Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

County Commissioners Announce Public Meeting Agenda

Monday, October 2, 2023
Agenda Session Times are Approximate

Meeting will also be Live Streamed at https://www.facebook.com/garrettcountygovernment/
Agenda Session Times are Approximate

The Board of County Commissioners may close a portion of this public meeting and move into Executive Session to comply with a specific constitutional, statutory, or judicial requirement that may prevent public disclosure about a particular proceeding or matter.

*To comment on agenda items – please send to comments@garrettcounty.org

3:00        Administrative Session

  • Discussion – Letter from Garrett County Planning Commission requesting amendment to the Deep Creek Watershed Zoning Ordinance prohibiting the use of shipping containers as dwelling units
  • Board Appointments
  1. Garrett County Health Planning Council – 2 Members – Three Year Terms
  2. Garrett County Mental Health Advisory Council – 1 replacement
  3. Garrett County Police Accountability Board – 1 member – Three Year Term
  • Mr. Null will review a number of administrative and managerial matters under his authority and jurisdiction with the Board of County Commissioners

4:00       Call to Order of Public Session, Invocation, and Pledge of Allegiance

               County Administrator – Additions/Deletions to Public Meeting Agenda

               Approval of Public, Administrative, and Executive Meeting Minutes

4:05       Proclamations:  I Can Swim Month – October 2023
                                       National Digital Inclusion Week – October 2-6, 2023

4:10        Recognition – Sunrise Sanitation – 45th Anniversary

4:15        Garrett County Department of Financial Services – Purchasing Division

  • Contract Award – Request for Proposal #23–0815 – Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Reports Chestnut Ridge & Jennings Sewer Collection System

4:20       Public Commentary

4:25       John H. Frank – Recognition of Director Frank’s Retirement

Adjournment of Public Session

Public Issues or concerns that are to be presented to the Board of Garrett County Commissioners during any Public Meeting should be scheduled with Carol A. Riley–Alexander, Executive Assistant to the Board of County Commissioners/County Administrator.     

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners next scheduled Public Meeting will be Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at the Garrett County Courthouse beginning at 4:00 PM.

Habitat for Humanity Auction Raises Nearly $30,000: 40 Years of Building Hope

In a heartwarming celebration of community spirit and dedication, the Garrett County Habitat for Humanity Dinner/Auction recently marked its 40th year of service. Held at Brodak’s Event Hall, this special event managed to raise nearly $30,000, all of which will be channeled into their new home construction campaign. Steve Bortz, the organization’s executive director, expressed his gratitude, saying, “Many thanks to all the businesses and individuals who donated items and experiences for the event and also those in attendance for spirited and fun bidding.”

The evening was not only about fundraising but also about honoring the roots of Garrett County Habitat for Humanity. Three founding members, Duane Yoder, Ida Maust, and Ginny Grove, were present and received plaques in recognition of their dedicated service. Though Shirley Brandes was unable to attend, her contributions were acknowledged as well.

Garrett County Habitat for Humanity traces its beginnings to a small group of local friends and neighbors who shared a common vision. Steve Bortz reflected on these humble origins, noting, “Garrett County Habitat started from humble beginnings with a grassroots group of local friends and neighbors before anyone would or could call them a board of directors.” In November of 1983, Duane Yoder drafted the official Articles of Incorporation, which continue to guide the organization to this day.

The first house constructed by Habitat for Humanity in Garrett County was built to replace an existing home on family-owned land. This project was undertaken without a substantial budget, highlighting the organization’s commitment to making a positive impact on the community. Ginny Grove, one of the founding members, shared, “There was no running water in their current home, no insulation, and the toilet facilities were out in the back.” Shirley Brandes, another founding member, added, “In building these homes, we all found out we were changing the lives of the families we were trying to serve, but we were also changing all our lives in the process.”

Over the course of four decades, Garrett County Habitat for Humanity has come a long way. Today’s homes are far more modern, and the organization has even embarked on complete neighborhood development projects. However, the essence of their mission remains unchanged: assisting hardworking families in need and maintaining unwavering faith in their cause.

