Bittinger Volunteer Fire Department celebrates 45 years

From The Garrett County Republican

BITTINGER — The Bittinger Volunteer Fire Department celebrated its 45th anniversary last week with its annual Firemen’s Appreciation Dinner.

“The year 2018 marked our 45th year of service and also marks our busiest year on record for the department,” said Chief Justin Orendorf. “We handled a total of 449 incidents. Our goals as we move into 2019 are to increase training for our volunteers and as always recruit for additional volunteers. There is nothing more rewarding then giving back to your community, and it sets the tone for the type of community you want to live in.”

He noted that delivery of a new ambulance is set for spring, and the department is also working to obtain a small vehicle to assist with EMS responses in the area and in mutual aid to the surrounding jurisdictions.

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Garrett County has second wildlife management area

Hunting will be allowed on land south of Bittinger

Michael A. Sawyers

Cumberland Times-News

— BITTINGER — A new state wildlife management area, only the second in Garrett County, will provide public hunting as well as protection for some plant and bird species.

The Cunningham Swamp Wildlife Management Area opened in May. Public access, including a parking lot, is available by turning west off state Route 495 about 100 yards north of the entrance to the Western Maryland 4-H Education Center.

The 258-acre unit includes grassy fields, evergreen and deciduous forest and, of course, a swamp. Some of the unit sits atop reclaimed strip mines.

“We encourage deer hunting at the WMA because deer eat the rare and endangered purple-fringed orchids,” said Ed Thompson of the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service, the managing agency within the Department of Natural Resources.

Thompson said deer also like to eat Canada yew, another plant with which he is concerned.

“The yew plant is like candy to a deer,” he said.

The WMA offers a variety of open fields and thick cover.

Jim Mullan, regional manager for WHS, said deer hunting should be popular and productive at the new unit.

“This part of Garrett County is well-known for having bears,” Mullan said. Bear hunting is by special permit only in Maryland.

A kiosk providing information about the WMA is located at the grassy parking lot.

Rare birds, including the golden-winged warbler and alder fly catcher, use the WMA, according to Thompson.

The state paid $550,000 from Program Open Space funds for the land.

To inquire, call 301-334-4255.

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