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Re: Wolf Den Run

Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:23 pm
by mantakos
Went out there Saturday morning.

The address listed for the park came up on my GPS about a mile from the actual entrance. The entrance to the park isn't currently well marked, but there's the makings of what looks to be a very prominent sign just beginning to be constructed there. The parking area is a big sloped grassy field with a couple of portable toilets. The parking field is a bit bumpy and rutted in places, no problem for a truck/suv with any kind of clearance, but maybe a little bit interesting for a regular car.

It was super-hot, so we wanted to go as early as possible. They list their hours as starting at 9am for riding. I thought we'd get there a little before 9am and be unloaded and ready to go by 9am, but the entrance was barred by a pad-locked gate until a ranger came to open it a few minutes after 9am, so no point arriving earlier.

On Saturday morning, there were 3 rangers hanging around, chatting up the riders and asking for feedback. Around 10 riders were there. We were the only ones on bikes, everybody else was on SxS.

A ranger was handing out paper forms for people to fill out with contact information and leave on their dash. I think maybe this is intended as a sort of "if your car is still here at closing time, we'll figure you're lying in a ditch somewhere and go looking for you".

The rangers had posted signs warning of bears and snakes. We saw a bear along the side of the road not far from the entrance. I imagine that with the noise of dirt bike engines, bears are going to steer well clear of any riders. Never saw any snakes, though the grass was pretty thick and high.

There's a nice map of the trails available online, and they did a good job of putting up signs on every trail intersection that labels each trail. Somehow, despite a map and those signs, I was lost almost the entire time, and despite meaning to explore, I ended up doubling back on the same trails a few times. After whining about them needing a Maprika map, when I got home I looked and found that Maprika already had one!

As for the trails themselves, they're sort of like old, rocky dirt roads overgrown with grass. Hiding underneath the grass is rocks and logs and branches and a surprising amount of mud, given that conditions overall seemed pretty dry. With the grass, it's easy to miss a log crossing the trail on a diagonal, lying in wait to squirrel your tires around. Logs crossing the trail were small enough to be easily cleared by a full-size dirt bike (though a novice might still find them intimidating), but big enough to be an issue for my small-wheeled companion. We had to lift the little bike up and over one suspended log to get past. I imagine the grass will fade with some use of the trails, a little work with a chainsaw could make the trails more kid-friendly. Overall, it's pretty beginner-friendly.

Looks like they've currently only opened up a fraction of the land they have available, that this is going to get a lot bigger in the future.

Re: Wolf Den Run

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:30 pm
by Joker
Laoch wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:52 am
And this is part of the overall problem ^^^. Why do they make it so complicated?
Oh, never mind, it's the Government.

At least in PA (for ATV's), you buy your sticker, show up whenever and ride. Motos- just show up and ride.
I spoke at length with them about this. Essentially they are trying to ensure the daily use limit does not get exceeded and this is the best way to do so. Once the entire park opens, limit is dropped, and camping is added expect weekend and season passes to come out.

Re: Wolf Den Run

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 4:06 pm
by Joker

Re: Wolf Den Run

Posted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:44 pm
by trialsrider
A little disappointing to see the politicians view on this and even how it was presented in the Sun article ... story.html

