland. This mining effort is slated to take place along the north branch of the Casselman River. It is ironic that this portion of the river is just recovering from a acid runoff mining disaster from years past. The Patuxent Conservation Corps, along with many local residents, are concerned about the implications of this pending mining operation, as it applies to both the environment and the quality of life for the local residents. Our concerns are as follows:

The proposed mining application requests the permission to pump 750,000 gallons of water from the ground on a DAILY basis. This volume of water draw from our community’s aquifer/water source could dramatically impact the well water quality and water levels within, and well beyond, the 2941 acre area. Furthermore, a loss of quality well water associated with this activity could certainly affect the real estate property values for local residents.

The proposed mine plan includes tunneling under the Casselman River at several points. This delicate trout fishing estuary is a valuable source of outdoor recreation in Garrett County.

The proposed mining site design requires the direct encroachment and adverse impact of sensitive wetlands.

The proposed site design requires the encroachment of the protective environmental setback buffers along the Casselman River.

The estimated traffic impact from this operation is believed to be 100 coal truck passings per day. This potentially equates to (1) coal hauling truck, potentially loaded with 22,000 pounds of coal, traveling on our community roads every 10 minutes.
Due to the grade of the county road (Durst Rd.), it is anticipated that the noise generated by this traffic would approach the effective noise level of an interstate highway to the surrounding community.

Due to the close proximity of the mining haul road to the Casselman River bridge and riparian water bodies, it is our fear that the dust from this excessive traffic would negatively impact the water quality, as well as the local air quality.

It is believed that the mining company is retaining the right to go into a 24 hour around the clock operation in it’s application with the Bureau of Mines

The mining company representatives have admitted to participating in discussions associated with the potential construction of a coal burning power plant on or near the same site along the Casselman River.

The mining site is directly adjacent to a sensitive conservation area operated by the Patuxent Conservation Corp. The Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources – Bureau of Mines has already invested more than $150,000 of taxpayer dollars in reclaiming this site after previous mining activity left it an environmental disaster. The Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources – Maryland Environmental Trust jointly holds the environmental easement associated with this riparian parcel in partnership with the Patuxent Conservation Corps.

The Boy Scouts of America regularly use the parcel adjacent to this proposed mining site for scouting activities. Should the proposed mining application be approved, this site would no longer be suitable for use for the scouting outdoor program

How scenic do you really think Maryland’s “Scenic Byway” Route 495 will be when it is polluted by coal and road dust caused by the estimated 72 to 144 additional coal trucks traveling the road each day?

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

Local legislators to ask for $600,000 for museum

Local legislators to ask for $600,000 for museum

Kevin Spradlin
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — A request for a $600,000 bond bill to support the Allegany Museum moved forward Tuesday when the District 1 legislative delegation to Annapolis voted to introduce the bill this session.

Sen. George Edwards said it depends on how much, if any, money for bond bills is in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposed budget, which was set to be released the same day Gary Bartik, museum president, and Joe Weaver, vice president, met with the delegation in Edwards’ capital city office.

The discussion centered around the museum’s request for funding that would be used to help renovate the first two floors of the former district courthouse at 3 Pershing St. Cas Taylor also attended the meeting as a lobbyist for the museum.

Edwards scheduled the meeting after the Allegany County commissioners made the bond bill request in November on behalf of the museum’s board of directors. Edwards said the delegation needed “more specifics on what you want to do with the $600,000 you’re asking for.”

“We don’t know yet if there’s going to be any bond money,” Edwards said, but local lawmakers need to have details of the project if the request moves forward into hearings in the Senate and House of Delegates.

Bartik highlighted the impact on local restaurants and other businesses by noting the museum gets approximately 57 percent of its 8,000 annual visitors from out of the area. Further, the museum has attracted visitors from 46 states and 31 countries.

