Protectors of the Lake: Public and Private Organizations Working to Preserve Deep Creek Lake and its Watershed

Edited by Mike Tumbarello, with contributions from Grant Callery, David Myerberg and various other sources

July was officially Lakes Appreciation Month and we in the Deep Creek Lake watershed have a lot to appreciate.  From the beauty of the lake, to the serenity of our mountain area, to the numerous activities on and near our lake, we truly have a lot to be thankful for.  This Cover Story is intended as an informational piece and an effort to acknowledge the efforts of those individuals and organizations that have taken it upon themselves to help nurture and preserve our great ecosystem.

While there are too many individuals to mention and also a number of worthy for-profit and non-profit entities dedicated to preserving and protecting Deep Creek Lake, Deep Creek Times has chosen to feature a few here.  In fact, parts of this Cover Story were submitted by the organizations profiled, and at our request. Other material was “pulled” from available information on the Internet and elsewhere.

So here goes our small token of appreciation and acknowledgment to all those dedicated to protecting Deep Creek Lake and its watershed.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources/Watershed Management Plan (source: DNR website, with edits and additions):

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Garrett County have partnered to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan for Deep Creek Lake. The Plan recommends guidelines to protect the popular lake-area. Click here to review the agreement establishing this partnership. The Plan development was announced at the 2013 State of the Lake meeting on July 24th at Garrett College in McHenry.

The intent of the Deep Creek Lake Watershed Management Plan is to serve as a comprehensive, best practices guide to ensure that one of Maryland’s most visited, revenue-generating sites is protected far into the future. In addition to protecting the lake’s sensitive natural resources, the plan addresses water quality and recreational activities like swimming, fishing, boating and scenic viewing.

The plan has been developed with input from stakeholders and proposes recommendations for policy changes, restoration actions and public outreach needed to achieve both immediate and long-term benefits. It identifies existing water quality and environmental conditions, looks at future conditions, identifies needs to assess pollution sources and proposes strategies for addressing identified concerns.

While there has been some discussion and debate around this plan and its implementation, along with the roles and responsibilities of the state, it is important to note the formal and important role the Maryland Department of Natural Resources plays in the lake area.  Here’s a link to the Maryland DNR’s website for more insight on their mission and their scope of responsibilities and programs: http://dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Deep Creek Watershed Foundation (source: Deep Creek Watershed Foundation):

“The Deep Creek Watershed Foundation is moving full speed ahead,” Foundation president David Myerberg declared this week.

“The Deep Creek Watershed covers a huge area,” Myerberg said. “It has a lake, farms, single family homes, roads, woods, hotels, retail businesses, and creeks. All of it has to work well together, and that’s what the Watershed Foundation is helping to make happen.”

Working in public-private partnerships, the non-profit Watershed Foundation is joining with the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Environment (MDE), Garrett County, and Brookfield Renewable Power (which owns and operates the dam on Deep Creek Lake), to preserve and protect the watershed now and for generations to come.

The Watershed Foundation was created by a group of concerned Garrett County residents and homeowners to help realize the unfunded needs set out in the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan. The plan, developed by DNR and Garrett County in 2014, was approved in 2016 after months of meetings, fact-gathering and open discussions.

“The generous financial support we were given from the very start has let us hit the ground running,” Myerberg said.

Begun in 2016 with a $100,000 grant from Ted Giovanis in memory of his wife, Jayne Koskinas, and managed by an all-volunteer board of directors, the Watershed Foundation has received other contributions ranging from $100 through $10,000 from generous donors.

These donations have allowed the Foundation to give $97,000 to hire a private engineering firm to develop a technological approach to allow MDE, DNR and Brookfield Renewable Power to anticipate and equitably allocate water that comes into Deep Creek Lake from the watershed and other sources; $10,000 a year to help maintain MDE’s doser that remediates acid drainage from abandoned mines into Cherry Creek, a major tributary into Deep Creek Lake; and $6,000 to help pay, along with Brookfield Renewable Power, for DNR’s study that so far has assured that zebra mussels are not in Deep Creek Lake; as well as sponsoring University of Maryland Extension programs on how property owners in the watershed can manage stormwater runoff.

About the doser, Myerberg said, “This partnership supports MDE in the work that’s needed to keep the water running without the devastating acidity that flows out of those old mines.” Describing the water allocation effort, he said, “Having an independent, experienced business assemble all the available information about environmental factors on the watershed, and data on water-flow was important to us.” The goal, he continued, was to be sure they would have a reliable tool for giving the state agencies and the power company real-time information on how much water the lake will have, and allow them to confidently provide for its use.

