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DNR Trail News

January 2015 – March 2015

Maryland Trails Summit
When: 3/12/2015
Where: Conference Center at the Maritime Institute
692 Maritime Boulevard
Linthicum, MD 21090
Register at: http://www.mrpanet.org/

Maryland’s Environmental Resource and Land Information Network also known as MERLIN is now hosting the official DNR Trail Atlas information, which includes both official DNR and Non-DNR public land trails, DNR water trails, and public water access sites, The Trail Atlas layers hosted within MERLIN reflect the most up-to-date and comprehensive trails data available for the state of Maryland and will continue to receive real-time updates to provide users with the most accurate and complete trails information. This online resource can be used by both planners and non-planners alike to make customized maps for recreational or planning purposes. The large amount of spatial data available through MERLIN makes this an especially useful tool for recreation planning. Check out the MERLIN website at: http://www.mdmerlin.net/

DNR Now Offering Free Downloadable PDF Maps Online Trail Guides for Maryland State Parks – A new online trail guide mapping initiative is currently underway at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). State park and other natural resource visitors now have more options when accessing trail guides.
Previously, trail guides were only available for purchase through the DNR online store or at individual park offices. Now trail guides may also be viewed online, printed from home, or downloaded in digital format at no cost to the user.

The new format of the trail guide allows visitors easier access to trail information, better options in trip planning or hiking, and increased safety through accurate up-to-date conditions of trails.

While the initiative is underway it will be some time before all parks and other resource areas have the new guides available. The list below highlights parks currently offering the new trail guide.

The new trail guides are being offered as Geo-referenced Portable Document Format Maps or PDF Maps. These maps can be used on any electronic device with the free Adobe Reader software.

Geo-referenced PDF’s have all the same features as a standard PDF but they now allow visitors the ability to use proven 3rd party applications that increase the functionality of the trail guide. For more information see below.


Free Apps Allow Visitors More Opportunities with Online Trail Guides
Newly released applications (apps) for both IOS and Android devices allow visitors the opportunity to enjoy interactive features using the new online trail guides.
Apps like “PDF Maps” released by Avenza Systems Inc. allow visitors to easily download, browse, navigate and interact with the new geo-referenced PDF trail guides in both an online and offline environment. This means that visitors can utilize this application and trail guide even when not connected to the internet.

For more information on installing and using this application visit: www.avenza.com/pdf-Maps

Click here to view DNR's New Online Trail Guides

To access the new trail guides follow these instructions:

  1. First, visit the DNR Homepage and click on the parks tab located at the top of page. DNR Homepage located here: http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/
  2. Next, from the pull down menu on the right select the park you are interested in and click view park brochure.
  3. Under the info tab on the right you should be able to locate the new trail guide.
  4. Once you have accessed the trail guide you can view, print, or download the map at no cost.
  5. If you would like to use the PDF Maps App, You must first download the app to a phone and upload a copy of the trail guide to the app. For clarification see below.

For those individuals who have downloaded the app or wish to use the “PDF Maps” app and take advantage of interactive mapping features, it is important to know that at the present time trail guides are only available via park websites and cannot be accessed through the Avenza Map Store. This means that to download the map to the app users will have to use the “From the web” option when adding maps and enter the address of the online PDF or alternatively store a copy of the downloaded map to a site like Dropbox or ITunes File sharing for uploading to the app. In the future our hope is to make maps available through the Avenza Map store but currently we are not offering this option. We appreciate your patience while we complete the new trail guides and encourage comments and feedback as we continue to refine the product.

We encourage visitors to download and use the new trail guide, or if you have already done so, then feedback and comments are welcome. They may be e-mailed to Rodney Vese Jr. at: rodney.vese@maryland.gov

ORV Registration Update – Off-road vehicles must be registered annually with DNR and display a registration sticker.

Snowmobile and other ORV riders may purchase their off-road vehicle (ORV) permit online at compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal. The ORV permit is effective immediately and may be printed by the customer to carry with them while riding. The official permit decal will arrive in the mail shortly thereafter and must be affixed to the ORV. Registration stickers are also available from any DNR Regional Service Center. Trail maps are available at the State Forest office where ORV use is permitted.

Wildlands – Please take the opportunity to try and learn more about Maryland's Willdlands Preservation System by visiting:



DNR Trails Committee – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) finished updating the state’s Land Preservation & Recreation Plan (LPRP) in December 2013, and the plan was approved by National Park Service by February 2014. As part of this year-long planning process, DNR appointed a DNR Trails Committee to ensure that the Maryland LPRP includes a trails section.

