News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Announces Results Of Off-Road Vehicle Trail Studies

Annapolis, Md. (March 22, 2011) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has concluded three studies on the environmental impact of trails on State-owned lands and will solicit comments at a meeting tomorrow, March 23, from stakeholders and off-road vehicle (ORV) enthusiasts.

“Our primary mission is to properly manage and protect the natural resources on the lands we oversee,” said DNR Secretary John Griffin. “However, we are also very much interested in providing sustainable recreational opportunities on our public lands for a wide spectrum of outdoor experiences.”

DNR will meet with stakeholders and ORV enthusiasts to start a dialogue, and along with the department’s findings, take the actions necessary to close or reconfigure trails, as well as identify possible new trail opportunities. The results of the studies and the meeting dialogue will have a direct impact on the future use of ORV trails on DNR lands. The meeting will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 23 in the Gwynnbrook Wildlife Management Area’s NRP conference room, 3740 Gwynnbrook Avenue in Owings Mills.

This report is available for review and to make comments at http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/forests/orvreport.asp. The comment period will end on April 30, 2011.

DNR provides trails for ORVs in Garrett, Potomac, Green Ridge, Savage River and Pocomoke State Forests. An ORV is defined as a motorized vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swampland or other natural terrain. Off-road vehicles include a four-wheel drive or low pressure tire vehicle; an automobile; a truck; a motorcycle and related two-wheel vehicles; an amphibious machine; a ground effect or air cushion vehicle; a snowmobile; and a golf cart.

The three reports documenting environmental concerns included a Statewide Off-Road Vehicle Trail study conducted by DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service, a High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) study performed by DNR’s Forest Service, and a study of the impacts to eastern brook trout from the Poplar Lick ORV Trail performed by DNR’s Fisheries Service.

“We conducted a very rigorous review of these trails via the HCVF assessment,” said Steven W. Koehn, director of the DNR-Forest Service and State Forester, who oversees the management of State Forest lands where trails are located.

The Statewide Off-Road Vehicle Trail Assessment indicates there may be potential opportunities for designating new trails on DNR lands.

“The assessment provides a starting point for dialogue with ORV trail users to explore possible options for future Off-Road Trail sites,” said Paul Peditto, director of DNR-Wildlife and Heritage Service.

Off-road vehicle trails were first authorized to be established on DNR lands by the Legislature in Maryland in 1974 and DNR designated the trail locations in 1976. No additional trails have been designated on DNR lands since that time.


   March 22, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov