The Maryland Park Service reminds all snowmobilers of the potential for unseen safety hazards on Deep Creek Lake, particularly at night. As of this Saturday, Feb. 20, an area of ice will be removed near Uno Chicago Grill along Garrett Highway to create open water for the annual Special Olympics Deep Creek Dunk. This area will remain unsafe for quite some time and will be marked with reflective traffic cones, said a park service spokesperson.
He added that persons should be aware that lake surface conditions under bridges where road salt and abrasives are plowed from the pavement are often particularly hazardous.
“Other conditions that may cause unpleasant situations are unseen snowdrifts or pressure ridges that can act as ramps and cause sleds to become airborne, leading to a loss of control and accidents,” he added.
Deep Creek Lake is a part of the designated ORV trail system, permitting use by registered snowmobiles only. Permits are available by mail or at any of the local state park offices during normal business hours. Snowmobiles may operate at night if equipped with working head and taillights.
Access to the lake may be made at Deep Creek Lake State Park or with permission from a private landowner with a permit site adjacent to the lake.
Ice fishermen, hikers, and cross-country skiers traveling on the lake should also exercise caution. The wearing of or having readily accessible life preservers could prevent a tragedy, said the spokesperson.
“Anyone who encounters people, pets, or wildlife that have fallen through the ice is asked to call either 911 or the toll-free DNR Communications number (1-800-628-9944) for assistance,” he added.
For further information on ice conditions at Deep Creek Lake, persons may telephone a ranger at the park headquarters office, 301-387-5563, or the Discovery Center on weekends at 301-387-7067.