The Watershed Foundation was led by Pat Franc as president during the first years of its existence. “Pat did a yeoman’s job guiding the Foundation through our developmental phase,” said Myerberg. Other members of the Board of Directors are Monty Pagenhardt, Bob Hoffmann, Marie Dray, Paul Weiler, Doug Mohler, Nina Beitzel, Karen Smith, and Elizabeth Georg. Advisors to the board are Susie Crawford, Pat Franc, Lulu Gonella, Nicole Christian, Morgan France, Ashley Bodkins, Steve Green, Kristen Skeweris, Barbara Hafer, and Barry Weinberg.

On the horizon for the Watershed Foundation are ventures suggested by the combined state and county Administrative Council, DNR, MDE and projects highlighted by the Watershed Management Plan. “Giving to the Watershed Foundation is a terrific way for people who care about our wonderful watershed to make a difference in keeping it marvelous for years and years to come,” Myerberg said. He noted that donations can be made at the Foundation’s website, www.deepcreekwatershedfoundation.org and that these are tax deductible.

Property Owners’ Association of Deep Creek Lake: (source: Grant Callery, Editor Deep Creek Dispatch)

The Property Owners’ Association of Deep Creek Lake, Inc. was chartered by the State of Maryland in 1949 and grew out of ‘Deep Creek Lake Association’, founded sometime prior to 1938. The POA is the oldest and largest organization advocating for the interests of the stake holders of Deep Creek Lake. Membership fees are a “bargain” at just $30 per year and all residents, HOA’s and others interested in lake affairs are invited to join. Membership information can be found on the POA website at – www.deepcreeklakepoa.com.

The POA was formed to serve as the representative organization for lake residents. Over time that service has taken many forms including advocating for the members with county, state and federal officials, representing members’ interests on various community leadership boards, contributing to community initiatives and always maintaining communication with the membership on issues of importance for quality of life at the lake and the entire watershed.

As a tax-exempt corporation, the POA strives to be an open, transparent and responsive organization. Additionally, the POA goes to great lengths to assure that information passed on to members is vetted for accuracy and is timely. It holds general membership meetings twice a year that are open to the public as well as Board meetings that are open to the POA membership.

Directors volunteer their services, and 100% of the membership dues directly support the POA mission. The Board is elected by the members and over the years the leadership of the POA has forged long-term and close working relationships with all local, county and state entities having responsibility for issues impacting Deep Creek Lake. POA Board members currently serve in leadership capacities with a broad range of organizations including the DCL Policy Review Board, Garrett Lakes Arts Festival, The Deep Creek Watershed Foundation, Deep Creek Lions Club, Garrett College Foundation, numerous HOA Boards as well as other organizations throughout Garrett County. Throughout the years, the major function of the POA continues to be keeping our membership informed on issues affecting property owners. The POA publishes a newsletter, The Deep Creek Dispatch which they deliver electronically or in written form if members so desire. With the move into the information age technology has enabled the POA to provide ongoing communication beyond quarterly newsletters. They now send “eBlasts” to members for timely notices and updates and these communications can alert members on urgent matters as well as provide rumor control on others.

In addition to email communications, the POA has a robust website. The site contains answers to FAQs about lake use, regulations, resources and specific functions of the POA. The POA has been a sponsor of the 4th of July fireworks at Deep Creek Lake. The POA contributes to the After-Prom event for both Garrett County High Schools and participates in the Deep Creek Lion’s Club Boat Parade in support of the Lion’s Club Blind Skier’s program. They are dedicated to keeping their members updated on issues important to Deep Creek Lake property owners including wake surfing regulations, dock regulations and the State Lake Funding and Restoration Fund. The Winter 2019 issue of the Dispatch was dedicated almost entirely to educating members about the upcoming renewal of the Water Appropriations Permit. The POA is dedicated to supporting the long-term viability of the lake as a sustainable recreational facility for all property owners and others who enjoy the beauty of this treasured resource.

Friends of Deep Creek Lake (FoDCL) (source: Friends of Deep Creek Lake website)

Friends of Deep Creek Lake promotes stewardship, conservation and restoration of Deep Creek Lake and its watershed. FoDCL is a watershed organization reflecting the fact Deep Creek Lake is a component of an evolving watershed-wide eco-system.  Sustainability of the lake must be based on research, assessment, planning and program implementation using the broader watershed approach. MD Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin articulated the same perspective recently when he urged the County Commissioners to “adopt a broad watershed approach”.

