Garrett County: resistant to extreme weather since 300,000,000 BC

Hurricane Ian’s (Sept 2022) recent devastation of Florida (and other states) got me working on updating my extreme weather map of Garrett County and the region. I had created a map in 2014 that showed the tracks of major storms and tornados in the eastern half of the US.

I was happy with how it came out – the main point I was trying to get across is that Garrett County is a good place to live since historically, hurricanes and tornados are unlikely to hit here. I also like the colors (someone commented they thought it looked like an Easter basket).

I’ve just updated the map and added wildfires (orange dots) and hailstorms (green tracks). Now, the hurricanes and storms are in blue (darker lines indicate more severe storms) and tornados in red (same theme as hurricanes)

A bit of a different projection (map orientation) and I changed the Easter basket colors, but this map is updated to 2021 data. Garrett County (and WV) are still great areas to avoid major storms, tornados, hail storms (I know, probably not life threatening, but good to avoid if you have a nice new car) and wildfires (which can be life threatening). Let’s zoom in a bit with Garrett County highlighted.

We’ve had a handful of tornados and just a couple of hurricanes pass through you can see at this scale. I’ve also included the terrain, in shaded gray, to highlight the Appalachians. They largely shield us from weather coming from both the East (hurricanes) and the West (tornados). You can start to see the wildfires and hailstorms in this scale of the map, too. Let’s get in nice and close for one more zoom in.

What’s evident here is the minimal number of wildfires in Garrett County while the surrounding area in the Alleghenies does have a fair amount. There are likely multiple reasons for this, ranging from weather, population density and forest management practices.

If you can chose where you live, there are lots of factors that go into that decision. Economics is probably top of the list – whether you can get a job or grow a business are big concerns. Weather is probably next – many people don’t like to ever see a single snowflake in the their lifetimes (I’m the opposite – I like to see many). And related to weather is climate and the prevalence and frequency of extreme weather events. Just to make a massive oversimplification, areas with “better” weather are more likely to experience extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornados (and forest fires which are kind of an inverse of extreme weather events). So let’s take Florida for example. It has pleasant winter weather and residents can expect to never deal with snow, but extreme weather like hurricanes area looming danger. In Garrett County, you may deal with more snow in the winter, but the statistical danger of a high kinetic energy storm is much lower.

If you made it this far, I’m sure you want to know why I headlined this post that GC has been “resistant to extreme weather since 300,000,000 BC”. I primarily credit our mountains for shielding us from weather, whether it’s coming from the east or west (is there a literary term for serial homonyms in a sentence? The first person to email me with this term at chris.nichols@dimesy.com with the answer gets a free map pack).

The Appalachian Mountains and our Alleghany Range are ancient – they are rounded and gentle now, but were sharp and “pointy” like the Rocky Mountains when they first formed, oh, about 300 million years ago.

The image above is from a super-cool visualizer or what the Earth could have looked like hundreds of millions of years ago. The mountains from the Carboniferous Era may have been rounded down a bit since then, but they still provide us with lots of protection from the weather (and dinosaurs!).

Hiking the Shoreline of Deep Creek Lake

Just how long is the shoreline of Deep Creek Lake? Most sources say 64 miles, but I’ve seen “authoritative” values of 69 and 74 miles as well (two different signs at the State Park – within visual distance of each other – claim the 64 and 69 mile distances). So, I decided to do the logical thing and hike the shoreline to find out.

Everything you know is wrong. Black is white, up is down, that other political party you hate really is right, and the published length of the shoreline of Deep Creek Lake is drastically incorrect.   From January 2021 to March 2022, I hiked the shoreline of Deep Creek Lake over 6 legs and tabulated the full distance of 72.2 miles which is entirely different from range published by the DNR of 65-69 miles.  What else are they hiding from us? Where are all those extra miles of shoreline? Is there a secret enclave of the elite there? All will be revealed in this article.

In the 2021-2022 winter season, Brookfield Renewable, the operator of the dam, lowered the lake level to 2,455.5 ft for maintenance.  There are a number of spots I wouldn’t have been able to really follow the shoreline if the water levels hadn’t been this low. 

So, what have I found so far? One of the first things I have been struck by are the prevalence of bivalves (“mussels”) and mollusks (“snails”) along some of the stretches of the lake shore.  I’ve never been aware that there were populations of them before, so I contacted Julie Bortz, the DNR biologist for the lake, to see if she could tell me anything about them. 