The 2014 Maryland LPRP establishes a 5-year vision for land preservation and recreation, and is based on input received from our land managers, local government, and the public and advisory groups like this committee. For the very first time, the Maryland LPRP  contains a separate trails section that addresses the needs of motorized and non-motorized user groups. The Maryland LPRP will provide guidance and investment strategies to support the many needs of the state's trail users as part of Maryland’s state-wide network.

The Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan can be found online at: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/land/Stewardship/LPRP_2014-2018.asp

Special thanks goes out to the DNR Trails Committee which included 15 people representing a broad range of perspectives, priorities and expertise related to trails.

Specific items that the DNR Trails Committee were asked to review and provide input on included:

  • Reviewing the responses to the Statewide Recreation survey;
  • Conducting a trails needs assessment from each user group;
  • Providing input on Plan goals and objectives;
  • Discussing how to prioritize trail investments;
  • Submitting a list of trail recommendations for the LPRP.


Dr. Virginia Busby – Water Trails
Laura Collard - Education - Maryland Association for Environmental
and Outdoor Education (MAEOE)
Dave Ferraro - Mountain Biking - Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts
Ronnie Gathers - County Recreation & Parks – Maryland
Recreation & Parks Association (MRPA)
Steve Green - Bike Business - High Mountain Sports
Dan Hudson - Sustainable Trails - International Mountain Bike
Association (IMBA)
Richard Hughes - Heritage Areas - Maryland Heritage Area
Ken Kyler - ORV’s - Mid-Atlantic Four Wheel Drive Association
Ellen Moyer- Local Government - Former Mayor of Annapolis
Ronald MacNab - Equestrian - Trail Riders of Today (TROT)
Rico Newman - Native American Trails - Maryland Indian Tourism
Mike O'Connor - Hiking - Mountain Club of Maryland
Carol Sildorf - Road Biking & Advocacy - Bike Maryland
John Wetmore - ADA - Perils for Pedestrians
Elizabeth Wyble – Friends of Groups – Friends of Anne Arundel Trails

Geologic Map Released for Westernmost Counties – The map will guide decisions on best use of landscape - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has created a new geological map for Garrett, Allegany and western Washington counties, that will not only provide information on the region’s geology, but guide decisions about the wise use of its landscape and natural resources.

DNR Geological Survey members David K. Brezinski and Robert Conkwright developed the Geological Map of Garrett, Allegany and western Washington Counties in Maryland - the first comprehensive geologic map for this region published in more than 50 years. The map covers the westernmost counties of the State, providing a current look at how bedrock units and major surface deposits are distributed.

As residential, commercial and recreational development increases in the western portion of the State, and with the potential for the Marcellus Shale to serve as a natural gas resource, the updated map will serve as a land management tool, helping decision-makers balance the impact of human activity with the preservation of natural resources.

The map includes short descriptions of geologic units and a cross section showing their distribution under the earth’s surface. Among other uses, the map will provide users with a better understanding of the distribution, depths and thickness of Marcellus Shale. This map will be especially useful in showing the interplay between geologic formations and groundwater availability and quality.

The map updates geologic information to be consistent with neighboring states, redefines boundaries between formations from the previous maps, and updates the subsurface cross section based on new review of geologic cores and geophysical logs. The geologic information is available to users in a modern Geographic Information System format, and as a printable map at www.mgs.md.gov/geo/wmdgeomap.html.

DNR Trail Atlas – DNR is updating the Trail Atlas on our website. The Trails Atlas shows all of the trails - federal, state, county and municipal - in the state. Click here for Trails Atlas.

You can also find out  several other interactive trail maps starting  with http://www.mdmerlin.net/.

An interactive map is a map that you can drill into at ever-greater detail with your mouse. This will be an on-going effort that will eventually include non-state trails. The trail atlas will provide a link to each DNR land unit webpage, and the MDOT/SHA map, showing on-road connections and levels of service for each state road. It will also provide a link to the Tourism's website at http://visitmaryland.org/Pages/MarylandHome.aspx showing tourist-related information, and the visitmaryland map at http://visitmaryland.org/map/Pages/Maryland.aspx

SHA, MDOT and DNR have agreed to continue making their map data available to one another as needed. SHA is also beginning to develop a standard template for attribute fields and symbology. State agencies will be working together on these mapping efforts so that our maps are consistent.

DNR is working closely with each county in Maryland to incorporate their GIS trail data into the Maryland Trail Atlas. This will be an on-going effort.