Their work relies on volunteers, extensive contributions for their Working Board and an unpaid Director. Friends of Deep Creek Lake is incorporated as a non-profit organization with the primary source of financial support from individuals. Business donors have made direct contributions and have been generous with in-kind support as well. FoDCL have been successful in receiving various grants to support their work with grant sources including the Center for Watershed Protection, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Constellation Energy, Garrett County Civic Club, and Exxon-Mobil. To learn more about The Friends of Deep Creek Lake, including how to donate, please go to their Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfDCL/

While this was one of our longer Cover Story articles, it could have been much longer and included many more individuals and organizations involved in protecting Deep Creek Lake and its watershed.  We thank all of you and please, please, please, keep up all of your great efforts that benefit all that live or visit our watershed.

Oakland: Close by the Lake and Worth the Visit

Special to Deep Creek Times by Michelle Ross (with Mike Tumbarello)

While Deep Creek Times is very much about Deep Creek Lake and its watershed and environs, we are about Garrett County and try from time-to-time to bring nearby events, features, and locations to our readers’ attention.  This month, we cover the small town of Oakland.  Oakland has a rich history, some interesting and fun destinations and can provide a nice change-up to the immediate lake-area for visitors and locals alike.

The Town of Oakland is a small town in Garrett County, Maryland near Deep Creek Lake.  Oakland is the county seat and hosts a wide variety of shopping, dining, services, history, trails and parks and was one of the first designated Main Streets in Maryland and has an Arts and Entertainment District.  It truly is an eclectic mix of old and new.

There are so many things people love about the Town of Oakland, one of them being its small-town charm and friendly nature.  “I say it all the time; Oakland is one of the most giving communities I have ever seen.  It is not just the businesses or the residents, it is everyone.  It is truly amazing how the community pitches in to help each other,” says Michelle Ross, Oakland Business Coordinator. Oakland is a wonderful place to live for so many other reasons as well.

Oakland has great public schools with small classroom sizes in rural communities, with outdoor learning opportunities.  Garrett County Schools offer competitive athletic, tech, and recreational programs.  It offers accelerated learning opportunities as well as skilled trade pathways. According to RewardExpert, Garrett County Public Schools is ranked as the 4th best public-school system in the Northeast region of the United States.  Garrett College, 20 minutes from Oakland, offers 2 years of free tuition to graduating Garrett County students!  Not bad for a small (population-wise) county tucked-away in the beautiful mountains of western Maryland.

Oakland also offers a wide variety of professional, entrepreneurial and skilled trade opportunities for those looking for stable employment.  Another perk of living and visiting Oakland is the lack of traffic congestion.  You can go 30 miles in 30 minutes!  Plus, Oakland communities are clean and safe.  Oakland maintains very low crime rates and residents have the luxury of the town with its own police department, water department, sewer department, and street department.

The Town of Oakland owns and operates Broadford Recreation Area which has a volleyball and basketball court, swimming area, five pavilions available for rent, grills, picnic areas, playgrounds, and a boat launch.  Non-motorized boats are the only boats allowed on the lake which make it excellent for fishing and relaxation.  Oakland is also only 10 minutes from Swallow Falls, Herrington Manor State Park, and Deep Creek Lake. Special note: If you are reading this and have not yet been to Muddy Falls at Swallow Falls State Park, you need to check it out.

Oakland offers many ways to indulge in healthy living.  It has several walking trails that are maintained by the town.  It has the Mountain Fresh Farmer’s Market two days a week where fresh meats, eggs, vegetables, and fruits are in abundance as well as homemade desserts and soaps, and gifts.  It operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 am-1:00 pm June-October in the Mountain Fresh Pavilion downtown.  Garrett Regional Medical Center offers exceptional health care.  They are able to offer a number of services in our rural area due to their affiliation with WVU Medicine in Morgantown, WV.  Oakland is also the hub of specialty services, rehab services, dental and vision professionals.

Oakland is a very active community with year-round events that coincide with all four seasons and is most well-known for its stunning fall foliage and has been recognized in many national publicans for such. There is little to no humidity and the average temperature for the summer is 75 degrees.  There is a wide variety of outdoor activities that will benefit your mind and spirit including horseback riding, hiking, biking, swimming, climbing, snow and water skiing.  If outdoor recreation is not your thing there is a lot of history in this small town.  There is remarkable architecture including our 1884 Queen Anne Style train station that has been turned into the Oakland B&O Museum, the Garrett County Historical Society Museum, and the Transportation Museum, all worthy of a family visit.

Oakland hosts a wide variety of events throughout the year, most of which are free to the public. Some of the events include Winter Fest, the Winter Fest Wine Walk, Kick Off to Summer Event and Beer Walk, the Little Yough Summer Music Festival, Pocket Park movies, the Autumn Glory Festival, and A Great Small Town Christmas.  Check out our Upcoming Events section for more details.

