Garrett State Forest: The birthplace of Maryland’s state forests

Garrett State Forest is the birthplace of forestry conservation in Maryland.  It is important to note the key role Garrett County and its public lands played in preserving the natural environment. 

garrett state forest

Garrett State Forest History

During the early 1900’s, just 20% of mature forest cover existed east of the Mississippi.  The previous century saw large scale timber operations greatly exceed timber growth.  One of the results was large, uncontrolled forest fires that further damaged the fragile environment.  Most of Maryland’s forests were populated with small stands of regenerating seedlings or saplings.  Large trees were truly an unusual sight. 

In response to the deplorable conditions of the state’s forests, the descendants of one of Garrett County’s founding fathers issued a challenge to the state government.   John and Robert Garrett were heirs to the B&O Railroad fortune who offered a generous donation of nearly 2,000 acres of forest land on one “small” condition.  The state must create a department specifically for the management and supervision of public lands.  Accepting the gift and the conditions, a forestry law was passed in 1906 establishing a Board of Forestry.  This made it the third state in the Union to enact such a law.  The tract of land donated by the Garrett brothers became is part of what is now Garrett State Forest, Maryland’s first state forest.  It has expanded over time to include about 8,000 acres of mountain forests, streams and valleys. 

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Casselman River Bridge State Park

Casselman River Bridge State Park attracts everyone from ardent anglers to hardcore history buffs.  Once part of a busy thoroughfare known as “Little Crossings,” the four acre park is home to both trophy size trout and a bridge that made history with its innovative design.

Casselman Bridge

About the Casselman River

Rising  atop the plateau of Western Maryland, the Casselman River follows a great arc across the Laurel Highlands of Somerset County, PA to the appropriately named town of Confluence, where Laurel Hill Creek joins a few yards above the Youghiogheny River.  The Casselman River is relatively wide and has a variety of habitats. Anglers will find deep runs, large deep holes and even some pocket water. The streambed consists of mainly cobble-size stone, making wading easier when compared to other area rivers. Natural flows can fluctuate especially during the spring, so be sure to check with the DNR for flow conditions. Flows less than 150 cubic feet per second (cfs) are typically considered good fishing flows. The trout fishery in the Casselman River Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Area is managed using adult hatchery brown and rainbow trout stocked each spring and fall. Many of these trout are truly trophy size and can reach sizes greater than 5 pounds! The Delayed Harvest Trout Fishing Area management scheme includes a Catch and Release Season when anglers may use artificial lures or flies only. Consult the Maryland Freshwater Sportfishing Guide for complete details.  Keep in mind that most of the land bordering the Casselman River is privately owned farmland.  The Casselman River Bridge State Park is the only public land bordering the Delayed Harvest Area.

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Deep Creek Lake Spring Activities

Deep Creek Lake spring activities offer something for everyone. As we say good-bye to winter weather, it is a time to enjoy the outdoors, visit local businesses and explore the area. This quieter season is a favorite for locals and visitors alike.

I put together some of my favorite indoor and outdoor Deep Creek Lake spring activities. Be sure to check availability as opening dates may vary for some of the options listed.

Deep Creek Lake Spring Activities

Golf typically begins in April (weather dependent). The four Garrett County courses are Lodestone, Fantasy Valley, Thousand Acres and the Golf Club at Oakland.

-Our eight state parks offer miles of hiking trails. Water levels can be high during the spring months making it a great time to check out Swallow Falls State Park. If you are looking for family friendly experiences, I put together a list of 5 easy trails.

Deep Creek Lake Spring Activities

-Don’t let spring showers put a damper on your plans! Deep Creek Fun Zone offers great food, a full bar, laser tag and lots of arcade games. Deep Creek Axe Throwing Co. is also a great indoor option.

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Wisp Resort Opens for the 19/20 Season

Wisp Resort opens for the 2019-20 winter season Friday, December 13th! This year, there are more than $1 million in improvements and additions. It will operate under the direction of recently hired General Manager, Ron Hawkes. They began making snow Nov. 12, one of the earliest snowmaking starts in the past few years.

wisp resort opens

Wisp Resort Opens with Improvements

New technology will be in place this year that involves lift tickets and snowmaking. There is also a new restaurant and an app for the resort.

Wisp is well-known for their advanced snowmaking capabilities. Five new Techno Alpin TR8 tower fan snow guns were added. They were placed on Squirrel Cage – a favorite expert slope. The new guns are more energy efficient and can work in a wider range of temperatures.

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Deep Creek Lake Wedding Mini Guide

This Deep Creek Lake wedding mini guide is meant to give an overview of options in our area. I’ll admit, I’m not a wedding expert. Real estate is my focus. However, I do know the area and some of the most popular options for your special day.

deep creek lake wedding

Deep Creek Lake Wedding License

This is an important detail. You apply in person at the Garrett County Courthouse. It is open from 8:30am-3:45pm, Monday-Friday (except holidays). The fee is $40.

Garrett County Court House
 203 S. 4th Street, Room #109
 Oakland, MD 21550
301-334-1937

You must be at least 25 years of age, only 1 person needs to apply. Bring the following info: Name, Address, Date of Birth and Social Security number.

If either party is divorced, you present the Divorce Decree. You may use the marriage license 2 days after it is issued and it is good for 6 months.

Have Your Event in a Taylor-Made Vacation Home

Imagine saying “I do” with stunning lake views in the background. Have your ceremony and/or reception at a vacation rental home will make it truly unique. Taylor-Made has more than a dozen properties that host weddings. They must be outdoor events, and there are a few guidelines. Our event coordinator will help with all the details.