DNR is also working with the Maryland State Highway Administration to include a GIS map overlay of safe on-road routes throughout the state. Additional map overlays will include GIS information on access for the physically challenged and Native American trails.

Get Social with DNR! – The advent of social media has presented DNR with the opportunity to reach stakeholders in an unmediated setting. We have developed a hub & spoke business model at DNR with an overall umbrella account based in communications devoted to sharing your information, calls to action or good works.


DNR’s Interactive Newsroom – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Office of Communication offers the AccessDNR Newsroom - a more interactive, user-friendly way for DNR to share its latest news and happenings with the public and members of the media.

“The internet and social media have opened the stream of information directly to our customers and stakeholders,” said Karis King, DNR senior communication manager. “Through this new format, we’re going to make it easier - and more importantly, faster - for the public to get critical information directly from our scientific experts, resource managers and policy makers.”

The new format will allow anyone to sign up for email alerts and RSS feeds, and allows users to easily find their way through news, videos and social media. Users will be able to share news posts with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers with the simple click of a button.

“Social media is quickly becoming an alternative outlet for the public to consume news,” said Lori Livingston, DNR social media manager. “The newly designed newsroom will give our followers the opportunity to learn, share and discuss what’s going on in the department with others.”

As news has broken away from the cycle system and developed into a constant flow, 24 hours a day, DNR is also moving towards a daily posting cycle. DNR will post news as it breaks, allowing readers the fastest access to what is happening in the department. These updates can be easily accessed from a computer, tablet or Smartphone. To check out the newsroom or to sign up to receive RSS feeds, citizens may visit http://news.maryland.gov/dnr

Rocky Gap Accessibility Grant – The Maryland Department of Disabilities, through its Access Maryland Program, has awarded the Maryland Department of Natural Resources $541,500 to create more accessible campsites and pathways at Rocky Gap State Park. Funding will be used to:

  • improve accessibility within the amphitheatre seating area;
  • repave and improve curb-cuts and pathways;
  • increase accessible parking spaces within existing parking lots; and
    add accessible features to four cabin facilities;
  • repave and expand nine loops of pathways to connect accessible cabins,
    campsites and shower buildings;

The design phase will begin shortly, with the entire project scheduled for completion by the end of 2014. Rocky Gap was chosen to receive assistance following evaluation conducted through the DNR Transition Plan, which continually assesses the Department’s public lands, facilities, and services. Park Manager Mary Ironside and her staff, and DNR Engineering and Construction Western Regional Engineer, Michelle hurt, were fundamental in getting the project funded through their hard work and technical expertise.

To comply with federal law, Maryland requires that all programs, activities, and services of State and local governments be accessible to people with disabilities. Including the Rocky Gap grant, the program provided a total of $1.6 million to nine different State-owned facilities and properties for accessibility improvements during Fiscal Year 2014.

The funding for Rocky Gap State Park ADA-upgrades was made possible through the joint efforts of the DNR Office of Fair Practices, Disabilities Advisory Council, and Engineering and Construction units, and the Maryland Department of Disabilities Access Maryland Program. For more information on this or other ADA projects, please contact Richard W. Allen of DNR’s Office of Fair Practices at (410) 260-8058.

Access State-Wide Data in the New Statistical Handbook – The 2011 Maryland Statistical Handbook is a Maryland Department of Planning Publication that will be of use to anyone who needs information about immigration, crime statistics, population change and density, and more in Maryland and in each of the state’s jurisdictions. The Handbook is a great resource for seeing plainly which parts of the state are succeeding in different vital areas, and how that has changed over the past year and since 2000. Click here for the Statistical Handbook online.

Economic Analysis of Trails – Trails spell big money!


Casselman River Bridge to Celebrate Bicentennial – (Grantsville, MD) Spanning the Casselman River and supporting 200 years of hooves, boots, sleigh runners, and wheels of every type, the Casselman River Bridge will soon begin its third century on the National Road in Grantsville, Maryland. In celebration of this milestone, the bridge re-opened in late September 2013.

Conowingo Dam – As part of the EXELON’s federal relicensing, DNR is in the process of developing a comprehensive recreational master plan. DNR is also working closely with the Vulcan Materials Company, the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway http://www.hitourtrails.com/ , and the Mason Dixon Trail http://mason-dixontrail.org/ , to develop a trail along the outside perimeter of their property, connecting Havre de Grace and Susquehanna State Park. This trail alignment was recently GPS'd following the existing, blue-blazed Mason-Dixon Trail and will eventually be part of the Lower Susquehanna Greenway.