Oakland’s downtown offers a variety of quaint shopping and dining experiences.  “…if you yearn for small-town experiences — church services and events, chicken barbecues, a diner-style breakfast or lunch, shopping in a good hardware store or collectibles shop, annual parades — pay a visit to the Garrett County seat. Oakland, a few miles south of Deep Creek on Route 219, would be a contender for Maryland’s Most Small Town-like Small Town”. There is free parking offered to patrons in the Town Parking lot.  Each business is unique and special.  You can spend an entire afternoon walking in and out of these businesses. You can have dinner in one place, dessert in another place and finish with a drink and live music somewhere else.  The personal gifts found in our retail stores are sure to make the people in your life feel special or you can find a great present for yourself or your home.  The allure is perhaps best stated by visitor Delonta Hicks, “All of my years coming to Deep Creek Lake, I never went past the Walmart. I love the small town, it felt just like home. 🙂 I will be visiting again. :)”

If you have not had a chance to visit Oakland, Maryland, make sure you do.  You will not be disappointed. If you visit here and love it, let us help you figure out how you can make this your permanent home. Here’s a list of a few select locations for you to visit, but there’s many more (check Deep Creek Times Business and Restaurant Directories along with Upcoming Events for additional ideas). Why not drive down some day, park the car and explore? Tell them Deep Creek Times sent you:

Book Mark’et and Antique Mezzanine – Mike’s favorite area bookstore

Englanders Antiques & Grill – An eclectic mix of collectibles, antiques and over-the-counter food and ice cream (on Alder Street, no website)

FlipSide Music – Vinyl records, rock-n-roll memorabilia and much more make this worth the trip

Garrett County Arts Council Gallery Shop – A great store with affordable, locally produced arts

Garrett County Historical Society – A great place to learn about the county and its past

Garrett County Transportation Museum – Some very cool items on display including early snowmobiles

Grand Central Furniture – They have two locations, one near the lake and one downtown Oakland

Oakland B&O Museum – Recently restored locomotive and lots of history here

SipSide Lounge – A new addition to downtown Oakland and worth the wait for the great atmosphere and carefully crafted cocktails. Try their strawberry Moscow Mule!

Photo of SipSide Lounge:

 

 

 

 

The Civic Club of Oakland, Maryland

Courtesy of Lakefront Magazine

In 1911, a group of women in Oakland, MD gathered in the center of town to clean up the streets. They borrowed wagons and recruited volunteers for the project. They picked up thirty-nine wagonloads of trash which inspired them to form the Civic Club of Oakland. At that time, they dedicated the Club to community improvement. In the last 108 years, the Club’s vision has expanded and is now: “To promote and support the charitable, humanitarian, educational, environmental, artistic, and cultural efforts of the individual and the community and to enrich the lives of Club members through volunteerism.”

Garrett County Civic Club

Throughout the years members of this club have run polio clinics, sponsored women returning to college, helped build houses, organized the Garrett County fair, rolled bandages during both world wars, supported the Red Cross, wrote and published a cookbook, and raised money for charity. But they didn’t stop there. These ladies formed the first public free library in the county; gathered clothing, food baskets and coal for needy families; and encouraged women to vote. In the early years Civic Club members routinely campaigned for better sanitation, better milk in the schools and a wider range of public health services. Civic Club members have planted trees, cleared hiking paths, and been involved in watershed conservation in the Deep Creek Lake area. Members have taken on the causes of juvenile justice, abused women, special needs children, cancer prevention, and Hitler in Europe. In the last century the Civic Club of Oakland supported playgrounds for neighborhood children, the Boy and Girl Scouts, tuberculosis and polio clinics, Garrett Memorial Hospital, a Mother’s Club, and CARE packages for our soldiers in Korea.

Today, the sixty-two members of the Civic Club of Oakland carry on many of these traditions. Our major fund raiser is the Antique, Vintage and Maker Faire held at the Oakland Community Center (formerly the Armory) during Autumn Glory. This event includes vendors and makers from 4+ states, the Civic Club Café, a huge Bake Sale and a cash prize raffle. We donate all money raised back to scholarships and not for profit organizations in Garrett County. In March of 2019 we awarded over $13,000.00 divided among 27 organizations. Many of these groups are small, all are local, some receive very little additional funding.

Garrett County Civic ClubOne of our other major programs is “Warm the Children” in cooperation with our local newspaper, The Republican. Together we raise money to buy new jackets, boots, and other warm clothing for children in need. Last year our volunteers shopped with individual families to select and purchase clothing for 369 children. Our club members also wrote thank you notes to 313 donors.