“I try to frequent the downtown mall” often, said Delegate LeRoy Myers of the Queen City’s commercial center. “You know the thing I’ve noticed about downtown on Friday nights? You don’t know the people. You know why? They’re coming from somewhere else.”

Bartik and Weaver spoke of a planned partnership between the museum, downtown Cumberland and the Canal Place Heritage Area. Bartik said the museum is the first major private-sector entity to invest in Canal Place.

“Tourism is a regional business,” Weaver said. “All of us have to cooperate.”

The two officers talked of a new partnership with the Garrett County Historical Society and Museum and an attempt to form a joint Western Maryland Museum Association. It’s possible to include Washington County if museum representatives there are interested, Bartik said.

The Allegany Museum re-ceived a total of $275,000 in bond bills in the previous two legislative sessions. The estimated $7.4 million renovation and restoration project could require up to $3 million of state funding. Weaver said further investment by the state makes sense.

“If you want to attract visitors, you have to have attractions,” Weaver said. “I think this is just as legitimate an expense of public funds as roads, bridges and industrial parks. We are, in a sense, a part of your industrial park. We’re just a different industry.”

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

12th annual Deep Creek Dunk coming soon!

I found this awesome aerial video from Paul Thompson’s blog of last year’s Deep Creek Dunk:

Deep Creek Lake Dunk in Western MD on 2/28/2009 from Paul Thompson on Vimeo.

Here is a link to some more info on Facebook regarding the event.

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

Garrett County’s bills to go to state Assembly

Garrett’s bills to go to state Assembly

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — Legislators met Thursday to review requests from Garrett County and determine which bills to take before the Maryland General Assembly in its current session, which began Wednesday.

Several would expand the powers of the county commission, including one bill that would enable county officials to hold a public sale of the homes of residents who are 60 or more days delinquent on payment of their water and sewer bills.

Linda Lindsey, director of the county’s Department of Public Utilities, said as of November the county was owed $282,000 in unpaid water and sewer bills.

“The county needs some mechanism to be able to collect that,” Sen. George Edwards said in a phone interview from Annapolis. “The commissioners requested this legislation, and we’ve agreed to introduce it.”

The legislators said they will also submit a bill to enable the county commission to adopt local ordinances establishing minimum setback requirements for commercial wind turbines. It would allow the commission to require turbines to be placed a minimum distance from a property line.

“The main purpose of that is if a turbine would fall down, or a blade would fly off,” Edwards explained. “You want them back far enough that if they fall down they’re not on someone else’s property.”

Another bill would allow the commission to require companies to make provisions for decommissioning wind turbines and restoring turbine sites to their original condition in the event that the turbines go out of operation.

“There might come a point where they reach the end of their life and they just sit there,” Edwards said. “In mining, you have to have bonds or some other kind of instrument to provide for reclaiming the land if the mining company stops operations. This would be the same scenario.”

The commission also requested legislation that would enable it to increase the existing hotel rental tax if needed. Currently, that tax is set at 5 percent. The draft legislation would enable the commission to increase it as high as 8 percent, though the commission has stated it would not implement a 3 percent increase all at once.

Legislators will also follow up on a bill requested by the commission granting it the ability to establish a county emergency services board.

Delegate Wendell Beitzel said he and Edwards also intend to work on a legislative solution to an ongoing problem with the availability of OB/GYN services in Garrett County.

Currently, a handful of general practitioners delivers babies in the county. If a doctor delivers more than 30 per year, the cost of medical malpractice insurance can increase by about $100,000 because of insurance stipulations. Previously, legislation was in place that subsidized the gap between the general practitioners’ malpractice insurance costs and the increase, but that has expired.

Beitzel said they also plan to reintroduce legislation called the Dormant Mineral Act, which would provide a process for landowners to recover the mineral rights to their property if it was impossible to trace the current owner of the rights.

“We put in the bill last year and it passed the House and went to the Senate, but got stuck in committee,” Beitzel said. “This year, we’ll be dropping the bill earlier to try to get it through.”

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