This year, the organization proudly broke ground on its 85th new home in the county. As Steve Bortz aptly put it, “A lot has changed over the years, and a lot also hasn’t. Today’s homes are far more modern, and GC Habitat has even constructed a complete neighborhood development. However, they still help the hardworking families in need, and they still have faith.”

The Garrett County Habitat for Humanity Dinner/Auction serves as a powerful reminder that even the most ambitious dreams can take root in the most humble beginnings. With the support of the community, the organization has managed to transform lives, one home at a time, for four decades. As they continue their mission to build hope, one can only imagine the positive impact they will make in the next 40 years and beyond.

Arrowhead Cove Pilot Dredging Project to begin


Garrett County Government and Maryland Environmental Service (MES) have announced a Notice of Intent to Proceed with Byco Enterprises for the Arrowhead Cove Pilot Dredging project.

Arrowhead Cove, at Deep Creek Lake, is selected as a priority area for a pilot dredging project to remove accumulated sediment from the lakebed.

“We are thrilled to see this project begin to take shape,” said Bruce Michael, Garrett County watershed coordinator. “This project will evaluate the pros and cons of dredging within Deep Creek Lake and determine if dredging other sediment-impacted Deep Creek Lake coves is a viable and cost-effective strategy for improving water recreation, water quality, and fish habitat.”

The dredging project at Arrowhead Cove represents a significant investment in the environmental health and future of Deep Creek Lake. Garrett County is committed to preserving the natural beauty and recreational opportunities of this community asset.

For more information about the dredging project at Arrowhead Cove, including project updates and community engagement opportunities, visit ArrowheadCove.GarrettCounty.org.

Contact Bruce Michael, Garrett County Watershed Coordinator, at bmichael@garrettcounty.org or 410-570-4554 for questions or more information.

Oktoberfest comes to the Wisp

Celebrate the autumn season with fall foliage, seasonal beer, harvest festivities, lederhosen, and dirndls. Join us for another Wisp Oktoberfest to enjoy seasonal beer, live music including the Oompah Band, kids’ activities, artisans, authentic German food, and more – PROST!

Oktoberfest Tasting Ticket from $39.00 includes:

  • Tasting wristband (for ages 21+, ID required, beer vendors will only pour to guests with wristbands)
  • Souvenir Oktoberfest 12oz. Beer Stein (must have beer stein for beer vendors to pour)
  • 3 wooden tokens good for: 3- 12 oz. Pours of your choice from over 16+ beer choices

Oktoberfest Schedule

12pm – 6pm: Beer Vendors (while supplies last)Main Stage + McHenry Lodge
12pm – 6pm: Bavarian Food McHenry Lodge
12pm – 3pm: The Remedy Band Main Stage
12pm – 6pm: Artisan Village Lawn + McHenry Lodge
12pm – Kids Krafts (while supplies last) Lawn
1:30pm: Contest Main Stage
3:00pm: Contest Main Stage
3:00pm – 6pm: Oakland Volunteer Fire Dept. Oompah Band Main Stage
4:00pm – Contest Main Stage
5:00pm – Contest Main Stage

Oktoberfest Lodging Package

Starting at $345 pp*

Enjoy a 1 Leaf Peeping Scenic Chairlift Ride, entry into the Oktoberfest event, charcuterie board with Oktoberfest themed finger foods

to go Oktoberfest – Wisp (wispresort.com) to grab tickets!

Maryland’s Foliage makes Top ‘Hidden Gems’ list

Each Fall, images appear online showcasing some of the most stunning examples of foliage. However, many Americans are perhaps unaware of alternative ‘hidden gems’ to see Fall’s foliage.

Mixbook, a #1 rated photo book brand, carried out a survey of 3,000 respondents, asking them which under-the-radar destinations they would most like to visit to see fall foliage this year.

Maryland made the list a whopping three times. Sitting at #20 nationally is MD’s Swallow Falls State Park.

#20 Swallow Falls State Park:

Tucked away from the bustling city, its ancient hemlock and hardwood forests burst into a mesmerizing array of reds, oranges, and yellows during autumn. This off-the-beaten-path sanctuary offers not only stunning waterfalls but also a serene escape to witness the seasonal transformation.