Emmitsburg Trails – The town of Emmitsburg, in northern Frederick County, is busily creating a stacked loop network of trails on city-owned land at Rainbow Lake. This work is being done in partnership with the Austin Steo and the Trail Conservancy. The Beginner Trail (2.25 miles) is close to completion and the Intermediate Trail (3 miles) is being designed. An Advanced Trail (3 miles) will be completed in the future (2015-2016), along with the Town Connector Trail (4-5 miles) that will provide easy access to hot showers, clean public restrooms, restaurants, bars and the Emmitsburg Community Pool. Mount Saint Mary’s University is also a partner in the process and has created a trail program. In time, the University may open much of its mountain property to trails, adding the potential for at least 5-6 more miles of single-track.

Contact: Commissioner Tim O’Donnell at (301) 447-3839 or todonnell@emmitsburgmd.gov

Federalsburg – Staff from various state departments met with Federalsburg Mayor Beall to discuss the town’s goal of creating a recreational destination by developing water trails, water trail guides, mountain bike trails, and on-road bicycle loop trails. Recent DNR funding for Federalsburg has included: Community Parks & Playgrounds (2008-2014 - $321,736) and Waterway Improvement projects (1998-2012 - $312,418) . There were no Local Side POS projects for the Town since 2007. However, the County used approximately $498,000 in Local Side POS funding for the development of South County Regional Park and $15,000 for tennis court renovations at the High School – both located in Federalsburg. DNR is working with other state agencies regarding the creation of a Marshy Hope Water Trail Guide and an on-road bicycle loop trail.

Off Road Vehicles (ORV’s) – DNR and the ORV Advisory Committee continue to explore potential sites on public & private lands that could be developed for ORVís. DNR has allocated funding for the design of the St. Johnís Rock/Red Dog Road ORV Trail. In addition, DNR held several public meetings to obtain comments on a proposal to designate the Sideling Hill North & South trails. After public input, DNR eliminated the Sideling Hill trails from further consideration. DNR is also reaching out to private mine owners in Allegany County regarding the use of their properties as ORV facilities as a part of the reclamation process.


ORV Permits Available at New Locations – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce that off-road vehicle (ORV) permits can now be obtained at three new locations. ORV permits will be available for purchase at Deep Creek Lake and New Germany State.

Patapsco Trails – DNR is working with park managers, and private groups like Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE), to address erosion problems on our park trails and create a Patapsco Trail group that can help regularly maintain park trails.  MORE is leading the Sunday Fun Trail series almost every Sunday in Patapsco State Park.  For more information on how you can learn to build sustainable trails and have fun doing trail work, please check out the MORE website at:  http://www.more-mtb.org/

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail Task Agreement –Under a Task Agreement between DNR and the National Park Service, DNR developed a color GIS map of the trails in each DNR Land unit in Southern Maryland, with a table showing opportunities & constraints for each DNR land unit, and a feasibility analysis for developing an on-road/off-road trail from Chapman State Park to Point Lookout State Park.

DNR Opens All Sensory Trail at Patapsco Valley Sate Park – The first-of-its-kind within a Maryland State Park, this Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-accessible path has items that play on the senses to offer an exciting interactive experience for everyone, including people who are vision or hearing impaired. The trail was created over the summer by youth from the Corps groups, with assistance from DNR, the National Park Service and the Maryland School for the Blind. The youth worked hard to create this special place, along the way learning valuable job skills, gaining an appreciation for nature and seeing firsthand the value of teamwork. Accessible for people of all abilities, the trail features a walking guide rope, aromatic herbs and plants, beautifully painted birdhouses alive with chirps, melodic drums and chimes, and a variety of interesting plants for touching.

PG County Trails – DNR Trails Team is working with PG County Recreation & Parks staff to develop a trail through DNR land (Uhler Farm NRMA) to connect the Bowie Heritage Trail and the WB&A Trail, beginning at Bowie State University.

Stony Run Path – DNR is working with local community leaders and Baltimore City to construct the Stony Run Path in Baltimore City, connecting Gilman School with Wyman Park and the Jones Falls Trail.

North Point Trail –The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has approved $248,160 in reimbursable Maryland Bikeways Program funding for the North Point trail project at North Point State Park. The 6,560-feet crushed stone trail will follow the old trolley line and run from the North Point State Park entrance station to the County-owned Veterans Park near Todd’s Inheritance.

Western Maryland Trails – DNR has allocated $150,000 for the design of a stacked-loop mountain bike trail system at Herrington Manor/Swallow Falls state parks, connector trails from Deep Creek State Park, and ORV trails in Western Maryland. DNR is working with Garrett Trails and our land unit managers to design and build a premiere trail system that will make Western Maryland a regional mountain bike destination and economic generator.

