We want to keep everyone up to date on the latest information about the Watershed. Please see several important items below:
First: Be careful – we were just sent pictures of boards that were spiked with razor blades that were found on trails off of Fishing Creek Rd. Other trail sabotage has been found in the past included boards spike with nails and fishing line strung across the trail. If you find anything, DNR has asked for it to be left alone and reported it as follows: “When anyone finds something like razor blades in boards within the Watershed, please do not disturb this important piece of evidence and call the Frederick County Sheriff’s office at 911 as this appears to be a criminal act. If anyone encounters a hunting or natural resources violation, please call 410-260-8888 as this is the number to DNR’s central communication office who will relay any complaints to our NRP officers.”
Second: Another logging operation is underway covering 41 acres. It is taking place east of Gambrill Park Rd and south of Hamburg Rd (see attached map. Note: the black dotted line is Stoner Road). This is impacting trails in the area. As we get more info we will post updates.
Finally: Last week Frederick Department of Public Works (DPW) called a meeting to discuss some watershed issues. DPW oversees the Watershed from the City side. The meeting was with DNR, City staff and representatives from MORE (Joe W. and Phil V.) and PATC (Clyde, owner of the Trail House and also an MTBer) were invited as well. DNR attendees included their Western Regional Manager, the DNR wildlife manager/land manager and 2 DNR Foresters. The City had the head of DPW, the Superintendent of Water Treatment and a transportation planner from the Mayor’s bicycle advisory committee. DPW had two main topics on the agenda:
- Rerouting an eroded section of the Catoctin Trail north of Delauter Rd
- The “rogue” trails in the watershed
On the Catoctin trail reroute, the City has wanted us to do this for the past 2 years but DNR approval has been delayed. All is now approved and we are hoping to start corridor clearing in mid or late January. Stay tuned.
On the rogue trails:
- The continued building of “rogue” trails is a hot issue with DNR and DPW (DNR and DPW define these as any trails built without permission). The DNR foresters who are out on the ground reported seeing changes and new trails cropping up from week to week. They have found and confiscated tool caches.
- A DNR Forester suggested taking a complete trail inventory of the property so they know what they’ve got on the property and what is in areas that impact endangered or protected species, etc. They are going to look at the cost of hiring someone to do it and give a proposal to DPW. A trail inventory does not automatically “grandfather in” all the trails. It will be a starting point for drafting a recreational use plan.
- The current Forest Management plan mentions MTB but the city suggested it needs a more comprehensive section on all recreation
- DNR Forester suggested a committee should be formed to discuss this moving forward with all users groups and interested parties represented
- DPW said there was a complaint this week from a local resident about mountain bikers shuttling/racing – most likely shuttling only, we guess the racing was just speculation but we are trying to get more information on the complaint. The city has received 3 mountain biking complaints from residents in the last few months. The mayor is personally receiving complaints, so they are on record with the city at a very high viability level.
- Signage: DPW is going to install more signs with the rules of the watershed (like the new one at Sand Flats).
- DNR land manager would like to see only the blue trail and a few spur trails off of it but also says the city needs to decide what it wants to do with things on the property
- Phil/Clyde/Joe emphasized you cannot close down trails without offering better alternatives or trails will be opened back up. Having a single, linear trail (Catoctin) which is considered official is not going to work
- DNR Regional Manager agrees a single linear trail is not a viable solution
- All parties we met with agree that mountain biking and recreational uses have a place in the watershed but the hot-button issues need to be resolved or access is at risk.
- The head of DPW asked us to communicate this message to the MTB community: rogue trail building needs to stop.
To follow the discussion, please go to http://www.more-mtb.org/forum/showthread.php?p=236948&mode=linear#post236948