The way the Maryland Department of Natural Resources describes it, the 2,000-acre Wolf Den Run State Park in Garrett County is a nature-lover’s dream:
“The property comprises three distinct parcels, including approximately three miles of frontage on the Potomac River’s North Branch, three brook trout streams, mixed forest, and unique rocky bluffs rising 900 feet above the Potomac River. All three parcels include areas of rugged, mountainous terrain with numerous ephemeral streams, meadows, small tributaries, and wetlands.”
If you like camping, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, birding or horseback riding, this new park, near the town of Kitzmiller and the West Virginia border, sounds idyllic. And there’s a bonus: The land is no longer mined for coal, and hundreds of its acres have turned green again. By purchasing it in 2017 with $3.67 million in federal funds and funds from Program Open Space, Maryland took another step into the great reforestation that has been underway in the eastern states for years.
But Wolf Den Run has not been set aside as a place of remote tranquility. It has been motorized. It is now Maryland’s only park for OHV (Off-Highway Vehicle) enthusiasts. For a fee, they will be allowed to drive their two-, three- and four-wheel machines over many miles of trails. In fact, an area known as Huckleberry Rocks quietly opened for them this month, with 12.5 miles of trails, half of which can accommodate vehicles such as Jeeps.
Maryland state parks have become so popular, they're turning people away »
The Maryland Park Service’s description of Huckleberry Rocks comes with prose fit for amusement park rides: “The Wallow is a string of seasonally-filled depressions. You will get wet! ... Race Track is a former competitive course. Test yourself and your machine.”
While the state insists that Wolf Den Run will be for all traditional users, and the trails for “shared use,” OHV riders appear to have first dibs. James Ratino, president of the Maryland OHV Alliance, says he hopes all three parcels of the property will eventually have OHV trails.
In fact, they already do. The land has an OHV history. A report prepared for the state last year by an outdoors consultancy, Applied Trails Research, found between 80 and 90 miles of OHV trails, including a motor-cross track and several criss-crossing race routes. “While this is rather high for a typical state park trail density,” the report said, “the vast majority of these trails exist in open corridors that have been utilized for recreational purposes following their industrial utility.”
The report says the “routes were never managed or developed for sustainability or water management.” Applied Trails Research found “significant erosion present in many locations” and warned that, without management, sediment flow and mine acid drainage will continue into the North Branch and its tributaries.
The Applied Trails report warned that “developing a trail system that is manageable will take years of time and effort” and “developing state park infrastructure, amenities and management capacity will also require significant capital.”
A member of the Maryland General Assembly raised that concern after he read the report and watched a YouTube video of Wolf Den produced by OHV enthusiasts.
“I am very concerned that DNR is an inadequate steward of this public property and should have a more substantive, long-term plan for its management and sustainable usage,” said Del. Stephen Lafferty of Baltimore County, a member of the House Environment and Transportation Committee. “Our committee has often heard about DNR's lack of resources, lack of rangers and police and how difficult it is to police the large, forested areas under its jurisdiction. From the video, it is clear that these heavy vehicles can, and do, cause substantial damage.”
Sen. Paul Pinsky of Montgomery County, chairman of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, opposes OHVs in parks. “Parks should be reserved for hikers, birders and people who seek to explore a natural environment,” he said. “Opening up — or rather, selling out — public lands to motorized vehicles for thrill seeking does a disservice to the public and to efforts to protect open space.”
But Del. Eric Luedtke of Montgomery County agreed with the park service that Wolf Den Run can be managed for OHV riders with minimal environmental impact. “My take is that we should make room in the parks for a wide range of uses, so long as each use is conducted in a manner consistent with the goals of environmental sustainability,” Luedtke wrote in an email. “Of course, what remains to be seen is how well the park service manages the land.”
Ratino, of the OHV alliance, points out that, with a change in state titling tax law that his group supported, DNR will receive up to $750,000 a year for maintaining and constructing trails. The revenue comes from sales of OHVs.
Eight years ago, the state closed three OHV trails in state forests due to environmental issues. While OHVs are allowed in part of the Savage River State Forest, Wolf Den Run will be the only state park with OHV trails.
I asked Ratino if dirt bikes and four-wheelers would make Wolf Den Run less hospitable to other park users. “OHV trails do not create an inhospitable trail to other users,” he replied. “The impact is no different than mountain bikers, horseback, or other people on a trail.”
That’s an incredible statement, to say four-wheelers have no greater impact than hikers or horses, or that shared-use trails won’t present conflicts.
“Our park staff is working very hard to make this a model park for multi-use, with a unique focus on managing ORV recreation, while conserving the important natural resources identified on the property,” says Nita Settina, Maryland parks superintendent.
But, if all three parcels of Wolf Den Run are open to off-road vehicles, the state will have created a $3.67 million OHV park, and nature-lovers looking for a quiet hike through the Maryland woods will have to take that desire elsewhere.
Dan Rodricks

Re: Wolf Den Run

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:18 am
by Bucho
Very disappointing. They make it sound like there are no other “quiet parks” for hikers and birders.

There are over 50 other state parks in MD where dirtbikes are NOT allowed.

Re: Wolf Den Run

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:10 am
by Rut Row
The Sun is as biased as it gets.

Re: Wolf Den Run

Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:12 pm
by Joker
Bucho wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:18 am
Very disappointing. They make it sound like there are no other “quiet parks” for hikers and birders.

There are over 50 other state parks in MD where dirtbikes are NOT allowed.
I’m still a little pevved for the misquote. He actually asked me if it made the trails “inhospitable to other users” not “less hospitable.”