Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Towns of Garrett County- Friendsville, Maryland

Located about 10 miles north of Deep Creek Lake, Friendsville, Maryland is known for its rich history and adventurous outdoor sports.  Home of the first settlement in Garrett County, the town now consists of 500 residents.

Friendsville residents have many sources of entertainment such as the Kendall Trail and the Friendsville Community Park. Just above the Yough Dam, the stretch of the Youghiogheny River in Friendsville is perfect for whitewater activities. When is the best time to visit Friendsville? The Friendsville Days  summer celebration at the end of July! For more information, please visit http://www.friendsville-md.org/.

FUN FACT: Although the citizens of Friendsville are quite friendly, the town is actually named for John Friend Sr., one of the first settlers that bought the tract of land from Native Americans in 1765.


Sang Run Shootout – Youghiogheny River – White-water Rafting

This is a really neat video that I found on Facebook about the history of white-water sports (rafting, kayaking, canoeing) in Garrett County & specifically at Sang Run. The state of Maryland designated the Youghiogheny River a ‘wild’ & ‘scenic’ corridor and unhappy landowners and real estate owners took their frustrations out on the boaters…by shooting at them! Great history piece.

The AJ List: The 9 Best Raft Trips In The Lower 48


3. Upper Youghiogheny, Maryland and Pennsylvania

The Upper Yough, cutting through one of the few wilderness canyons in the East, is one of the wildest stretches of river in the U.S.: It starts with a mild section and a few warmup rapids, then boaters hit five miles of continuous rapids up to Class V, 20 in all. The river can only be run during releases from the Deep Creek Dam—of which there are about 60 on the published schedule, April through October.

Much more here.

Wildlands designation proposal elicits concerns

Elaine Blaisdell

Cumberland Times-News

SWANTON — Residents who attended last week’s public hearing on the Maryland Department of Natural Resources possible designation of additional wildlands voiced concerns about it affecting the 150-mile Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, according to Bob Hoffman, president of the Property Owners’ Association of Deep Creek Lake.

The proposed properties in Garrett County total 8,514 acres, 1,600 of which are in the Garrett State Forest, according to John Nelson, county director of Planning and Land Development. The largest wildlands proposed is 3,993 acres of the Youghiogheny River Corridor, Maryland’s only “wild” river.

Garrett Trails and Garrett County Planning have voiced concerns about the wildlands proposal for the Yough. Mike Dreisbach, president of Garrett Trails, told The Baltimore Sun that planners hope to extend a trail along the river or at least improve a short trail near Friendsville that follows an old rail bed.

“We’re not pushing to make it into an interstate highway or anything,” Dreisbach said. “The more people that get to see it (river), the more people will want to protect it.”

The Garrett County Planning Commission doesn’t agree with the wildlands proposal for the Yough corridor because it will prohibit new trail development in that area, according to Nelson.

“The planning commission felt that is was important to continue to allow the Eastern Continental Divide Loop trail to progress,” said Nelson during a Nov. 5 county commission meeting. “It sounds as though the department is digging their heels in and will not be willing to allow or negotiate further advancement of trails in the Youghiogheny corridor. They are going to place that trail somewhere out of the viewshed (on the ridgeline) of the corridor.”

In response to Garrett Trails concerns, DNR noted that bicycles are currently used on the trail from Friendsville to Kendall Camp, an old logging community, according to County Commissioner Jim Raley.

“The department will consider recommending the continuation of the existing use. Those are words I don’t like. I kind of call those weasel words because they are the kid words that we can always get out of,” said Raley during the commission meeting.

Jess Whittemore, Friendsville councilman, noted on the Garrett Trails Facebook page that the wildlands designation would stop bicycling on the Kendall trail from Friendsville south along the river. Under state law, motor vehicles and “mechanical transport,” which includes bicycles, are not permitted on wildlands.

The department uses the county’s master plan, which states that the county will work with the state to address concerns about the integrity of a section of the Yough River from Friendsville to Oakland, to make its case regarding the wildlands designation.

“I don’t know if our intent means that is a hands off, foots off, total off but that’s what they are doing using our words out of our plan to, in essence, try to make their case,” said Raley. “On any given whim they (the state) can change the rules. I’m deeply concerned at this land graph.”

Residents have also voiced concerns about trees being destroyed by gypsy moths in the state forest, where treatments are not applied, and are also concerned about the moths destroying trees located on their property, according to Raley.

“We have worked well with the departments but if they are going to dig their feet in maybe it’s time we dig our feet in a little bit, too,” said Raley. “This could be very detrimental to overall economics of the county and the utilization of these lands that we, the citizens of Maryland, own.”

The Property Owners’ Association isn’t planning on stating a position regarding the wildlands proposal, according to Hoffman.

“While protecting this land already owned by the state sounds like the right thing to do, and for many it is, there are restrictions on use of the land that come with the designation as wildlands,” wrote Hoffman in an email. “For the most part, this designation means most people will only be able to access the land on foot — no bicycle or motorized traffic.”

