Sept. 22-24, 2017

FYI – Maryland Search and Rescue (MSAR) will be training in the Frederick Watershed this weekend, Sept. 22-24, 2017

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September Trail Update

In this update:

  • Fall trail work days and upcoming projects
  • Hunting season
  • Info on a planned controlled burn in the forest
  • Recent trail closure
  • FYI – Weekend road cycling event passing through roads in the Frederick Watershed

Trail Work
Fall trail work days are being planned and scheduled.  Some additional dates may be added as we work through everyone’s schedule. Current dates are:

  • Sunday October 29th
  • Sunday November 5th

Meeting time and location will be announced as we get closer to the work days.

Upcoming projects include:

  • Trail to new Gambrill State Park parking lot.
    • Gambrill State park will be constructing a new parking lot on the west side of Gambrill Park Rd near the south border of the Frederick Watershed and the north border of Gambrill State Park. We’ll be building a new trail that connects to the Watershed trail system from this lot.
  • New trail connecting the Watershed Trail system to the Yellow extended loop in Gambrill State Park. Portions of the existing connection need to be relocated away from the towers.

Hunting Season
A number of hunting seasons start opening in the fall. Unless otherwise noted, hunting is allowed in all areas of the forest. For a full list of hunting dates and related information, visit the Maryland DNR website. The 2017 – 2018 hunting calendar can be found here.

Controlled Burn
A controlled burn is schedule to be conducted in November for forest management purposes. This will take place in the north portion of the forest, between the Salamander Trail and Gambrill Park Road. You may have notice a fire line was created several months ago in preparation of the burn. Portions of trails near the burn area will be closed during the burn. An exact date has not been announced and will be determined based on weather and other factors.

Trail Closure
Our last email had information on the trail recently closed by the City of Frederick. If you missed it, you can see this post.

Road Cycling Event
Sunday, September 17, Frederick’s Gran Fondo road cycling event takes place. Last year saw the course go up Hamburg Road and north onto Gambrill Park Road. A map is not up for this year’s route, but expect a similar route that may impact travel on those roads in the morning and keep an eye out for riders.

Frederick Watershed trails update

Note: scroll down for 9/1/2017 update to original post.

A lot of emails and messages were circulating this morning asking what is happening with the Frederick Watershed trails since some signs went up in the last couple of days indicating closed trails. This week the City of Frederick and MD DNR closed two trails that are not part of the trails management plan, one of which was recently built without permission. After multiple emails with the City land manager on this, below is the information they have asked us to pass along. Please respect these trail closures and ride safely!

  1. Do not build new trails without the City’s permission – this is jeopardizing existing trail access. Get the word out.
  2. New trails were built without permission and the City/DNR are closing them.This trail roughly parallels what most trail users know as the Death March trail. They decided to close Super Sweet now (instead of several years down the road) since it connected to the new trail.
  3. This trail crosses an active logging operation, stay out, it is dangerous.
  4. Do not reopen the closed trail.
  5. New trails like this tend to be the ones where booby traps are found. They also noted that this weekend is traditionally when traps have been set or found. Phone numbers if you find anything or see someone sabotaging the trail: Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (301-600-2071) Natural Resources Police (800-628-9944)
  6. If you want to build trail, come out to official trail work (fall work days are being planned now).

— 9/1/2017 Update —

After initially getting the above message out, a lot of questions were asked, they can be summarized as:

  • I understand their position, I just wish they would go about it in a different way. Transparency would have been nice. This was the reason we suggested the Facebook page, to keep us informed and create a discussion.
  • Can the city explain to us how MTB trails are more damaging than logging?
  • How do we know what trails are in the sanctioned network?

Here is a follow up response from the land manager to the comments/questions above:

1. Trail maintenance of any kind, including removing downed limbs, brush piles, etc., will be completed by City-approved groups (MORE, DNR, City staff). The reason the brush piles that the City placed on the illegal trails were not brought to our attention is because they were on illegal trails.
2. Illegal trail building is not acceptable. Our rules signs clarify that. It is difficult for us to understand why people still think building “just a small connector trail” is acceptable. No trail-building is acceptable without written permission from the City.
3. The pulpwood operation is not an excuse for building trails.
4. I will repeat, the pulpwood operation is to create habitat for oak regeneration. By removing red maple, black gum, and black birch, we open small pockets where sunlight can punch through and allow the oaks to pop up. This is one of the many things we are doing to make the Watershed better for wildlife.
5. We attempted to do a soft trail closure by placing brush along the new illegal trails. On July 25, a Facebook announcement was made about the approved trail work that was going on and made mention of the illegal trails and that it was not acceptable. At that time, DNR had attempted to close the trails 3 times in the month. We would have liked to leave the soft closures up, but it became clear that folks were ignoring them.
6. There are no trails in the sanctioned network except the Blue Trail at the moment. However, all new illegal trails will not be part of the network once completed. The most important thing to know is that new trails are not part of the sanctioned network. Also of note, most of the trails in the lower Watershed will be kept so that’s always a safe bet for a fun ride, hike, etc.
7. I will not compare trails to forest operations. They are separate functions, meet different goals, and help different users/wildlife. It does not matter if trails are less or more impactful than forest operations. The trails that were built went directly into our active pulpwood operation, making them a significant safety hazard. That doesn’t mean other new trails that don’t meet up with an active forest operations are acceptable. They are not. We also have wildlife to consider. Our trails AND forest operations go through a rigorous approval process and those new trails were never approved by the City, nor passed through our DNR partners for habitat assessment.
8. The Watershed is not a bike park. The Watershed is a Tree Farm and Wildlife Management Area.

Trail Work – Sunday July 16

As part of the continued work in the south end of the Frederick Watershed, the city has asked for a new connector trail to provide additional loop options and tie in the newly expanded Gambrill Park Rd. parking area to the existing trails. We’ll be working Sunday July 16. This is an official trail work event done in coordination with The City of Frederick.
We’ll be meeting at the Hamburg parking lot.
If you can make it, RSVP or let me know. Having a head count helps us a lot!
We’ll have tools but if you have your own, feel free to bring them.
What should you bring? Gloves, water, snacks and a good attitude! Wear clothes you can get dirty and boots are always a good idea. Bug spray if you think you need it. Thanks!
Location: Hamburg Parking Lot, 10420 Hamburg Road, Frederick, MD 21702
Date/Time: Sunday July 16, 9am – 1pm

May 6: Spring Watershed Clean Up

Annual spring clean up of the dirt roads in the Frederick Watershed. May 6, 2017 9am – 12pm, meet at the maintenance garage on 6010 Mountaindale Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788-2709

Info from The City of Frederick Watershed:

Volunteer Cleanup! Help clean up the Watershed and get entered to win great prizes! Just let us know you’ll be there by checking the “going” box here in Facebook–that way we’ll bring enough snacks, gloves, and vests for everyone. Questions? Email Jenny Willoughby jwilloughby@cityoffrederick.com