Dan's Mountain WMA, located in western Allegany County, includes the largest contiguous state-owned forest in Maryland. The steep ridges of the mountain, ranging from 900 to 2,800 feet, yield a breathtaking view of the North Branch of the Potomac River and its forested valley. Approximately 98% of this 9,783-acre tract is dominated by mixed oak forest in various age classes.
Dans Mountain is prime habitat for many species of songbirds that only nest in forests. These birds, like the scarlet tanager, yellow-throated vireo and ovenbird, use the shelter of dense woods to protect their eggs and young. In the spring and summer, the forest is filled with bright flashes of color as the birds fly from tree to tree, singing out their territorial claims. The Audubon Society has designated Dan's Mt. a State Significant Bird Area. In the winter, the tracks of bobcats, black bears or coyotes are frequently seen.
Turkey hunters prize Dans Mountain for its large turkey population. Hunters can also pursue white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse and gray squirrels. Outdoor adventure awaits hikers and all-terrain bicyclists on the many trails and old roads. Edible wild mushrooms are here for the knowledgeable picker. Be aware that the Timber rattlesnake also enjoys this rugged habitat.
Dans Mountain is located between MD Route 220 and MD Route 36 in western Allegany County. Access is limited to Three areas on the East side off of Route 220 and two areas on the West side off of Route 36. From Cumberland, take MD 220 south. Signs along the road indicate access points to the area. To reach the west side of Dans Mountain, take Route 36 south for 6 miles and turn left on Buskirk Hollow Road then right onto Warnick Road or further south on rte 36 to Suger Maple Road and Old Miller Road. For additional information, contact the Billmeyer Wildlife Office at (301) 478-2525.
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This area is a part of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources public land system and is managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The primary mission of the WMA system is to conserve and enhance wildlife populations and their respective habitats as well as to provide public recreational use of the State’s wildlife resources.
Eighty-five percent of the funding for Maryland's state wildlife programs comes from hunting license fees and a federal excise tax on sport hunting devices and ammunition. The federal aid funds are derived from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration (or Pittman-Robertson) Fund, which sportsmen and women have been contributing to since 1937. Each state receives a share of the funds, which is administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; these funds are used for wildlife conservation and hunter education programs, including the management of the WMA system.
Other sources of funds for land acquisition include Program Open Space Funding for Maryland's State and local parks and conservation areas, provided through The Department of Natural Resources' Program Open Space. Established in 1969, Program Open Space symbolizes Maryland's long-term commitment to conserving natural resources while providing exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities.
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