Other current volunteer efforts include Habitat for Humanity, several scholarships for local students, mentoring elementary students, crafting 360 tray favors four times a year for nursing home residents and Meals on Wheels clients, a Book Club, staffing the gift shop at the Treasure Chest at the Lighthouse. We actively support the Dove Center, Garrett Regional Medical Center, and international students at Garrett College.

 

 

 

The Civic Club of Oakland meets 10 times a year from March to December on the last Tuesday of the month. April and October are evening meetings so that our employed members can attend. July is a picnic and December is a holiday party. Each meeting features a guest speaker or other interesting presentation. We welcome new members through out the year. Anyone interested in attending may contact the Club at gfwc.oakland@yahoo.com or www.civicclubofoaklandmd.com.

We also have a Face Book page: Civic Club of Oakland. Our June 25 meeting will focus on welcoming anyone interested in the Civic Club. We’d love to have you join us!

Healthy at the Lake

People live, own second homes or visit Deep Creek Lake and environs for a number of reasons. Some come for the beauty, others for the outdoor adventures and still others just to relax and unwind. I thought I would take a look at the health benefits – albeit loosely defined – of the Deep Creek Lake area.

While I (Mike) have taken an approach to list the top “healthy reasons” to experience the lake area – based on informal research, observation, insight from others and also my own experiences, I do recognize that the Deep Creek Lake area holds allure for many based on a number of personal reasons and motivations.  With all that said, here’s my personal take of the top 10 health-related reasons to “hang at the lake.”

  1. The lake itself – The lake and its waters can definitely “calm one’s soul” even as they raise our pulse as we swim, boat, fish, kayak, play on the shore or just sit and observe the sunrise or sunset from our deck
  2. The mountains and trees – There’s a feeling of majesty and a greater purpose as one looks out at the beautiful mountains that surround the lake. Trees give oxygen and they also give us a connectedness with the earth.
  3. The cool, crisp, clean air – Even in the summer, the air around Deep Creek lake just feels cooler and cleaner. In winter, cool air can be invigorating. In summer, the cooler air can be rejuvenating.
  4. The chance to just “get away” from it all – We live in stressful times and many of us have stressful lives. The Deep Creek lake area provides a chance to break “the cycle of stress” and rejuvenate by slowing down (or speeding up if you are into adventure sports) and hitting the reset button.
  5. The state parks and other natural destinations – We are blessed to have a number of great state parks in the area. These parks help us experience the “wilderness” and its flora and fauna while still being close to civilization and career.
  6. The trail system and the hiking – Garrett County has an amazing trail system and it is one that keeps expanding and serves all our needs, from those seeking to stroll in the forest to those avid hikers, bikers and runners taking it “to the next level.”
  7. The downhill and cross-country skiing – While we are not the Alps or Aspen, we are accessible, affordable and have abundant skiing opportunities, especially for families seeking to bond on the slopes or trail.
  8. The great whitewater rafting – In addition to the Yough river whitewater opportunity (out of Friendsville and other locations) we have the ASCI man-made course that was the site of the 2014 Canoe and Kayak world championships. Whether you are a pro or a beginner, there is an opportunity take off down the river.
  9. The restaurants and other indoor activities – Not only do we have a variety of great food to greet the palate of almost anyone, but you don’t have to cook it yourself. You can eat healthy or indulge on vacation while you chill with friends and family.
  10. The healthcare ecosystem – This is the only formal health-related listing here. While the others can help us get or stay happy and healthy, we may just need to utilize the services of the healthcare ecosystem.  Whether a massage at the lake, a day at the spa, a quick visit to a healthcare professional or a visit to the hospital, the Deep Creek Lake area and Garrett County have a number of solutions to meet your need.

Well, there you have it.  Mike’s list of the top health-related reasons to visit, or live, at the lake.  I’ve included a few links below to provide another layer of insight and information.  What is your top health-related reason for coming to the lake?  Send me your thoughts at info@deepcreektimes.com.   Have a healthy, happy May and rest of the year.