The  mollusks I found are Chinese or Japanese Mystery Snails and they are actually an invasive species, so the DNR is interested in keeping track of them.  If you see any north of the North Glade area, be sure to let Julie know at julie.bortz@maryland.gov.  Then be sure to pick up a few to get a fancy French appetizer for free!  The bivalves were likely the Eastern Floater Mussel and they are unremarkable. But if you see any critters or plants you’re not sure about, definitely send Julie an email with a photo and she’ll check it out.  

My second observation is that while there are about 15 obvious feeder streams to Deep Creek Lake, when you are walking the shoreline, especially in the southern end, especially after some rainfall, it’s clear that there are many more springs and seeps that also feed water (and sediment) into the lake.  There were several muddy slogs through areas of shoreline where there was no visible running water, but there was obviously flow coming from the land.  Seeing this perspective really makes the issue of sedimentation more obvious than driving around these coves in the boat.

After so many muddy areas, my wife who accompanied me on one of the legs of the trip, found a quicker way to cross Green Glade Run.  I opted to go a bit further upstream where I could jump across some rocks. 

For Leg 3 of my hike, I started from Turkey Neck and made it to the Glendale bridge for a total of 14.7 miles. It was late January and the lake was still frozen, which made this hike much easier than if I had to cross all of the tributaries on this stretch.  One of the highlights of this portion was getting to the “headwaters” of the lake at the southernmost end.  Deep Creek really wasn’t too deep at the point where it flows into the lake, so I guess it must have gotten its name further downstream.  But this was a nice spot, and one that I would have probably never made it to if I had not been doing this hike.

View from the southernmost end of the lake

The rest of Leg 3 was relatively uneventful.  The day started fairly clear and developed into a fairly heavy snowstorm.  Luckily my end point at the Glendale bridge is less than a mile from home, so it was easy to wrap up the day. 

For leg 4, from the Glendale Bridge to the northernmost point of the lake, I had a beautiful bluebird February day.  The lake was still mainly frozen, and combined with the great weather, I logged 18.8 miles which is way more than I was planning.  One of the highlights from this stretch was that I brought my drone along and got some cool footage of the frozen lake. 

Aerial picture of the lake around stump point

For transiting the area around the dam, it was especially critical that the lake was still frozen since I wouldn’t have been able to walk that section on land.  Most of the stretch of shoreline from the 219 Bridge to the dam was very quiet, but there was a lot of activity on the lake as I got closer to the Wisp and more of the houses that were rented.

Future Olympians

I had the pleasure of participating in a round of Beer Curling being played by a group of college guys on the ice.  I am looking forward to when it takes its rightful place in the Olympic pantheon.  

Exhausted, but very satisfied with my progress, I ended this leg near the northernmost tip of the lake.

A few weeks after I finished Leg 4, the ice had melted and I realized I had better get out for the last stretch before the levels came back up.  I got lucky with another day of great weather for Leg 5 of 11.1 miles. This last stretch was more about little unexpected discoveries.  One of my coolest finds was a flag that had broken off the Deep Creek Lake robo-boat during the Boat Parade last year.  I remember watching it sink into the water and figuring we’d never see it again, but the Lady of the Lake decided to give it back.   Some other items of note were an interesting ice phenomenon, a retaining wall made of old gravestones and a tunnel leading to those extra miles of lakeshore.

This way to the secret Illuminati base

No, it wasn’t anything that exciting, just a culvert passing under 219 to Gravely Run, but another example of seeing new from a different point of view.

The weather for this leg was fairly warm and sunny all day, so I got it in my head that a jump in the lake at the end would be a fun way to wrap up the hike.  So even though the sun was going down and it was cooling off quickly when I got back to where I originally started, I still braved the water for a celebratory plunge.  My normally faithful companion Spencer decided that he wasn’t ready to follow me into the lake, though.

Even Man’s Best Friend has his limits

So, after logging 72.2 miles of hiking the shoreline, did I have any major epiphanies? Not really, it was more of a lot of little discoveries along the way.  Overall, it was a fun personal challenge and a way to see the lake from a new perspective. So, even if you don’t have the time, ability or desire to hike the whole length, I’d recommend even just some little parts of the route that you can take on.

And just in case my tongue-in-cheek tone did not come through, I did not have any real intention of establishing an official measurement of the lakeshore.  Not only were my methods inadequate for the job (my phone’s activity tracker app), there’s a whole long discussion on “what” the actually shoreline is and how do you really measure it. For the time being, how about we all agree that the length of the shoreline is “around 70 miles”?

