Maryland DNR closes three off-highway trails

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has permanently closed three of the state’s off-highway vehicle trails, according to a DNR press release.

The Green Ridge trail in the Green Ridge State Forest, the Poplar Lick trail in the Savage River State Forest and the Chandler trail in the Pocomoke River State Forest have all been shut off following the completion of a forest certification audit. The three trails had been temporarily closed pending the completion of the audit, which was part of the state’s effort to obtain dual certification of the three western Maryland State Forests. The certification will protect the $950 million western state forest product industry, which employs 9,200 people.

The trails were closed as a result of environmental assessments conducted as part of the audit.

“These trails were built and sited decades ago and long before the current trend of riders and riding machine options,” DNR State Forester Steven Koehn said in the release. “The locations of the trails are not sustainable in their current configuration, and they cannot be reconfigured to protect the environmental features located on these lands. We came to fully understand these facts as we reviewed all of our state forest management activities in preparation for a statewide forest certification audit in late April. We were not surprised that the forest audit confirmed these particular ORV trails were unsustainable.”

The DNR is seeking alternative trails for OHV riders and using the closures as an opportunity to work more closely with the OHV community. Options for alternative trails include privately owned sites with “ready to ride” trails that could be purchased or leased by the DNR and/or partners or public land locations. The DNR will formally appoint an Off-Road Vehicle Stakeholder Workgroup by June 1.

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