Here’s a select few links for further exploration:

Deep Creek lake State Park – https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/deepcreek.aspx

Bill’s Marine Service – https://www.billsmarineservice.com/

New Germany State Park – https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/newgermany.aspx

Garrett Trails – http://www.garretttrails.org/

Wisp resort – https://www.wispresort.com/

ASCI – http://www.adventuresportscenter.com/

Dining Guide – https://deepcreektimes.com/area-dining-guide/

Business Guide – https://deepcreektimes.com/business-guide/

Lodging Guide – https://deepcreektimes.com/lodging-guide/

Garrett Regional Medical Center – https://www.grmc-wvumedicine.org/

Nonprofits Enriching Garrett County Lives and Community – Part 1

Maryland has almost 33,000 nonprofit enterprises, or about five and a half nonprofits per 1,000 people. That is not surprising based on Maryland’s location next to the nation’s capital and its affluent, educated population.  For contrast, California has more than 160,000 nonprofits, yet that large number represents “only” a little over four nonprofit enterprises per 1000 people.

What exactly is a nonprofit?  There are two principal types of non-profits: Tax exempt groups formed under section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code as “public charities” because they are formed for the “public benefit” and foundations (either community or private). Here’s a simple breakdown of nonprofit types and incidence by-type (Source: National Council of Nonprofits):

National Council of Nonprofits Infographic

Garrett County has a fairly large number of nonprofits, given its lack of population density and limited population (~30,000).  While estimates vary and it was difficult to obtain a consensus figure, there are over three dozen nonprofits that are members of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, at least eight non-profit schools in the county, at least 12 volunteer fire departments/rescue squads, and estimates by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation forecast the number to be well over 200 entities, employing over 1,000 individuals.

Regardless of the exact numbers, there are a number of Garrett County non-profits that are actively and visibly engaged in making our community a better place to live, helping those in need a providing stewardship for our great area natural resources, including Deep Creek Lake.  While we hope to delve into a few of our local nonprofits in part two of this article (which will appear in June or July), here’s a list of the nonprofits we could identify.  This list reads like a “who’s who” of area organizations that are actively and effectively engaged in our community.  Again, I hope to “dig-deeper” in our next installment and profile a few nonprofits and their leadership/employees for our readers.

Here’s the list. Note: this is not a 100% inclusive list and I welcome submissions of any I missed:

  • AAUW – Garrett Branch
  • AAUW Student Chapter
  • Appalachian Crossroads
  • Barn Quilt Association of Garrett County
  • Christian Crossing Thrift Shop
  • Cindy’s Fund
  • Civic Club of Oakland
  • Deep Creek Lake Lions
  • Deep Creek Watershed Foundation*
  • Dove Center
  • Engage Mountain Maryland
  • Friends of Deep Creek Lake
  • Friends of Ruth Enlow Library
  • Foster Appalachia
  • Garrett Choral Society
  • Garrett College Foundation, Inc. I Can Swim
  • Garrett Community Concert Band
  • Garrett County Arts Council
  • Garrett County Commission for Women
  • Garrett County Community Action
  • Garrett County Celtic Festival
  • Garrett County Habitat for Humanity
  • Garrett County Historical Society
  • Garrett County Humane Society
  • Garrett County Lighthouse
  • Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF)*
  • Garrett Mentors
  • Garrett Organization for the Handicapped
  • Garrett Trails
  • GEARS, Inc.
  • Grantsville Rotary
  • Greater Grantsville Business Association
  • HART for Animals* (Pick of the Litter Thrift Shop)
  • Home Builders Association of Western Maryland
  • Historic B&O Train Museum
  • Hospice of Garrett County
  • House of Hope
  • James Isaac House
  • Landon’s Library
  • Maryland 4-H Environmental Education and Camping Center
  • Nearly New Shop
  • Oakland-Mt. Lake Park Lions Club
  • Oakland Rotary
  • Our Town Theater
  • Property owners Association of Deep Creek lake
  • Reading Station, The
  • Ruth Enlow Library
  • Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
  • Special Olympics Maryland – Garrett County
  • John’s Lutheran Church
  • The Greater Cumberland Committee
  • United Way of Garrett County

* Advertising partner on Deep Creek Times

“Wildfulness” Podcast Brings New “Edutainment” Channel to Western Maryland

For our March cover story, we wanted to highlight Western Maryland’s first and only podcast dedicated to exploring the life, history, and culture of our region. It’s called “Wildfulness,” and while the name may not be one that is easily remembered, or rolls right off the tongue, it expresses what it’s producer/creator calls “the essence of the magic of being in the mountains of Garrett and Allegany counties – the wilderness and natural beauty, the connection to an important part of our nation’s history and heritage, and the state of ‘mindfulness’ that seems to come more easily here than in a lot of other places.”