Wildlands are state-owned natural areas preserved for their wilderness character or sensitive natural resources.

The DNR is accepting public comments on the wildlands proposal until Dec. 9. Comments can be made via email to Wildlands@dnr.state.md.us, or by mail to: Wildlands Comments; Attention Rich Norling; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; 580 Taylor Ave., C4; Annapolis, MD 21401.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

More here.



Upper Youghiogheny, Maryland. Photo: Curtis Heishman
The Yough is less of a river than it is a creek. The 10-mile stretch of whitewater is narrow and rocky, and drops anywhere between 50 and 140 feet per minute. Youghiogheny is an Algonquin word that means stream flowing in the wrong direction, and running it takes a lot of fast thinking and reading water on the fly. The major rapids, like Class IV+ Meat Cleaver and National Falls, all have must-make moves, and the whitewater rarely lets up. You’ll likely spend a lot of time in eddys catching your breath. Commercial outfitters run small rafts with just four people in them, because it’s impossible to navigate a bigger boat through the drops and chutes. The Upper Yough releases Friday, Monday, and the first Saturday of the month, through October; if you’re looking for an extra thrill, Pennsylvania State Parks opens up Ohiopyle Falls, just above the lower stretch, for a few weeks every year in late August and early September. For boaters who aren’t up to the Class V section, the Lower Youghiogheny is the most popular Class III run east of the Mississippi.

More here.

Yough River Watershed Board Votes To Support Gas Drilling Moratorium

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Jan. 6, 2011

The Youghiogheny River Watershed Association board, at its monthly meeting on Tuesday, unanimously adopted a position supporting a moratorium on Marcellus gas drilling in Maryland “until additional information is obtained and actions have been taken,” according to board chair James “Smokey” Stanton.
Stanton said that the board members believe there is “insufficient information about the impact of Marcellus drilling, and believe development of this resource should be delayed.”

He said that their concerns are “on several fronts,” including the effect that the practice may have on air quality, ground water quality, surface water, water appropriations, transport, discharge, and disposal of fracking water, geologic information, and adoption of state and local regulations including, but not limited to, bonding, permitting, and monitoring.

He said that the board believes baseline information must be obtained in order to better understand the positive and negative effects of drilling over time.

“We do not oppose eventual drilling in the watershed and in Garrett County,” he said, “but we believe there must be protections, accountabilities, and oversight in place before development is allowed.”

He said that the board supports the various educational efforts that are ongoing and spearheaded by the Garrett County commissioners’ Marcellus gas advisory committee, the University of Maryland Extension, and other watershed associations and groups.

Noting that the Yough-iogheny River Watershed encompasses approximately two-thirds of Garrett County, Stanton said that the board encourages each member of the YRWA to: immediately communicate their concerns about Marcellus shale gas drilling to the Garrett County commissioners; to attend and support moratorium legislation at the Garrett County Delegation pre-legislative meeting with Sen. George Edwards and Del. Wendell Beitzel this Saturday, Jan. 8, at Garrett College; and to attend the various upcoming public education programs on this topic.

Read the rest here.

If you are thinking of 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! 877-563-5350

Deep Creek Do It All specializes in cleaning services in Garrett County & @ Deep Creek Lake. Give them a call (301-501-0217) or visit the website – competitive rates and quality results from a locally owned & operated company!

Youghiogheny corridor is a treasure for all

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News Fri Sep 24, 2010, 08:00 AM EDT

— In regard to the recent article by Times-News reporter Megan Miller titled “Whitewater Woes in Friendsville,” I would like to point out some missed points in both the original article and the response by Matt Ackerman.

First of all, I am a resident of Winchester, Va., but have a vacation home in Garrett County primarily due its proximity to whitewater recreation. This area (Western Maryland, northern West Virginia and western Pennsylvania) is known not only nationwide, but also worldwide as one of the most desirable locations to visit and live for whitewater enthusiasts. With the variety of rivers from the mild Middle Youghigheney to the technical Blackwater to the challenging Upper Youghiogheney to the powerful Cheat to the great training grounds of ASCI (Adventure Sport Center International) this area has rivers and training facilities for every type paddler and should embrace the tourism or other areas such as central West Virginia or western North Carolina will claim those dollars.

I understand the frustration of the few bad apples who cause problems in town and have personally called out several on occasion. Undressing in a small town is simply unacceptable, especially when Wilderness Voyagers allows free use of their changing rooms at the take-out. In addition, trespassing and not respecting the locals’ property is just plain stupid. Again, these actions are taken by a very small minority.

When you look at the demographics of those kayaking the Upper Yough, it becomes very clear that this is an older, more experienced crowd than you will find on many other rivers. With older paddlers comes, in most instances, higher income and the ability to have a greater positive impact on the local economy. Many of these boaters also bring their families and rent, or buy, local cabins in the Deep Creek area so the kids can play while Mom and Dad do as well.