There are links to lots more videos, photos, maps and other adventures around the area at my website, dimesy.com.  What should I do next? I’m thinking a “boat-packing” trip, where I follow the lakeshore in a canoe and sleep on board overnights.  I’ll be looking for places to stop for a beer along the way. . .

How long have you had a place at Deep Creek Lake?

When you talk to someone who has a place at Deep Creek Lake, one of the first things you’ll likely here is “We’ve had a house here since . . . ” People are proud – and rightfully so – of how long they have had property at Deep Creek Lake.

In a virtual video tour, I look at how the lake “filled in” by classifying the homes by the year they were built. You’ll see the history of the lake, from the original enclaves of cabins built in the 1920’s and 30’s right after the lake formed, to today’s familiar developments and rental hotspots. If you don’t like videos, I’ve made a blog version here that hits the highlights of the video version.

I’ll look at the construction date of all the houses in the Deep Creek Lake Watershed. The data comes from the Maryland tax assessment database, so it may not be correct for every single structure, but on the aggregated scale we’re looking at, it should be good enough. I’ve grouped the construction dates into 2-decade intervals after the lake was “built”, e.g 1926-1945, 1946-1965 etc. If an owner tore down a house and built a new one, that resets the clock and the newer one if the year recorded. Before the dam was built, the data actually says there is a still-standing structure from 1855 in the watershed, so the pre-lake group goes all the way back to then.

All the data

This map shows all the parcel points from the MD database (where there “construction year” wasn’t blank). Since in the heavily populated areas, the dots overlie each other some of the trends get lost, but you can still see some interesting clusters. In the following maps, I’ll build up all the points by those 2-decade groups, and you’ll get to see the early days of the lake more clearly.

Before the (current) Lake

I’ve switched over to a 1901 topographical map of the area for this one, showing the still-standing structures in the purple dots from before Deep Creek Lake was formed. There are tons of cool details such as a dam and small lake where the Glendale Bridge is now, but I’ll try to stay on target here. If you’d like to check out this type of map, I conveniently have one you can order.

The Founders , 1925-1945

After the lake was formed, clusters of houses also started to form. Most of them were along the easier-to-access area along what is now Rt 219, but you start to see houses along Lake Shore Dr, Hazelhurst, Beckman’s & Harvey’s Peninsulae and my own little neighborhood off Toothpick Rd.

Post-war 1946-1965

The green dots show the houses that came in during the post-war period of 1946-1965. Some new areas are starting to get developed like Penn Pt, Turkey Neck and the Yacht Club, Paradise Pt, and Marsh Hill Rd (at Wisp) while established areas above continue to fill in as well. Anecdotally, it seems that most of the homes in this time frame were summer-only vacation homes built by blue-collar (think steel mill workers) from the Pittsburgh area.

Yinzer paradise, 1966-1985

The Sky Valley development is immediately obvious in this era shown in yellow dots. There are a couple of other subdivision-type developments during this time frame, and some other wise empty areas like Stockslager, Sandy Beach and Shingle Camp start to get populated as well. Generally I’d say that this era was a continuance of the type of owners from the previous one. A lake home and construction costs are still affordable for an upper-middle class family, and the Pittsburgh area is still the most accessible.

Increased Access, 1986-2005

Two big things happened during this time period to drive all the new orange dots: I-68 fully opened, which greatly improved the access from the DC/Baltimore area, and a major sewer project was completed which allowed for many more units to be supported. A number of big subdivision-type developments are obvious – Blakeslee, the Pinnacle, Mountainside, etc, and pretty much all of the non-subdivision shoreline has been developed too with a couple of exceptions.

Continued but slowing growth 2005-2022

In the previous 17 years, there still has been substantial growth but mostly off the lakefront. Holy Cross and developments around golf courses (Waterfront Greens and Lodestone) happened during this period as well.

Garrett County, MD: Pet Paradise

It’s a great place to live or visit with your pet (especially your dog!)

Dog parks

Oakland Town Dog Park
27 Oakland Rosedale Road, Oakland, MD 21550
https://oaklandmd.com/dog-park.html

McHenry Community Park (operated by the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club)
1249 Bumble Bee Rd Accident MD 21520
https://deepcreeklions.org/service-programs/mchenry-community-park/

Pick up your dog waste!