Lisa Cole began the podcast in July of 2017, and now with 46 episodes on a wide variety of topics, and two mini-grants from the Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area, the effort is really coming into its own. Each episode is painstakingly researched (often with the help of her history-major son), and the sound design features bits of songs, music clips, sounds, and audio clues and cues that help make it an immersive experience. Her favorite episodes include a two-part feature on The Legacy of Coal, a feature-length episode on the B&O Train Station in Oakland, the photography of Leo Beachy, the history of barn quilts, and most recently, the fascination and magic of the Cranesville Swamp, featuring an extensive interview with an environmental ecologist from the Nature Conservancy. She also produces episodes on new businesses in the area, such as the one on the Monkey Business Aerial Adventure Park. Upcoming episodes will feature maple sugaring in Western MD, springtime birding tips and tricks, and the 3-day Chautauqua event in Mountain Lake Park this July.

The recording process is the final step in a long process of planning, info gathering & researching, interviewing, scripting, sound design, etc., followed by extensive post production.

It all started when Lisa purchased a vintage, 1955, 900 sq ft cabin in Deep Creek in October of 2012, one week before Hurricane Sandy hit, and while that was not an experience she says she would like to repeat, the six and one-half year journey since then has been an amazing adventure that has brought a lot of learning, joy, and new relationships. In addition to beefing up her audio engineering skills (she was a music major in college but had some “upgrading” to do), she has become familiar with many of the local sights, sounds, and must-see features of Western Maryland, as she continuously works to share the magic of these mountains with others, through the Wildfulness podcast, “a one-stop vacation station that will connect you to these mountains and their treasures.” Listeners say they enjoy the podcast because they can listen on their earbuds while doing other activities, such as walking, working out, driving, or even house cleaning. (If you haven’t yet caught the podcast bug, here’s a great article from the Huffington Post on why you should!)

To listen to the Wildfulness podcast, subscribe through iTunes, Google Play, or any of the major podcast or music streaming platforms, like Spotify and Alexa. Detailed web-based shownotes include videos, photos and transcriptions of the audio.  Lisa welcomes suggestions for episodes (you can leave a voicemail on the shownotes website) and is currently seeking sponsors as well. Currently publishing bi-weekly. Contact her via email at lisamaureencole@gmail.com.

And it all started with a humble, 1955 cabin.

Deep Creek Lake Watershed Unveils Inaugural Actions

“The Deep Creek Watershed Foundation has just completed its inaugural projects,” announced Foundation president David Myerberg this week. “And we have our website at www.deepcreekwatershedfoundation.org.”

“The Deep Creek Watershed covers a huge area,” Myerberg said. “It has farms, single-family homes, roads, woods, hotels, retail businesses, creeks and a lake. All of it has to work well together, and that’s what the Watershed Foundation has set out to do.”

Working in public-private partnerships, the non-profit Watershed Foundation is joining with the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Environment (MDE), Garrett County, and Brookfield Renewable Power (which owns and operates the dam on Deep Creek Lake), to preserve and protect the watershed now and for generations to come.

The Watershed Foundation was created by a group of concerned Garrett County residents and homeowners to help realize the unfunded needs set out in the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan. The plan, developed by DNR and Garrett County in 2014, was approved in 2016 after months of meetings, fact-gathering and open discussions.

“The generous financial support we were given from the very start has let us hit the ground running,” Myerberg said.

Begun in 2016 with a $100,000 grant from Ted Giovanis in memory of his wife, Jayne Koskinas, and managed by an all-volunteer board of directors, the Watershed Foundation has received donations ranging from $100 through $2,500, and recently received $10,000 contributions from two other generous donors. These donations have allowed the Foundation:

• To give $10,000 a year to help maintain MDE’s doser that remediates acid mine drainage from abandoned mines into Cherry Creek, a major tributary into Deep Creek Lake.
• Along with Brookfield Renewable Power, to pay for DNR’s study of the suitability of DCL as a habitat for zebra mussels
• In cooperation with the University of Maryland Extension programs on to how property owners in the watershed how they can manage stormwater runoff; and
• To hire a private engineering firm to develop a technological approach to allow MDE, DNR and Brookfield Renewable Power to anticipate, and equitably allocate water that comes into Deep Creek Lake from the watershed and other sources.

About the doser, Myerberg said, “This partnership supports MDE in the work that’s needed to keep the water running without the devastating acidity that flows out of those old mines.” Describing the water allocation effort he said, “having an independent, experienced business assemble all the available information about environmental factors on the watershed, and data on water-flow was important to us.” The goal,” he continued, “was to be sure they would have a reliable tool for giving the state agencies and the power company real-time information on how much water the lake will have, and allow them to confidently provide for its use.”

