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Friendsville gets grant to help complete its part of Garrett County’s loop trail

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

FRIENDSVILLE — The town of Friendsville recently received a $78,500 award as one of the recipients of the 2013 Bikeways Program Grant.

“We are very happy to receive the grant. I appreciate the cooperation of everyone that we worked with to achieve this grant,” said Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle. “It is part of the master plan for our future to bring in economic development for recreational activities.”

The grant will be used for designing and engineering a town trail that will extend to the community park.

It also will help with additional signage, bike racks and safety improvements in the future construction of the Kendall Trail, according to Schlosnagle.

The Kendall Trail, which begins on Morris Avenue, is about three miles long and, once fully completed, will go into the Sang Run area of Oakland.

“It’s a big benefit for our community,” said Schlosnagle.

The Bikeways Program is an integral part of the proposed Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, an initiative developed and led by Garrett Trails.

The vision for the proposed loop trail is a 150-mile, hard-packed, multi-user trail that runs through the heart of Garrett County and bridges the connections between existing trails and connects to larger trail networks outside the county, according to the Garrett Trails website.

The northern portion of the loop trail leads through Grantsville, eventually connecting with the Great Allegheny Passage in Meyersdale, Pa.

The existing Allegheny Highlands Trail forms a loop at Confluence, Pa., where it can be taken to the southern portion of the loop beginning at Friendsville, according to the trail’s website.

“The benefits of a county-wide recreational trail system are wide-ranging. A comprehensive trail system will enhance the quality of the life within the county and become an indispensable asset,” states the 2003 Garrett County Recreational Trails Plan update.

“Although creating or expanding a trail system can deliver significant economic benefits by itself, communities can do more to capitalize on the economic potential of trails. Trails generate positive economic impacts by delivering additional spending to businesses. As businesses become more productive, new jobs and tax revenue follow.”

Statewide, the Bikeways Program provided 28 winners with $3.13 million in grants to seven counties, Baltimore City and 12 other municipalities, according to the program website.

These projects are the second set of grants awarded through the Bikeways Program, bringing the total to 48 bikeways grant recipients for a total of $5.63 million to date.

The grant was made possible thanks to the assistance of Gov. Martin O’Malley, who facilitated the program; U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and his staff, who are strong proponents of hiking and biking trails; and Garrett Trails, according to Schlosnagle.

“It is a joint effort with everyone working together to make it a reality,” Schlosnagle said.

For more information on the proposed Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, visit the website at www.garretttrails.org.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com

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ARC fronts grant for 10-mile trail project in Garrett County

From Staff Reports Cumberland Times-News

— GRANTSVILLE — A new trail outside of Grantsville will become a reality using a $250,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant, according to U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski.

The 10-mile Meadow Mountain Trail will build on Garrett County’s efforts to expand its outdoor recreation industry, and is projected to have an economic impact of more than $3 million, the senators said.

ARC funds will be used to complete the trail design, construct the trail and improve two trailhead parking areas. The MMT is a key segment of the larger Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, which will be a 150-mile recreational trail winding through the heart of Garrett County.

The MMT segment will begin near Grantsville and the Casselman River Bridge and end near state Route 495 at the University of Maryland’s 4-H Center.

The trail will traverse through public lands and will be accessible to outdoor enthusiasts for hiking, biking, backpacking, trail running, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and educational study.

Job creation and financial impact stems from hikers and bikers stopping for meals and purchasing gear at the many small businesses located near the trail, and staying the night in a nearby trail town.

“Garrett County’s scenic treasures are also economic treasures, drawing thousands of tourists to Maryland each year to enjoy our state’s natural beauty,” said Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The Meadow Mountain Trail will further tourism and small business growth in Garrett County, creating new jobs and new economic opportunities for Western Maryland.”

“This grant is about supporting jobs in Western Maryland,” Mikulski said. “It is a smart investment that will help grow Garrett County’s economy, making an investment that will draw in new visitors, jobs and economic development to the region.”

State sources will provide $316,000, and local sources will provide $48,550, bringing the total project funding to $614,550, the announcement said.

The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of the Appalachian region to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.

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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! I take great pride in referrals, and I assure you, I will take great care of your friends, family & colleagues!

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