Hancock Community Against DNR ORV Trails

Hancock Community Against DNR ORV Trails

"People love this area. They love these mountains. We don't want to see them destroyed."
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. - The Department of Natural Resources plans on adding off road vehicle (ORV) trails in the state. They had a meeting Wednesday night in Hancock to gather public feedback about three proposed sites that many locals call the Gateway to Western Maryland.

Two trails are up for consideration in DNR managed lands of Sideling Hill North and South in Hancock. Each site would add 16 miles of round-trip ORV trails, 32 miles total.

The third trail is proposed in Garrett County on the Savage River State Forest by St. John's Rock-Red Dog Road. That trail would add 14 miles of round-trip ORV trails.

Director Paul Peditto with the Maryland DNR says,"The sites would have high level of enforcement. It would be subject to a reservation system with a limited number of riders per day, so it wouldn't be open 365 (days), it would only be open when there are no hunting seasons occurring at the same time."

Hundreds of community members have concerns about the proposed trails. They came out by the masses to voice their opposition to the DNR.

"This is just an absolute incursion on the relationship that the people have here," says Jim Nichols who lives on Sideling Hill. "People love this area. They love these mountains. We don't want to see them destroyed."

Locals raised additional concerns about endangered plant species, animals, erosion, noise levels, and even the potential for a higher number of 911 calls.

"There are literally millions of miles of off road vehicle trails in this country and in North America that are managed sustainably, managed effectively and well regulated," says Peditto. "We've never done that. We've never built a trail from scratch."

The DNR says they'll be accepting additional public feedback until October 4th through email or hard copy:

    Jack Perdue
    Maryland DNR
    Tawes State Office Building, E-1
    580 Taylor Avenue
    Annapolis, MD 21401

    Or by email to: jperdue@dnr.state.md.us
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