Western Maryland Rail Trail – Read all about it! http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/naturalresource/summer2013/journey.pdf

  1. The Western Maryland Rail Line is owned by the C&O Canal Historic Park (National Park Service) whose Superintendent is Kevin Brandt.
  2. DNR is the lead for the $4.5 million trail funded under the federal Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) that will run from Pearre to Little Orleans (4.5 miles) -- not 15 miles to Paw Paw, WV as originally planned.
  3. Michelle Hurt, DNR Engineering & Construction, is the project manager -- (410) 260-8905.
  4. West Virginia is no longer a partner in the trail project.
  5. The project cost reflects the Indigo Tunnel re-route and the retrofit of two rail bridges.
  6. The Indigo Tunnel is a hibernation site for the Indiana bat, an endangered species.
  7. Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologists have confirmed that bat carcasses collected from a cave near Cumberland on March 5, 2010 were infected with White Nose Syndrome (WNS). In partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, DNR biologists are following strict protocols established by the Northeastern WNS Working Group to close Maryland cave access to all human activity except for approved research.
  8. DNR hired the design firm of A Morton Thomas and 90% Construction drawings will be ready by the end of January 2014.
  9. DNR has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) as required under the TEP. *This program is now called Transportation Alternatives.
  10. DNR has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Park Service regarding Operation & Maintenance and Law Enforcement for the trail.
  11. DNR is currently in the process of obtaining a signage agreement from Garrett County for the crossing of Little Orleans Road.
  12. All of the required environmental permits have been obtained other than Erosion & Sediment, which the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) can not approve until they have seen the final drawings.
  13. DNR plans to advertise the project by June 2015, but that deadline may not be met. If we do not meet that target date, we will have to apply to SHA for an extension -- June at the latest.
  14. If the project is ready to advertise in June 2015, then the Maryland Department of General Services will take 90 days to hire a construction firm. A Notice to Proceed would be sent out in October 2015. Given the extreme weather conditions in Western Maryland, the construction firm would be given one year to complete the project.
  15. The anticipated trail opening -- October 2016.


Protecting the Wild & Scenic Youghiogheny River – Acting on a citizen complaint, Maryland Natural Resources Police officers charged 10 all-terrain vehicle riders Saturday with illegally operating in the Youghiogheny Natural Resources Management Area (NRMA) in Western Maryland.  Officers staked out an area near Youghiogheny Mountain Resort in Oakland at 2 p.m. and issued tickets to 10 riders from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia: David Alan Bateman, 24, Arbutus; Christopher Matthew Bryant, 27, Alexandria, Va.; Kevin Lawrence Eckart, 23, Ellicott City; Bradley Joseph Fowler, 26, Ellicott City; Matthew Thomas Fowler, 23, Ellicott City; Jeffrey Alan Santmyer, 22, Ellicott City; Joshua Joseph Sebrosky, 23, Bethel Park, Pa; William Robert Setzler, 29, Glen Burnie; Brett James Smith, 24, Sykesville; and Jason William Vizzini, 25, Severn.  “This NRMA, managed by the Maryland Park Service, serves as a protective buffer for the Youghiogheny River, the State’s first Wild and Scenic River,” said Col. George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent. “The NRMA designation ensures both the primitive character of the area and water quality. It is important to protect its integrity.”  The Youghiogheny corridor offers a variety of recreational activities, including Class IV and V whitewater rapids during times of high water flow. There are public access points for hiking and catch-and-release fly fishing. The maximum fine for the violation is $500. The riders are scheduled to appear in Garrett District Court on Dec. 11.


Bicycle Friendly Building – DNR recently installed a new bicycle rack in the basement of the Tawes Office Building near the shower facilities as part of the Green Team's Office of Sustainability efforts to achieve Bicycle Friendly Building status. The rack was generously donated by long-time bicycle advocate Bill Kelly of Ellicott City.

For more DNR information, please contact:

Steve Carr
Land Trails Planner
Land Acquisition & Planning
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Avenue, E-4
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 410-260-8478
FAX: 410-260-8404

Let's Get Connected!

Momentum is Building to make Trails in Maryland "Second-to-None."

Office of Governor
Accessible Areas at Maryland State Parks


Steve Carr
Land Trails Planner

Land Acquisition & Planning
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Avenue, E-4
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-260-8478
FAX: 410-260-8404

Lisa Gutierrez
Director, Public Access, Water Trails & Recreation Planning

Maryland Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Avenue, E-2
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-260-8778