Friends of Deep Creek seek to protect lake from degradation

OAKLAND — Friends of Deep Creek Lake, a Garrett County watershed organization, submitted a proposal for the creation of a Deep Creek Lake Restoration Fund at the Tuesday meeting of the Board of Garrett County Commissioners.

The proposal came about in response to the aging of the Deep Creek Lake reservoir, which was created by the construction of the Deep Creek Dam in 1923. According to Friends of Deep Creek Lake, as the lake grows older, invasive vegetation and lower water quality lessen its recreational value and use as a natural resource. Friends of Deep Creek Lake believes that federal funding, state assistance and a more active role for Garrett County are necessary to combat this natural degradation.

According to Barbara Beeler, member of the Friends of Deep Creek Lake board, the degradation of the lake will result in economic consequences in impacted areas. The detrimental effects of aging could lead to decreased property and housing values and lower tax revenues for Garrett County. “All of us — county, users, beneficiaries — we’re all going to be impacted by the continuing decline of the lake,” said Beeler.

Friends of Deep Creek Lake’s proposal features three main components. The first is the creation of a Deep Creek Lake Restoration Action Plan. “We need to make a lake policy from the bottom up,” said Beeler. Friends of Deep Creek Lake suggests that the plan include a variety of restoration and maintenance programs for such tasks as fighting the existing impacts of lake aging, eliminating algae blooms, reducing sediment and nutrient runoff, and upgrading septic systems.

The second is a means of funding the restoration. One of the primary obstacles to a restoration project would be the lack of available funds due to the current economic climate. According to Friends of Deep Creek Lake, funding for the Department of Natural Resources’ Lake Management Division comes only from dock permit fees, and the majority of this money is spent paying operating fees and taxes. Friends of Deep Creek Lake believes that federal money is necessary for the project.

“Until the economic crisis goes away, we’re really stifled,” said Commission Chairman Denny Glotfelty. “It’s impossible to get the state to move right now.”

Finally, the proposal includes a call for leadership for the restoration effort. The proposal suggests the formation of a working group that would lay groundwork for the plan, raise funds, and lobby for Deep Creek Lake in state and federal venues.

Along with the lack of available funding, another obstacle to the proposal is the fact that the lake is owned by the state rather than Garrett County. This makes it difficult for Garrett County to create an action plan regarding the lake as Friends of Deep Creek Lake’s proposal intends.

“It’s Maryland’s water. Whether it’s private or state property, it’s their water. That’s the problem,” said Glotfelty, who added that action regarding the lake is necessary. “We’ve got an 85-year-old lady that we’re trying to give a face-lift to right now.”

The commission did not act on the proposal during Tuesday’s meeting. It will be discussed further at the next meeting of the Deep Creek Lake Policy and Review Board, beginning at 6 p.m. on Oct. 26 at the Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center.

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

Route 219 bypass would relieve traffic congestion

Interesting letter to the editor:

Route 219 bypass would relieve traffic congestion

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

The U.S. Route 219 Bypass around Oakland should’ve been done yesterday! Traffic congestion is terrible!

New businesses are being built, and deliveries have to made, and it’s bad enough for delivery trucks to get through, besides other trucks that have a scheduled delivery to make, but none in Oakland. A few examples include trucks trying to deliver mobile homes, heavy equipment, and roof rafters. With new businesses, perhaps the older ones in town will lower their prices for the full-time residents of the area to afford. Too much is focused on the customers that are visiting at Deep Creek Lake.

Not only is it hard for people to drive through Oakland, but it’s hard for pedestrians to get across the street, and with the bypass, response times for the local fire department will probably be cut. The fire department is in the middle of town. From the map of the proposed bypass, the only real farm that will be lost is not even farmed anymore. In fact, the land that hay and other crops come off of is for sale. If the bypass doesn’t use it, perhaps another business will?

The group that is against the bypass should be called “People Against The Proposed Bypass.” That’s all they focus their attention on. They say nothing about trees around the lake being destroyed to build condominiums, and so on. I wonder if any of them utilize Interstate 68, or do they drive through Friendsville, Grantsville, Frostburg, and so on, if they don’t travel U.S. Route 220 to Cumberland ?

Bill Detrick


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

Mortgage Loan Officer Jerry Merrick – BBT Mortgage

One of Deep Creek Lake’s finest lenders:

Mortgage Loan Officer
Jerry Merrick
Deep Creek Lake
21287 Garrett Hwy., Suite 500
Oakland, MD 21550

Office: 301-387-3219 Mobile: 301-616-0037
Fax: 301-387-5393

-The vision at BB&T Mortgage is to be the Best Home Lender, guided by Integrity, Fairness, and a Caring Enthusiasm
-Specializing in World Standard Client Service
-Enabling our clients to achieve economic success and financial security through homeownership

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

Common Questions about Conservation Easements

From the Maryland DNR website:

How does it work?