Whether or not you have your ceremony in a rental home, Taylor-Made can help with accommodations for you and your family. Homes range in size from 1-9 bedrooms. Also, they have tons of fun amenities like private pools and hot tubs. Stay in homes that are close together and turn your destination wedding into a fun, family vacation.

Deep Creek Lake Wedding Event Barns

Event barns have become increasingly popular venues. They combine rustic elegance with a touch of whimsy. Additionally, the surrounding acreage offers lots of great photo opportunities.

The White Barn at Lucas Farm
4161 Garrett Hwy, Oakland, Maryland 21550
301.616.6077 

Twin Tails Event Farm
4150 Garrett Hwy, Oakland, MD 21550
301.616.4268

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New Deep Creek Area Businesses

New Deep Creek area businesses have opened or will do so soon. They are expanding the options of things to do along with adding to available services. It is wonderful to see our communities growing and thriving.

7 New Deep Creek Area Businesses

Deep Creek Area Businesses

Vagabond Taproom
Opening early October 2019! Located at 215 E. Alder Street in Oakland, the bar will offer 14 craft beers on tap, along with a rotating stock of two white wines and two red wines. Additionally, a small menu is planned with nine small plate appetizers. Root beer will be on tap as well at this kid friendly establishment. Keep an eye on their Facebook page (link above) for updates.

Meraki Style Studio
This new salon is also located at 215 E. Alder Street – use the back entrance. It is owned by Nicolette Hill who has been in the beauty industry for over 10 years. She offers fresh cuts and color in a comfortable, upscale environment.

Craeve & Company
This boutique sales and marketing consulting firm serves small businesses. They offer sales and marketing plans, social media consulting, design and branding services and much more! They are also located in downtown Oakland, sharing a brick and mortar location with Curly Red Design.

Shooters Bar & Grill
Opening soon as of this post, this is sure to be a new favorite spot! It is located at 17869 Garrett Highway across from Sand Flat Road. The eatery has a family-friendly, casual atmosphere. The menu includes burgers, wraps, pizza, subs and much more. Plus, they have a full bar.

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Ron Hawkes Named Wisp Resort’s New General Manager

Wisp Resort’s new General Manager was recently named. Ron Hawkes will replace longtime GM, Jerry Geisler. Geisler is retiring after forty-five years at Wisp. Hawkes has extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic market making him an excellent choice.

About Wisp Resort’s New General Manager

Ron Hawkes is a ski industry veteran. He began his career as a ski instructor in the early 1990s. Holding the position of director of skiing and snowboarding, he worked at Hunter Mountain, NY for ten years. He most recently worked at Camelback Resort in Pennsylvania. Having both summer and winter activities, it is similar to Wisp Resort. For eleven years, he was president and general manager at Roundtop Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania. Hawkes brings wide-ranging experience to the job, having worked at ski resorts in Vermont, New York, Colorado and even Chile.

wisp resort's new general manager
Ron Hawkes new GM at Wisp Resort. Photo courtesy of the Cumberland Times-News.

Hawkes also has experience with conference hotels, large event venues and active summer operations. Additionally, he is familiar with golf operations as both as a recreational and tournament player and working at Jack Frost National Golf Club.

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Wolf Den Run State Park

Wolf Den Run State Park is Garrett County’s newest state park. Opening day is July 15, 2019. This rugged wilderness area is filled with trails that will be open to off road vehicles (ORVs) as well as hikers. It is the eighth State Park in our area.

About Wolf Den Run State Park

The park is made up of three separate parcels. There is about three miles of frontage on the Potomac River’s North Branch. You will also find three brook trout streams, 1,700 acres of mixed forest and bluffs that are 900 feet above the Potomac River. Each parcel has a mix of mountainous terrain along with streams, meadows and wetlands.

Phase 1 – Huckleberry Rocks Area

The first parcel to open is the Huckleberry Rocks area. The park entrance for this area is located at 890 North Hill Road in Kitzmiller. There are 12.5 miles of trails available for motorized recreation. Of that, 6.5 miles can be used by full-size vehicles.

Wolf Den Run State Park
Huckleberry Rocks Area
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Deep Creek Spring Events Guide

Deep Creek spring events guide gives you the rundown on what’s happening at the lake. There is something for just about every age and interest this spring. Whether you are a resident or just visiting, you will find fun activities just about every weekend.

Deep Creek Spring Events

Deep Creek Spring Events

St. Patrick’s Day Party at the Honi-Honi
March 16, 8PM to Midnight
Wear your green and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Lady Invidia!

Annual St. Paddy’s Day Party at Mountain State Brewing Co.
March 17, 1-10PM
Enjoy corned beef and cabbage along with drink specials throughout the day. Team Bingo starts at 1, bagpipers play at 3 and Jason Shaw provides live music at 5.

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Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales Celebrates 10th Anniversary!

Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales marked their tenth anniversary in 2018! This is a great company to work for, and I am proud to be a co-owner of the real estate division. In addition to celebrating ten years in business, we recently completed the addition of 4,500 square feet to our office!

Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales

Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales History

Taylor-Made was started in 2008 by Jodi Taylor Refosco, her husband Joe and her brother Chad Taylor. Jodi and Chad had years of experience in the vacation rental industry. They worked for their parents at Deep Creek’s largest rental company until they sold it in 2007. Joe has a strong background in hospitality and also worked for the elder Taylor’s and played a key role in developing their in-house laundry facility. Continue reading Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales Celebrates 10th Anniversary!