PROGRAMS HELP GARRETT COUNTY

The Maryland General Assembly passed two bills that will benefit Garrett County and Deep Creek Lake.

The payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT program, will result in Garrett County receiving about a million dollars in fiscal year 2019. The PILOT program benefits state forests, parks and wildlife management areas.

A bill was also passed that establishes the State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund, which requires the Department of Natural Resources to develop a working budget, and to develop a plan, prioritizing projects that receive funding.

 

NEW LISTING- 60 Westward Way

Check out my new listing!

Custom built masterpiece! Handcrafted wood finishes adorn this 4BR/3BA chalet. Amazing detail from top to bottom.

Oak doors & floors, cherry cabinets, pegged beams and a cozy fireplace! Sit outside on the peaceful back porch or soak in the hot tub.

Community features outdoor swimming pool, tennis, and a trail network that leads to Deep Creek Lake.

Vacation rental “Boulder Oaks”.

For a 3-D tour, click here.
For more information, click here.

 

FEATURED LISTING- 4792 Friendsville Road

Looking for an amazing custom home close to Deep Creek Lake?

Check out my listing on Friendsville Road. This home is directly in between the lake and I-68 making it incredibly convenient.

10+acres! 5,000+sf, indoor heated pool. Uber-efficient compound constructed w/ Polystyrene poured concrete. Radiant floor heat, hardwood, granite, central vac, stone fireplace & accent walls, spacious rooms, massive walk-in closets in every room, skylights-contact for FULL feature list.

7 add. acres avail. UNZONED recreational paradise.

Must see to appreciate!

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE.

Wisp Resort Set to Re-Open for Winter Operations

In February, Wisp Resort was forced by rain and temperatures in the 50’s to suspend skiing and snowboarding operations.

Now, in the midst of a cold and snowy March, Wisp Resort is anticipating a re-opening of winter operations sometime this week.

The exact day will depend on just how much natural snow they get from Winter Storm Stella and how much machine-made snow they can make with the colder temperatures.

With a depleted snow base and mild forecast, Wisp Resort closed for skiing two weeks ago after just 72 days of operation. It was their lowest number of operating days in the past ten years even though they had pumped more than 160 million gallons of water for snowmaking up to that date, the third highest total in the past ten years.

“The weather was pretty uncooperative this winter,” dryly noted Artie Speicher, Mountain Operations Director at Wisp.

“Mother Nature was testing our resolve, just like she is now. She’s given us another window this week, so we’re going to make the most of it.”

The Deep Creek Lake Area received 5 inches of snow on Friday, March 10 along with temperatures dipping into the single digits.

Wisp’s snowmaking team will be making snow as weather permits this week, and Winter Storm Stella is expected to add several more inches of natural snow Tuesday.

The resort suggested skiers and snowboarders check www.wispresort.com and Wisp’s Facebook page for updates and opening announcements.

for more information, click here.

Maryland fracking regulations could serve as a model to other states

It is a challenging time to be the president of the Garrett County Farm Bureau, especially as a young man working his way through college.

Garrett County is a rural community. I have grown up on my family’s farm, helping to produce the hay and raise the goats and vegetables that are currently funding my tuition.

The farmers that I represent are hardworking people who deserve to be able to use their land as they choose — this includes using the resources it contains. However, we are experiencing an increased influx of people from urban and suburban areas of the state trying to dictate and legislate what is best for us.

Fifteen years ago, the issue was windmills; today, it is fracking.

The Garrett County Farm Bureau has been advocating for our farmers’ ability to safely and responsibly drill for gas on their own land for over 10 years and now we are at a turning point. It is critical now that we do not completely ban hydraulic fracturing in Maryland and cut off a tremendous amount of opportunities for residents of Garrett County.

People often want to know why farmers like hydraulic fracturing. From our perspective it isn’t about hydraulic fracturing at all. It is about accessing and producing natural gas from resources on our own land.

For everyone living in urban and suburban areas, fracking is making your air cleaner to breathe, slashing the costs of natural gas and products made from natural gas, improving the national economy and allowing us to export gas to foreign countries.

For my farmers, it does all of that as well as enable them to recover the value of the gas they own.

The farm community has been quietly accommodating the impacts of residential development around Deep Creek Lake on our community for a long time now. If our gas production requires the Deep Creek community to accommodate a little, we expect the same courtesy we have been extending to them.

There are certainly people in the community who love recreational industries and are passionately opposed to gas production. They believe it will somehow inhibit their ability to use and make money off tourism at Deep Creek. But there are also people in the community who would love to produce gas and have no interest in recreational industries. All of them have the same constitutional right to use their own property in the way they choose. The state does not have the right to arbitrarily allow some to choose and others not. The trick is to find a path that is respectful of everyone and asks everyone to compromise some.

