Lying just west of Swallow Falls on the Maryland-West Virginia border is a unique ecosystem that offers window into ice ages past. Because of its location on the western edge of the Appalachian Mountains, the Cranesville Swamp is home to plant and animal species uncommon for the mid-Atlantic region.
About the Cranesville Swamp
The swamp is different due to its “frost pocket effect.” The elevation is lower in a frost pocket, causing cooler temperatures and making that patch of ground particularly susceptible to frost. The combination of moisture and cold air create a landscape more reminiscent of habitat found much further north in Canadian boreal forests. Visitors to the park, managed by the The Nature Conservancy (TNC), are able to glimpse a natural anomaly created by this rare mix of altitude, temperature and precipitation.
A Look at the Past
Over 15,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age, glaciers
froze much of North America and northern
latitude species were pushed southward. The
area that became Cranesville settled in a mountain valley. The surrounding
hills catch cold air pockets and precipitation, pushing them into the valley. The
valley “frost pocket” is responsible for Cranesville’s designation as
a sub-arctic swamp. The preserve one of the coolest and wettest spots in Maryland, creating an
isolated refuge for species normally found much farther north.
Garrett County weather is somewhat legendary. Located in the Allegheny Mountain range of the Appalachians, Garrett County’s microclimate strongly contrasts with Maryland’s otherwise temperate conditions. Dead on the path of Lake Erie’s snow belt, the area is known for its cold winters and steady snow dumps. As much as 200-plus inches has been recorded on Marsh Mountain. In terms of snow days per year, Garrett County can be one of the snowiest areas east of the Rockies and has been know to surpass much of New England in overall snowfall. Throughout the area’s history, the harsh winter weather has played a major role in the lives of my ancestors and myself.
Buying a fixer upper can be a great way to get a property for less than the price of surrounding homes. However, it can be an intimidating undertaking with a lot of unknowns. To avoid unpleasant surprises that drain your wallet, it is key to have it properly evaluated before signing on the dotted line. Choosing the “right” fixer upper makes all the difference. Decide early on how much your budget, and patience, will allow.
Fixer Upper Flaws that Can Break Your Budget
Foundation, structural and roofing issues are just a few items that have a big price tag. Go into the project with open eyes. By partnering with a knowledgeable agent, you will have access to experts who can properly assess the property.
Additionally, replacing major systems like heating, ventilation and air conditioning can be costly. Issues like mold can be resolved but can also come back over time.
Consider the Location & Layout
Evaluate the potential of the fixer upper you are looking at. One of the most important factors is location. It should be just as desirable as a home that is in perfect shape. Seek out project homes in sought after areas. Check out neighboring homes to see if they are in good condition.