Commonly Asked Questions about Conservation Easements
What is a conservation easement?
A conservation easement is a tool for landowners to protect natural resources and preserve scenic open space. The landowner who gives an easement limits the right to develop and subdivide the land, now and in the future, but still remains the owner. The organization accepting the easement agrees to monitor it forever to ensure compliance with its terms. No public access is required by a conservation easement.

Why put a conservation easement on your land?
Landowners who want to protect a beloved farm and/or their family’s heritage donate conservation easements as a way to prevent their land from becoming developed. There are also tax advantages associated with the donation of an easement.

What kinds of land can be protected by a conservation easement?
Any land whose conservation is in the public interest – woodland, wetlands, farmland, scenic areas, historic areas, wild and scenic rivers, undisturbed natural areas.

Does the Maryland Environmental Trust accept all easement offers?
Easement offers are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Trust staff members are available to visit potential easement sites and meet with interested landowners. The final decision rests with the Board of Trustees. If a property does not meet the Trust’s guidelines, they will recommend another land trust who may hold the conservation easement.

How long does the easement last?
Trust easements are perpetual, and apply to all present and future owners of the land.

What are advantages of donating an easement?
For people who want to preserve their land, an easement will assure that the land will never be used in a way contrary to their intent. Financial benefits in the form of tax deductions are also associated with easements. Easements often make it much easier to pass the land to the owner’s children without paying large estate taxes.

What are disadvantages of donating an easement?
Because an easement restricts development of a property, the market value of the land may be reduced.

Will an easement grant the public access to my property?
No. Public benefits of an easements are only derived from scenic views of the land from public roads or waterways.

Who owns land that is under an easement? Can it be sold?
The landowner who donated the easement remains the owner of the land. The land can be bought and sold. However, the easement “runs with the land” and applies to all future landowners.

Can property owners still live on and use the land if they donate an easement?
Yes. Easements typically allow for changes and additions to houses, construction of farm buildings, and other normal agricultural practices.

Easements may be drafted in various ways. For example, some landowners decide that, for the protection of the land, all development rights should be excluded, so that the land will always look substantially as it does now. Another might wish to allow the option of adding a limited number of future dwellings.

How much is the gift of an easement worth?
The value of an easement gift varies with each easement. Generally, the more the easement restricts the uses of the property, the higher the value of the gift, and hence the higher the tax deduction.

To determine the easement value, the land must be appraised at both its fair market value without the easement restrictions, and its fair market value with the easement restrictions. The difference between these two appraisals is the easement value, from which the tax deductions are derived.

The Trust does not do appraisals, but maintains lists of known appraisers.

How do future owners of a property know that an easement exists?
The easement is recorded in the Land Records of the county government. Any title search (generally done when land changes hands) will therefore reveal the existence of the easement.

Even if future property owners are unaware of the existence of the easement, they remain legally bound by it. The Trust monitors easement properties regularly to make sure of compliance.

One of the Maryland Environmental Trust’s largest responsibilities is to make sure the terms of a conservation easement are followed by future owners of the easement property. The key to this long-term stewardship is monitoring. MET monitors the easements it holds by inspecting properties on a regular basis. Landowners always receive advance notice of a visit and interiors of buildings are not monitored. If we discover the terms of an easement are not being followed, MET will attempt to work with the landowner to correct the problem. If the problem is still not corrected, MET has the right to enforce the easement through the legal system. When an easement is held jointly with a local land trust, that organization shares the monitoring and enforcement duties with MET.

Can Conservation Easements be donated by will?
Yes. The landowner should contact the Trust in advance, however, to ensure that the Trust will accept the gift. It is often better to donate an easement during one’s lifetime, since otherwise one loses the income-tax benefits of the donation.

Is land, which is subject to an easement, immune from condemnation?
A Maryland Environmental Trust easement will protect from condemnation by a municipal or county government. Legal research indicates that it will also protect from condemnation by the State, barring an express act of the Legislature. The Federal Government, however, can condemn a Trust easement.

Is there a yearly deadline for donating an easement to the Trust?
No. The Trust accepts requests at all times. However, if you wish to donate an easement during a particular calendar year, please contact the Trust no later than September of that year.

For more info, visit

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