Other locations within the state that were cited were:

#117 Gambrill State Park:

The park’s mix of oak and maple trees burst into a captivating array of red, orange, and gold hues during the autumn months, creating a picturesque contrast against the rolling hills and panoramic vistas. Its relatively undiscovered status ensures a more peaceful and authentic encounter with the changing leaves, making it an ideal destination to relish the stunning colors of fall while hiking its trails.

#150 Green Ridge State Forest:

Its vast expanse of diverse deciduous trees, from maple and oak to hickory and birch, erupts into a symphony of vibrant hues during autumn. A kaleidoscope of colors against the backdrop of the Allegheny Mountains creates an unforgettable and often overlooked seasonal spectacle.

Fork Run Recreation Area Offers New Accessible Trail

At the Fork Run Recreation Area, located in McHenry, recent work funded by Maryland Department of Natural Resources Local Parks and Playground Program has changed the look and feel of the trail system. A milestone for Garrett County is the highly anticipated “Acorn Loop,” a picturesque 0.65-mile or 3,466 ft trail designed to provide an exceptional outdoor experience for hikers and bikers of all skill levels and abilities.

Recognizing the need for accessible options, Garrett County Government is committed to provide outdoor recreation opportunities to Garrett County residents and visitors alike. The new Acorn Loop trail epitomizes this commitment, offering a wide crushed limestone surface that is free of technical roots and rock obstacles and can be hiked in about 20-minutes.

Starting at an ample parking area, the Acorn Loop is thoughtfully marked for easy navigation. Also, it seamlessly connects to our existing network of more technical routes and back-country exploration areas totaling just over 8 miles.

Additionally, note a realigned Yellow Trail provides a more efficient route to the ledges and rock-climbing face and the Silver Trail has rockwork and alignment enhancements. Maps reflecting the changes are at the trailhead parking lot or online at www.GarrettTrails.org. Plans are also in progress to create a connector trail from the Beige Trail to Adventure Way (at the top of Wisp Mountain) estimated to be completed in Spring of 2024.

As Fork Run Recreation Area continues to evolve, we invite you to join us at the trails. Together, let’s create a welcoming and joyful outdoor environment where everyone can find their own path to adventure.

For more information about Fork Run Recreation Area, the Acorn Loop trail, or upcoming events, please visit www.GarrettTrails.org or contact Siera Wigfield at 301-334-7477 or swigfield@garrettcounty.org.

GC Diversity and Inclusion Committee Meeting Announced

The Garrett County Diversity and Inclusion Committee is having a meeting on Wednesday September 20, 2023 from 3 PM until 4:30 PM at Garrett College in the Offutt STEM Building in Room 211. 

for more information GC Diversity and Inclusion Committee Meeting Announced – Board of Commissioners – Garrett County Government

Maryland Fall Foliage Forecast 2023

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources presents its fall foliage report as the first day of autumn approaches on the 23rd.

As autumn ushers in a boom of vibrant colors across the landscape, it’s a season that captivates our senses. The changing leaves, with their shades of orange, yellow, and red, have long been a subject of fascination and wonder. But what exactly causes this breathtaking transformation?

For years, scientists have dedicated their efforts to unraveling the intricate process behind the mesmerizing autumn foliage. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, three primary factors orchestrate this dazzling display: leaf pigments, the length of night, and the weather. Let’s dive into the science behind this natural spectacle.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources State Forest Manager, Melissa Nash, provides valuable insights into the role of leaf pigments. She explains that during the warm summer months, leaves don a vibrant green hue, courtesy of the chlorophyll pigment. However, hidden beneath this dominant green are pigments like xanthophylls and carotenes, which impart yellow to orange tones to the leaves. These are the same pigments responsible for the vibrant orange color of carrots.

The transition from the lush green of summer to the warm autumnal hues is a result of the interplay between the length of daylight and temperature. As autumn approaches, the days grow shorter, and temperatures begin to drop. These environmental cues signal to the trees that it’s time to prepare for the winter months.