That was the precise goal of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative and the protracted negotiations about regulations among the various stakeholders that have taken place over the last five years. The goal of the Farm Bureau has been to establish regulations that protect our farms as well as the surrounding community. We think the proposed regulations do that.

There is nothing like them anywhere else in America. If someone shows you a drilling practice in another state you don’t like, there is a strong possibility it is prohibited here in Maryland.

We have been producing and storing gas here since 1955, and the gas industry is a valuable part of our economy. We would like that to continue and grow with the addition of jobs, royalties and taxes from shale production in Maryland.

Before Gov. Martin O’Malley created the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative Advisory Commission, he weighed the same question that is before the Maryland Legislature right now: Ban fracking or regulate it. His assessment was that as a state with a small amount of producible reserves surrounded by states with a large amount of producible reserves upstream from Maryland, it would be in Maryland’s best interest to create the tightest possible regulations and then use our influence and our power as a consumer to move our regulations into the surrounding states. He was right.

If we bury these regulations now with a ban, we will be wasting millions of dollars that have been spent developing the regulatory process and denying landowners the right to develop their gas resources. But the real cost will be to the environment, because we did not have the courage to pursue his vision to the end and influence the people who produce gas for Maryland in other states to do it to in a way that Maryland finds acceptable.

Aaron Lantz is president of the Garrett County Farm Bureau.

 

for more information, click here.

 

Wisp Ends Ski Season Early

Ski season is over in Garrett County!

Due to the unusually warm winter, Wisp Resort has decided to end ski season early. The weather has been historically warm this season. Some days it has reached 70 degrees here in McHenry and others it has been back in the 20’s and 30’s.

Wondering what the Wisp looks like right now?

Here is a view of the Wisp from Taylor-Made’s Branch Office next to Smiley’s.

For comparison, here is a photo from the Wisp taken last winter.

Wisp Resort made the announcement via Facebook Sunday evening.

Well, it was a great season while it lasted! Time to move on to springtime activities.

Guess the groundhog was wrong this year!

 

The case for a Maryland fracking ban

Next week, on Feb. 28, the Health, Education and Environmental Affairs Committee in the Maryland Senate will take up legislation dealing with shale gas drilling (fracking). For public safety, economic and environmental reasons, we believe the technology should not be allowed in Maryland.

Nearly three out of four senators have indicated a willingness to extend the current fracking moratorium, set to expire in October. This suggests they recognize that gas drilling will not be the economic bonanza that supporters have claimed since 2011, when the mountains above Marcellus Shale deposits in Western Maryland were first targeted.

Two bills are pending. One bans fracking altogether, while the other extends the moratorium for two years — though it departs from the current moratorium by permitting fracking in counties that approve it by referendum. On the ban bill, 23 of the Senate’s 33 Democrats are co-sponsors; the moratorium bill has 24 co-sponsors, including several Republicans.

In the House of Delegates, leadership declared long ago that a frack-free Maryland was its preference. A ban bill is advancing, and there is no moratorium bill. After committee hearings, legislation may go to the floor of each chamber for further debate. If the House and Senate don’t pass the same bill, some sort of compromise is required before any legislation can be approved and sent to the governor for his consideration.

About three-fourths of Marylanders already live in a place where local elected officials have created anti-fracking laws or resolutions. But fracking is regulated by the state. So, for those who’ve worked for six legislative sessions on the issue, the “heavy lift” is in the Maryland Senate.

Unlike neighboring Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Maryland did not rush into fracking. Successive administrations studied the technology, then overhauled outdated regulations. Meanwhile, energy prices continued to fall. The industry allowed nearly all of its original sub-surface mineral leases purchased last decade to lapse.

Furthermore, Maryland lacks the large-scale deposits, pipeline and processing infrastructure, and interest from industry (in the form of leased mineral rights) needed to make large-scale fracking financially feasible today. Yet we can’t rule out a change of circumstances that drives up fossil fuel prices — setting set off a new round of leasing that leads to fracking in years ahead.

Meanwhile, mounting problems elsewhere show the technology cannot be effectively regulated. In Pennsylvania recently, investigators from Public Herald, an investigative journalism nonprofit, dug up previously undisclosed citizen complaints about water contamination from fracking. Their work took years. Far from regulators’ 280-odd citations against industry, Public Herald found some 4,100 complaint filings — all told, one official complaint for nearly every well drilled. There’s more. It appears that the vast majority were never investigated. Then unresolved original complaints were shredded. Hundreds of state law violations were documented, and Flint, Mich.-style government criminality is a possibility.