County and Municipal areas

  • 7 of the 8 incorporated municipalities have some form of walking path suitable for short walks (Accident, Friendsville, Grantsville, Kitzmiller, Loch Lynn, Mountain Lake Park and Oakland)
  • County-owned recreational properties: Fork Run, McHenry Community Park and Casselman Soccer Fields
  • Leashed, licensed and vaccinated dogs are not prohibited in any of these areas, to the best of my knowledge
  • Use your best judgement and check before you go if possible
  • Garrett County Animal Control Ordinance: https://www.garrettcounty.org/animal-shelter/animal-control-ordinance

State parks

  • Big Run – camping
  • Casselman River – not much for dogs
  • Deep Creek Lake – camping, trails, swimming
  • Herrington Manor – camping, trails, swimming
  • New Germany – camping, trails, swimming
  • Sang Run – trail
  • Swallow Falls – trails, camping
  • Wolf Den Run – camping, trails

Other State Land

  • Savage River SF – Trails and camping throughout
  • Potomac-Garrett SF – Trails and camping throughout
  • Mt Nebo WMA trail
  • Youghigheny NEA trail

State Park Pet Rules

  • All pets must be licensed and have all required vaccinations, including a rabies vaccination.
  • Pets must be leashed. Pets may be off-leash and under voice control while swimming in designated areas or hunting (with the appropriate permit).
  • Pet owners must clean up after their pet. Waste disposal containers are available in most areas.
  • Service animals are permitted in all pedestrian areas.
  • Pets, with the exception of service animals, are not allowed in park buildings or playgrounds.
  • Pet owners must obey all park signs that prohibit the entry of pets into specific areas.
  • Excessive barking is not permitted in any park area, especially during campground “quiet hours” (10:00 p.m.- 7:00 a.m.).
  • https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/pets.aspx
•https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/documents/MPSPetPolicy.pdf

Federal recreation areas

  • Jennings Randolph Lake
  • •Youghiogheny River Lake
    • Both MD and PA sides have campgrounds and boat launches
  • •I have only been able to find rules related to pets in the camping areas (allowed on leash) but nothing about pets in the other areas – use your best judgement

Swimming spots

  • Deep Creek, Herrington Manor and New Germany Lakes (with the limitations per the table above
  • Yough River and Jennings Randolph Lakes – not explicitly prohibited that I can find
  • Yough, Potomac and Savage Rivers – there are some level sandy public access areas on these rivers, but I’d be reluctant to let my dog swim in them
  • NO Swimming for dogs: Broadford Lake and  probably Savage River Reservoir (humans are not allowed to swim there)

Good trails for dogs

  • I like low traffic, wide straight (good visibility) trails when hiking with my dog:
    • Mt Nebo
    • Negro Mt
    • Asa Durst
    • Wallman and Laurel Run areas
  • Also, trails that follow a stream or river can be nice
    • Poplar Lick and Monroe Run trails
    • Kendall trail

Local veterinarians

Garrett County in the times of Meshach Browning

Deep Creek (Lake) in the time of Meshach Browning

“My mind cannot imagine a more beautiful sight than could be obtained from the highest grounds of the Hoop-Pole Ridge, which commanded a view of the valley between that and the great Back-Bone . . . It was a grand sight to watch the tall grass, rolling in beautiful waves with every breeze which passed over its smooth surface, as well as the herds of deer skipping and playing with each other.  It was not a strange thing to see a great lubberly-looking bear forcing  his way through the grass, when every deer which got a sight or scent of him would bound off, with tail erect, toward the nearest thicket”

These are the words of Meshach Browning (1781-1859) from his book, Forty-Four Years of the Life of a Hunter (1859), describing much of the area that would become Deep Creek Lake. Browning was one the earliest settlers of Western Maryland and a prolific hunter, killing over 2,000 deer, 500 bear, and numerous panthers, wolves and rattlesnakes. His book, penned with a turkey quill by candlelight, recounts many of his hunting expeditions, as well as providing details about pioneer life in this area during the early 1800’s. 

Browning was born in Damascus, Maryland but spent most of his life in what would become Garrett County.  His book covers his pioneering life from 1790 to 1835 and provides invaluable information on the natural, social and economic history of Western Maryland.  The map accompanying this article was published in 1838 and is annotated with the approximate locations some of the sites mentioned in Browning’s book.