Nash elucidates this process further, stating that as fall takes hold, the changes in daylight duration and decreasing temperatures disrupt the process of photosynthesis. This disruption leads to the breakdown of chlorophyll, causing the green color to fade away, revealing the underlying yellow and orange pigments. Simultaneously, some trees produce pigments called anthocyanins, which contribute to the striking red and purplish hues we associate with autumn.

for more information Maryland Fall Foliage Forecast 2023

Embrace the Beauty of Autumn: Best Fall Activities in Garrett County, MD

As the crisp air of autumn descends upon Garrett County, Maryland, it ushers in a vibrant tapestry of colors and a host of exciting activities. Known for its stunning landscapes, this region transforms into a fall wonderland, drawing visitors from near and far. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a relaxing escape, Garrett County has something special to offer during the fall season. In this article, we’ll explore the best fall activities in Garrett County, MD, to help you make the most of this enchanting time of year.

  1. Leaf Peeping:
    • Garrett County is renowned for its picturesque foliage. Drive along scenic routes like the Garrett Highway and Savage River Road to witness the breathtaking display of red, orange, and gold leaves. Don’t forget your camera!
  2. Hiking and Nature Walks:
    • Lace up your hiking boots and explore the county’s extensive trail network. The Deep Creek Lake State Park offers a variety of trails suitable for all skill levels. Discover hidden waterfalls, serene lakes, and panoramic views.
  3. Pumpkin Picking:
    • Head to a local farm, such as Brant’s Apple Orchard or Double Oak Farms, for a quintessential fall activity: pumpkin picking. Choose the perfect pumpkin for carving or decoration.
  4. Fall Festivals:
    • Garrett County hosts several fall festivals, including the Autumn Glory Festival in Oakland, featuring parades, craft shows, and live entertainment. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the local culture.
  5. Wine Tasting:
    • Savor the flavors of autumn with a visit to a local winery. Several vineyards in the county offer tastings, often with picturesque vineyard views. Deep Creek Cellars and Firefly Farms Creamery & Market are popular options.
  6. Fishing and Boating:
    • Enjoy the serene waters of Deep Creek Lake, a popular spot for fall fishing and boating. Rent a kayak, go fishing, or take a leisurely cruise to soak in the stunning fall scenery.
  7. Corn Mazes and Hayrides:
    • Farms like Cornucopia Farms and Coder’s Farm offer family-friendly activities like corn mazes and hayrides. Get lost in the maze or take a relaxing ride through the countryside.
  8. Photography Expeditions:
    • For photography enthusiasts, Garrett County provides endless opportunities to capture the beauty of fall. Sunrise and sunset shots, misty mornings, and reflections in calm lakes are just a few subjects to explore.
  9. Cozy Cabin Getaways:
    • Embrace the cozy side of fall by booking a cabin in the woods. Garrett County is known for its charming cabins with crackling fireplaces, ideal for snuggling up after a day of adventures.
  10. Apple Picking:
    • Visit local orchards like Kitzmiller Farms and enjoy apple picking. You can also indulge in freshly made apple pies, cider, and other apple treats.

Maryland named America’s third happiest state

In a new study released by WalletHubMaryland was named the third-happiest state in America.

With 50% of Americans saying they are “very satisfied” with the way their personal life is going, the personal finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Happiest States in America, as well as expert commentary.

To determine where Americans have the highest satisfaction with life, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 30 key indicators of happiness. The data set ranges from the depression rate and the share of adults feeling productive to income growth and the unemployment rate.

Happiness in Maryland (1=Happiest; 25=Avg.):

  • 4th – % of Depressed Adults
  • 4th – Suicide Rate
  • 24th – % of Civilian Labor Force Unemployed 15 Weeks or Longer
  • 24th – Number of Work Hours
  • 29th – Volunteer Rate
  • 17th – Separation & Divorce Rate
  • 18th – Safety
  • 22nd – Share of Adults Feeling Active & Productive

Overall rank for Maryland: 3rd

original article Maryland named third happiest state in America, says WalletHub study (fox5dc.com)