Focusing in on the economic impact of the rafting companies, Vernon Sines states that local businesses do not see an economic impact and that outfitters do not buy from local stores. This is simply not true. Does he think that the rafting companies (Roger at Precision Rafting for instance … himself a local resident) go out of their way to buy all of their supplies from far away locations? No, they buy groceries where he buys his groceries.

I do agree, however, that Garrett County should split the $20,000 amusement tax with Friendsville at the very least. The only negative impact the boating has on Garrett County would be an increase in road use from the put-in to the take-out.

The boater put-in is entirely funded and maintained by American Whitewater and is in no way affiliated with or funded by Garrett County. Friendsville, on the other hand, has to absorb all of the cars, traffic and hassle with the only impact being their smaller amount paid — it must be pointed out — on a voluntary basis from the outfitters (rafting companies).

Therefore, the real focus for Friendsville should be on obtaining a large portion, if not all, of the Garrett County amusement tax instead of looking the gift horse of whitewater recreation in the mouth. The Yough corridor is a treasure for fishermen, boaters, hikers (the train leading up the river from Friendsville would be an awesome rails to trails project!), and hunters.

Let’s all work together to make Friendsville not only a great place to live for the full-time residents, but also a world renowned place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts.

Mark Hoyle

Oakland and

Winchester, Va.

If you are thinking of 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! 877-563-5350

Deep Creek Do It All specializes in cleaning services in Garrett County & @ Deep Creek Lake. Give them a call (301-501-0217) or visit the website – competitive rates and quality results from a locally owned & operated company!

Melting Snow, Rainfall Could Cause Flooding

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(Jay’s note: I took this pic of the Youghiogheny River yesterday, and Oakland had already started placing ‘High Water’ signs at certain points that were starting to flood. I think it’s important enough to read these flood warnings just in case)

Melting Snow, Rainfall Could Cause Flooding

Mar. 11, 2010

Because of the unusually high amount of snow that has fallen this winter, flooding is expected in the area in the days ahead.
“Residents should prepare now for possible future floods,” said Director Brad Frantz, Garrett County Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management.

Garrett County government, Public Safety, and public roads officials, in conjunction with Allegany County and Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), have been taking appropriate steps to minimize the effects of flooding. That includes organizing damage assessment teams ready to be deployed to assess public infrastructure and individual residential and business damages; preparing shelters for evacuation areas, clearing drainage areas, pre-staging swift-water rescue teams; and declaring a local state of emergency in order to acquire outside resources.

Frantz offered the following steps that residents can take in advance to prepare for floods:

•Make sure your insurance policy covers flooding. Even renters are eligible for flood insurance. For more information, you can contact a local insurance agent.

•Move furniture and valuables to higher floors as floodwaters rise.

•Keep your car’s gas tank filled in case you need to evacuate.

Follow the instructions given by emergency officials. If told to evacuate, do so.

Listen to radio or television for information, and have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio with a warning alarm tone and battery-back-up to receive warnings. You may also receive telephone messages from Garrett County’s reverse 9-1-1 system, which will give you specific instructions.

A flash flood or flood watch means that flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area. Citizens are advised to be alert.

A flash flood or flood warning means that flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent and citizens are advised to take necessary precautions at once.

An urban and small stream advisory means that flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.

If you receive a flash flood warning, you may have only seconds to take the following actions:

•Get out of the area subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, and washes.

•Avoid already flooded and high or rapidly flowing areas. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams.

•If driving, be aware that the road bed may not be intact under flood waters. Turn around and go another way; never drive through flooded roadways.

•If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away. Remember, it is better to be wet than dead.

•Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.

•Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening weather conditions.

•If you come to a flowing stream where water is above your ankles. Stop, turn around, and go another way.

•To report damage from flooding, you may call the Garrett County Public Safety 24-hr. hotline at 301-334-4444.

For more information about flooding, a joint publication of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross is available. For a free copy of “Repairing Your Flooded Home,” you can write FEMA Publications, P.O. Box 70274, Washington, D.C., 20024, or call 1-800-480-2520.

Additional information can be found on MEMA’s web site at mema.state.md.-us/MEMA/content_page.-jsp?TOPICID=floods or at www.floodsmart.gov.

If you are thinking of 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! 877-563-5350

BPW Approves Preservation Of Forests Along Youghiogheny River Corridor

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Gov. Martin O’Malley recently announced the Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of the acquisition of a 41-acre parcel in Youghiogheny Corridor in Garrett County. This property will provide a connecting point between the Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River Corridor and the state-owned property of Deep Creek Lake at the dam.
“We are pleased to provide visitors much needed additional public access to the Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River Corridor, a very popular location for fishing, whitewater kayaking, and hiking for Maryland families and visitors,” said Governor O’Malley. “The shortage of access points along the river corridor presents challenges for public entry and recreation, complicates important maintenance tasks, and impedes progress of rescue teams and emergency vehicles.”

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If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Long & Foster Real Estate for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350