Today, if you stood on Hoop-Pole Ridge (1) and looked north or east, most of your view would be encompassed by Deep Creek Lake, not the grassy fields described by Browning above.  Indeed, it seems that most of the southern half of Garrett County was largely unoccupied during his time.  He describes the “head of the North Branch of the Potomac …was the greatest wilderness we were acquainted with” (2).  Interestingly, the only town noted on the map – Selbysport (3) – is the only settlement discussed in Browning’s book as well.  Since the B&O Railroad segment to Oakland was not completed until 1851, and the only other access to the area was via the National Road in the northeastern part of the county, it is unsurprising that the southern end of the county had no population of note. Browning had several homesteads during the period documented in the book, generally located in The Glades (4) and Sang Run (5).  His Sang Run cabin stood until at least 1919 when it was photographed by Leo Beachy[1], but has since been torn down. 

Browning’s hunting grounds also ranged countywide – from the Youghiogheny River (6) where he wrestled for his life with a wounded buck, to Meadow Mountain (7) where it is easy to imagine the bear dens he describes along the trails of today’s State Park.  And of course, he mentions Deep Creek with “…water being so clear and cold, that it will make a man’s arm pain him to the elbow, if he holds his hand in it a few minutes…” and “where success was certain” when fishing for fresh trout, a favorite of his first wife, Mary.

Although life was hard in the pioneer days of western Maryland, it is clear that Browning appreciated the natural beauty of the area, respected the wildlife he hunted and enjoyed the simple pleasures of life. 

“Here I found my true pleasure – my wife, dressed clean, her beauty, in my estimation, unsurpassed; the children, as clean as water and soap could make them, plenty to live on, and not an enemy on earth.  I say, who could be happier than I was at the time?”

The Deep Creek Lake Lions has dedicated its new trail system at the McHenry Community Park to Meshach Browning.  The multi-use, low intensity trail system, opening in 2019, will have informational signs throughout with passages and images from the life and times of Browning.  Drafts of the signs can be found here: http://www.deepcreeklions.org/MB-Trailhead.html

Map information: Maryland. (inset) Western section of Maryland. An Illustrated Atlas, Geographical, Statistical, And Historical, Of The United States And The Adjacent Countries. By T.G. Bradford. Boston: Weeks, Jordan, And Company, 1838.


[1] Leo Beachy’s photography of the area during the early 1900’s could (and probably will be) the subject of a future article.  A brief intro to his story and a link to the photo of Browning’s cabin as well as many others can be found here: http://www.garrettcountymuseums.com/photos.html

Deep Creek Lake, v4.0

The current version of Deep Creek Lake isn’t the first, second or even third time a dam has been planned or built on or around Deep Creek.  Almost as soon as permanent settlers lived around it, Deep Creek and the area around it have been of interest to those who wanted to capture and use its waters for a variety of purposes.  One proposed plan to dam Deep Creek and two actual dams (one on Deep Creek and one on Cherry Creek) have been found in our research. 

In 1824, James Shriver, a leading civil engineer and proponent of expansion of the C&O Canal, published the rather verbosely titled “An account of surveys and examinations, with remarks and documents: relative to the projected Chesapeake and Ohio and Ohio and Lake Erie Canals “. In it, he lays out a speculative route for the continuation of the C&O Canal to connect the Potomac and Cheat Rivers by cutting through western Allegany (now Garrett) County.  To provide adequate draft for the barges and flood water for the locks, he proposes damming Deep Creek around the site of the current US Route 219 bridge. The plan also called for a tunnel under Backbone Mountain to connect this new waterway with the Potomac around Westernport.  His cost estimate for the entire project to connect Cumberland to Pittsburgh was $5,566,564.

The massive cost and burgeoning railroad industry prevented the development of the C&O Canal past Cumberland, but the rigorous work that Shriver did to plan his route remains an excellent resource of historical data on the area, including a detailed map of the region through which the planned canal would traverse. The text of his report describes some intriguing details of the area including trees of up to 12 feet in girth and a rock formation the locals had named “the Devil’s Castle”. In the detail of his map below, the green shaded area shows the proposed lake from damming Deep Creek around the current 219 bridge and captures the current shoreline of the southern end of the lake remarkably well.