In recent weeks in Western Maryland, many residents were infuriated by the Senate president’s public remarks that “there are no jobs whatsoever” in that part of the state. In fact, the unemployment rate in Western Maryland in 2016 was almost identical to the state average, and lower than some counties. Long gone are the days that Mountain Maryland depended overly on extractive energy and assembly line work.

Tourism and vacation real estate provide about half of all jobs and two-thirds of Garrett County’s tax base. Some of the highest-value rural real estate in the eastern United States lines the shores of Deep Creek Lake — second only to Ocean City as a vacation destination for Marylanders. Generations have visited and created the magical memories that many families cherish forever.

To state the obvious, nowhere in the world do fracking and world-class tourism mix. That’s why in Florida right now, with Republicans in charge, the legislature is considering a fracking ban. Florida’s economy is Deep Creek’s, writ large.

Additionally, fracking is “anti-business”: While a few short-term jobs may be created, most Western Marylanders — like others in a state where the solar industry grew 40 percent in 2015 — prefer small-business ownership, with sustainable economic investments in tourism, agriculture and green energy.

Mountainside solar installations are burgeoning. Indeed, Western Marylanders want the same future as the rest of the state. Most polls show that a strong majority of Garrett and Allegany county residents want the fracking ban that Marylanders as a whole support.

Is this another “jobs versus environment” debate? Not at all. Nationally, less than 10 percent of jobs on a well-pad are unionized. Along with embalmers and theater projectionists, zero petroleum engineers belong to unions.

The Laborers International Union recently came out in support of fracking and staged a rally in Annapolis. In a union with a proud tradition of training workers in emerging industries, wouldn’t organizing solar-industry installers sustain and grow its membership?

Finally, there’s the matter of fracking’s effect on global climate change. Farmers statewide are already feeling the effects of erratic precipitation, unpredictable freezes and bigger storms. This year, the annual “Winterfest” festival in Oakland, Md. (the state’s “snowiest” town) was postponed due to spring-like weather.

Scientists agree that fossil fuel combustion is driving planetary warming. And new scientific analysis confirms that fracked gas is nearly as bad as coal for the atmosphere. That’s because, before it is burned at distant power plants or on your stovetop, natural gas (mostly methane) is constantly leaking from wellheads, pipelines and compressor stations. Estimates of leakage vary from about 2 percent of production to more than 10 percent. Overall, carbon dioxide is a more potent greenhouse gas, but in the short-term — measured in 20-year periods —methane is orders of magnitude more detrimental. So the life-cycle warming impact of gas rivals coal. To save our climate, we have to steadily move off of gas, not increase its use through reckless fracking.

For Maryland’s economy, health and environment, we need to ban fracking once and for all. This drilling method will never be safe. We have all of the data we need on that. Now we just need the political will of our leaders in Annapolis to finally do the right thing.

For more information, click here.

Deep Creek Lake & Garrett County, Maryland Offer Military March Promotion

The Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County, Maryland salute our nation’s heroes with a Military March promotion. The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce is offering discounts for military members on their website, www.visitdeepcreek.com. The promotion, which is sponsored by GCC Technologies, LLC,  runs from March 1 – March 31, 2017, non-holidays.

Twenty-three businesses are participating in the promotion offering military discounts on dining, shopping, lodging, groceries, design work, clothing, glassware, car purchases, oil changes, hot tubs,  lift tickets, rentals, lessons and snow tubing.

“The Military March promotion is a terrific way for military members and their families to save on a trip to the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County,” said Sarah Duck, Director of Tourism & Marketing for the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud to honor our nation’s heroes with discounts from a wide variety of our area’s businesses.”

The Military March Promotion includes offers from Bear Creek Traders, Cabin on Farm View Rental Home, CurlyRed Inc., Deep Creek Beverage, Deep Creek Shop ‘n Save Fresh Featuring Mountain Flour Bakery, Haley Farm Inn & Retreat Center, Joyce’s Deep Creek Rentals and Trips, Lake Pointe Inn, Ledo Pizza, Pasta & Pub, Long Branch Saloon & Motel, McHenry Beverage Shoppe, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, Railey Mountain Lake Vacations, Rudy’s Clothing, Savage River Lodge, Simon Pearce Factory Outlet and Glassblowing, Suites at Silver Tree, Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations, Team One Chevrolet Buick GMC, The Hot Tub Store, Uno Chicago Grill Deep Creek, Will O’the Wisp Resort and Wisp Resort.

To redeem the offers, military members simply need to show a valid military ID when purchasing. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply; please see specific details and restrictions for each offer at https://www.visitdeepcreek.com/pages/MilitaryMarch2017.

To view all of the military March offers or for more information about Garrett County, please stop by www.visitdeepcreek.com or call 888.387.5237.

 

for more information, click here.