You can view and download the fully digitized map here: https://search.lib.virginia.edu/catalog/u2084891#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=1767%2C7005%2C8195%2C4728
and read the scanned publication here: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015091128796%3Bview%3D1up%3Bseq%3D11

Two more actual dams were built on Deep Creek and Cherry Creek in the late 1800’s as aquaculture projects.  The first was on Cherry Creek around 1883 and was the project of Gus W. Delawder, Commissioner of Fisheries for Western Maryland at the time. He named the new body of water Lake Cleveland in honor of President Cleveland who visited it and spent the day fishing there. The second dam was overseen by R. T. Browning, the grandson of the famous Garrett County frontiersman and hunter Meshach Browning and was completed in 1893, at the site of present Glendale Bridge.  This body of water was named Lake Brown after Maryland Governor Frank Brown (1892 -1896).

Local historian Champ Zumbrun has written a great, more detailed article on the history of these lakes that can be found here: http://dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/md-conservation-history/Cottage-in-the-Wilderness.aspx

Although we have not been able to track down any maps of the exact extent of Lake Cleveland, the detail of a 1901 topographical map from the USGS shows Lake Brown quite clearly, with the dam almost exactly where the current Glendale Bridge is today.

In 1925, the dam was completed by the Youghiogheny Hydro-Electric Company on Deep Creek and the lake we know and love today began to fill. There were plans for three more dams, not on Deep Creek, but along the Youghiogheny River. The map below (with North pointed to the left) shows those three dams (and resulting lakes). For a variety of reasons, this scheme never came through. For more information on the lakes that may have been, check out Chris Preperato’s excellent article here: http://historyoftheupperyough.com/stories/youghdams/

So, for better or worse, Deep Creek Lake is what we’ve got. It’s exceedingly unlikely that any new major dam projects will happen in this area.

Garrett County Gazette, September 2022

Welcome to the second issue of the Garrett County Gazette.  I’m Chris Nichols, your guide to helping you find out what’s going on, what’s coming up and interesting tidbits from the area. Let’s jump right in!
Garrett County’s 150th Anniversary
Garrett County was officially created in 1872 and our local government is celebrating the 150th Anniversary  with a big, FREE event on Saturday, September 17 from 10 am – 6 pm at the Garrett County Fairgrounds in McHenry. There will be music, a history walk, food, car show, artwork displays & more. Plus, collect a commemorative bronze coin for each of the 8 municipalities in the County will be available.  For more info on the event, check out https://150.garrettcounty.org/
The county’s first public disc golf course opens
Deep Creek Lake Lions Club  held the grand opening of the new public disc golf course (the Glades at Meshach Run Disc Golf Course) at the McHenry Community Park on 1249  Bumble Bee Road, McHenry, Maryland. The Glades at Meshach Run is a 9 hole, free-to-play disc golf course. Disc golf is similar to conventional golf, with throwing discs taking the place of balls, and raised metal baskets taking the place of holes. 

Ryan Harlow and Chrystal Stroud had the honor of performing the ribbon cutting.  They were the community members who brought the idea to the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club and organized the volunteer construction. 
Approximately 25 people attended the event and participated in a group disc throw that was captured by a drone.
Door prizes were awarded to winning participants and included DCLLC swag bags, maps donated by Narrows Hill, and 3 disc golf packages donated by Ryan’s Disc Golf Stop located on Accident Bittinger Road, Maryland

The Club hopes to expand from 9 holes to 18 holes in the near future and is looking for more sponsors to complete the additional 9 holes. The course has been a testing ground for use by the visually impaired, another of the Club’s primary service areas. Using remote-activated beepers on the discs and targets, the Club has been able to have visually-impaired kids play a few holes at the course. 
 
One the visually-impaired participants in the Blind Camper program was able to play a few holes of the disc golf course with special discs and beepers

Garrett County – Pet Paradise
Garrett County, MD is a great place to live or visit with your pet! In a recent Youtube video, I cover all the places to take your furry companion (OK mainly your dog) out on the trails, swimming and more! 
Some action shots with my dog Spencer 

History Corner
In a joint project with Garrett County Historical Society and Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales, I had the pleasure of coordinating a panel discussion on stories and tales from Deep Creek Lake with “old-timer” panelists: Beverly Railey Robinson, Ed King, Karen Frazee Myers and Ann Smith. We met in the Deep Creek Lake room at the Transportation Museum in Oakland and just had a great time chatting and sharing stories about “the good old days”. It’s important to get these stories recorded before they’re gone forever!

The video of the entire session is here on Youtube


The GCHS helps to protect, preserve and promote our local history, and membership is just $25 per year!  And much thanks to Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales for the professional level video recording and editing!  

Upcoming Events

Grantsville Oktoberfest, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2022 AT 12 PM – 5 PM-The Third Annual Grantsville Lions Club Oktoberfest is back with local brews, German beers, live music, kids activities, and traditional German contests! The Oompah Band and the Wurstband will be providing music all day long at the amphitheater stage. The Grantsville Arts & Entertainment District will have their scarecrow making station, as well as face painting for kids. JTF1 will also be there with their outdoor set up. There will be a car show in the upper field a full slate of German food this year! 
Check out the Grantsville Lions Club Facebook event for more details! 

Autumn Glory Festival,  October 12 – 16, 2022 throughout the County
I probably don’t have to tell most of you about Autumn Glory, but there are some new cool events and activities planned this year including a week-long carnival, more craft shows and others! Check out the Chamber’s site that does a great job of bringing all these events together in one spot: 
https://www.visitdeepcreek.com/autumnglory/
Real estate perspective
The number of residential properties on the market is growing, but slowly, and sales are still happening fairly quickly and close to listing price.  So, it may be a good time to get an idea of what your property is worth.  On the buying side, even though interest rates are rising, there are still good ones to be found, especially given the innovation in financing products that has happened over the past few years.
I’m always happy to talk about buying or selling property or just chat with you about the market and the area. Check out my real estate agent website, or call or email me anytime! That’s it for this edition! Thanks for checking it out! If you’ve got ideas, suggestions or questions about the area, don’t hesitate to reach out!

-Chris

Greetings from Narrows Hill

Greetings Neighbor!

Hello, my name is Chris Nichols, your neighbor on Narrows Hill.  I’m also a real estate agent with Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales and am ready and able to help you achieve your real estate goals.

Just in case you’re not aware, Narrows Hill generally lies in the area “between the bridges”  – that is the Glendale and State Park Bridges and continues roughly to Toothpick and Beckman’s Peninsula Roads. Before there was a Deep Creek LAKE, there was just Deep CREEK and the Narrows is where Deep Creek carved through the terrain to create a rocky gorge which you can still see on either side of the Glendale Bridge.

In this detail from a map I developed, “Deep Creek – Then and Now”, I’ve zoomed in on the Narrows Hill area.  The map’s background layer is a 1901 topographical map showing the general terrain, roads and structures at that time.  Overlaid are today’s roads (in black) and the lake (translucent blue). I don’t really think the roads have moved since then, but over the scale of the whole map, it’s tough to get everything to align completely. You can see the rest of this map and others I’ve made of the area at narrowshill.com

You’ve probably already noticed the “STATE DAM” labeled around where today’s Glendale Bridge is.  Before the current dam, there was actually a much smaller dam on Deep Creek to create a fish hatchery pond.  You can find out more about this dam (and a couple of other actual and proposed ones on Deep Creek) on my website, dimesy.com.

The Narrows of Deep Creek was one of Meshach Browning’s favorite fishing spots.  He was one of the earliest settlers of what would become Garrett County in the early 1800’s and wrote a fascinating account of his life and times titled “Forty-Four Years of the Life of a Hunter”. When his wife Mary was craving a mess of trout to fry up in fresh butter, Meshach headed to the Narrows of Deep Creek to catch them, where he wrote “success was certain”.  The Deep Creek Lake Lions Club has a great historical exhibit on Browning’s life and times at the nearby McHenry Community Park.  You can find out more about all the other great stuff and the park the club runs here: deepcreeklions.org.

 For those of you who have docks in this area, you may gripe about the rocks and steepness of the lakefront, but one advantage is that there is almost always enough water to float your dock.  As the Membership VP for the Property Owners’ Association of Deep Creek Lake, I often hear stories from owners in the southern end of the lake who have to pull their docks in August in some years.  So, even if lake levels aren’t a big issue for your property the POA does a great job representing lake are owners, and I’d recommend joining if you’re not already a member.  It’s just $30 per year and you can go online to deepcreeklakepoa.com to learn more.

I bet you’re asking yourself, “Isn’t this letter just an ad for his maps and real estate business?”. Yeah, it sure is, but hopefully it’s got some heart and value added.  But since it is ad, here are some items I’m obligated to say.  If your property is currently listed with another real estate professional, the letter is not intended to solicit the offerings of other Brokers. All information in this letter including but not limited to market information, mapping and history is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

With that out of the way, I do hope you’ll consider checking out my maps or consulting with me for your real estate needs. If you’re selling, or even just wondering what your property is worth, now’s still a great time to do it.  If you know someone who’s looking to buy (maybe even yourself), there are still good rates out there to help make that happen.  

But I’d be happy to hear from you on any of the other items in here, too! I love to hear stories, get corrections on claims I’ve made or help others learn more and connect with our special slice of heaven.

Hope to see you out and about on the lake! For more info on items in this letter, a good place to start is my personal website, dimesy.com or just contact me by phone or email below.  

Best regards,

Chris

Garrett County Gazette, Summer 2022

View this email in your browserWelcome to the first edition of the Garrett County Gazette.  I’m Chris Nichols, your guide to helping you find out what’s going on, what’s coming up and interesting tidbits from the area. Let’s jump right in!Deep Creek Lake Lions hosts Blind Camper ProgramThe Deep Creek Lake Lions Club hosted visually impaired children and their families from around the state for camping and recreation in the Deep Creek Lake area at the end of July.For nearly 30 years, the club has been hosting blind children for both summer and winter programs that emphasize personal growth and confidence-building through fun activities such as snow skiing and water sports. These are great programs that not only benefit the visually impaired kids, but also their families and also the volunteers, main of who are high school students. 

For more information on the Deep Creek Lake Lions Club, check out their websiteThe Campers and their families enjoy some fun time on the waterBroadford Park Trails celebrates grand openingThe Garrett County Coyotes, town officials, and sponsors held a grand opening for the Broadford Park Trails at the July 4 Celebration in Broadford Park this past Sunday.

This new 2.5-mile multi-use trail system at Broadford Park is now open to provide any person who wishes to enjoy recreation via walking, hiking, jogging, running, biking, birding, and snowshoeing outdoors.

Not only is this a great new addition to our excellent inventory of trails in the county, but it’s a great accomplishment for our mountain biking team to have a regular place to practice. 

For more information, visit Oakland’s website. Visit the Coyotes Facebook page for more info on the team.Dignitaries, sponsors and team members of the Garrett County Coyotes Mountain Biking Team pose in front of the new trailhead sign. New video trail tours postedSpeaking of trails, I’ve posted a number of new video trail tours to my Youtube channel over the past few months, bringing the total up to 15. Each tour is 15 minutes on average and gives the viewer an idea of the terrain, intensity and cool stuff at each trail. My goal over the next year is to visit all 44 trail areas I have listed in my Ultimate Garrett County Adventure Map.  I’m excited to share my journeys on these trails and hope to get more people outside, too.
 Some shots from my video tours – off-the-beaten path waterfalls and overlooks!History CornerThe most recent issue of the Glades Star, the quarterly publication of the Garrett County Historical Society, commemorated the County’s 150th Anniversary with historical surveys of all 8 of the incorporated towns in the County.  One of the interesting tidbits I came away with was from Accident’s history.  Apparently, little old Garrett County has a solid connection to the Nobel Prize!  Edwin Mattison McMillan, a physicist who was a co-awardee of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (for his role discovering Plutonium) has roots in Accident.  His father , Dr. Edwin Harbaugh McMillan, was born in Accident and was reportedly a pharmacist there.

The GCHS helps to protect, preserve and promote our local history, and membership is just $25 per year! Edwin McMillan at the cyclotron at Berkeley Labs where he helped to discover PlutoniumUpcoming EventsSome cool events coming up: – have fun and support some great causes!
Mountain Maryland Dragon Boat Festival – SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 2022 AT 9 AM at the Broadford Lake. Amateur teams of all skill levels will race dragon boats, competing for the championship title. Spectators will enjoy the excitement of the race, as well as food and artisan vendors, music, and kids activities. A full day of family fun! Supports the Dove CenterDeep Creek Lake Art & Wine Festival – SEP 9 AT 5 PM – SEP 10 AT 6 PM at the Fairgrounds. Features beautifully handcrafted works by local and regional artisans, more than 200 wines to taste from Maryland and national wineries, and more benefiting HART for Animals, Inc. and Garrett Lakes Arts FestivalPersonal announcementOn the personal front, I’m excited to announce that I’m now affiliated with Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations and Sales as a licensed real estate agent.  I’m looking forward to helping to guide you to your real estate goals. Be happy to talk about buying or selling property or just chat with you about the market and the area. Check out my real estate agent website, or call or email me anytime! That’s it for this edition! Thanks for checking it out! If you’ve got ideas, suggestions or questions about the area, don’t hesitate to reach out!

-ChrisCopyright © 2022 Chris Nichols, real estate agent, All rights reserved.
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