The Watershed Foundation was led by Pat Franc as president for most of its existence. “Pat did a yeoman’s job guiding the Foundation through our developmental phase,” said Myerberg. Other members of the Board of Directors are Monty Pagenhardt, Bob Hoffman, Marie Dray, Paul Weiler, Ian Smith, Doug Mohler, Nina Beitzel, and Elizabeth Georg. Advisors to the board are Susie Crawford, Pat Franc, Lulu Gonnella, Nicole Christian, Morgan France, Ashley Bodkins, Steve Green, Kristen Skeweris, Barbara Hafer, Lee Ann Knapp and Barry Weinberg.

On the horizon for the Watershed Foundation are ventures suggested by the combined state and county Administrative Council, DNR, MDE and projects highlighted by the Watershed Management Plan. “Giving to the Watershed Foundation is a terrific way for people who care about our wonderful watershed to make a difference in keeping it marvelous for years and years to come,” Myerberg said. He noted that donations can be made at the Foundation’s website, www.deepcreekwatershedfoundation.org.

GLAF presents Chautauqua Then and Now coming July 2019

–by Mary Callis, Executive Director, Garrett Lakes Arts Festival

“So said President Theodore Roosevelt of the education movement known as Chautauqua. The origins of Chautauqua (pronounced “Shuh-TAW-Kwa”) can be found in the Chautauqua Lake area of southwestern New York State, where the movement began in 1874. Initially organized by Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and businessman Lewis Miller as a Methodist summer retreat, Chautauqua quickly grew to be a popular source of adult education as the lectures presented the latest thinking in politics, economics, literature, science, and religion.

Chautauqua by the National Park Service

Courtesy of National Park Service.

By 1900, more than 400 summer communities had developed from the original Chautauqua model, and touring companies presented lectures, debates, and performances at sites throughout the country. However, the growing popularity of radios, movies, and cars in the early twentieth century led to the gradual decline in the Chautauqua movement.

In Maryland, where the tradition dates back to the late nineteenth century when Chautauquas took place at Mountain Lake Park in Garrett County and at Glen Echo Park in Montgomery County, Maryland Humanities launched the modern Chautauqua in 1995 at Garrett College. Since then, this popular program has spread to other parts of the state, educating and entertaining thousands of Marylanders every summer.” (from the Maryland Humanities website).

Chautauqua in Mt. Lake Park, MD

Courtesy of the Maryland State Archives

GLAF (Garrett Lakes Arts Festival), Garrett College, and Maryland Humanities worked together in 1995 to restart Maryland Chautauqua. To celebrate the upcoming 25th modern day Maryland Chautauqua, GLAF, with help from a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust, will be returning to historic Mountain Lake Park July 5-7, 2019, with a three-day re-creation of Maryland’s early Chautauqua events.

This three-day celebration of the original Maryland Chautauqua will include a schedule of daily lectures, historical re-enactments, musical presentations, and more. Re-enactors of notable historical figures from those earlier Chautauqua years will also be on hand to celebrate our return to earlier times. A special addition to this program will be the opportunity for participants to share their own personal stories and connections to the development of Mountain Lake Park and the Chautauqua influence.

While the daytime schedule will focus on re-creating and commemorating some of the earlier Chautauqua programs, the regular program for the 2019 Maryland Humanities Chautauqua presented by GLAF will continue to be scheduled as evening performances, and those will also be held in Mountain Lake Park.  The Chautauquas were restarted in 1976 in North Dakota as a humanities program, incorporating the now-standard format of a monologue by a scholar/re-creator acting as a historical character, then interacting with the audience while still in-character, and then coming out of character to answer audience questions as a modern scholar. The Maryland Humanities Council restarted the Maryland Chautauqua at Garrett College in 1995 through the efforts of Steve Herman, former President of Garrett College, and was the only site in Maryland until 1999, when it began at Montgomery College. Presented through GLAF (Garrett Lakes Arts Festival), the Garrett County Chautauqua remains one of the highest attended venues in the Maryland Humanities Chautauqua line-up.

Garrett County has remained a leader of the Chautauqua Movement in Maryland, both in its nineteenth-century origins and in its modern resurgence.In July 2019, this small town in Garrett County hopes to recapture the magic and history of those first years.

The Deep Creek Short Synopsis Of 2019 Tax Changes

The following article was written by two members of the Quantum Financial Advisors (QFA) team especially for our Deep Creek Times readers. QFA is an advertiser on Deep Creek Times, with offices in the DC and Pittsburgh areas. We thought our readers might benefit from some of the insight and wisdom shared in this article as a way to help wrap up a successful 2018 and prepare for the coming new year. Happy holidays.

The Deep Creek Short Synopsis Of 2019 Tax Changes
By Andre Weisbrod and Michael Huber, QFA

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law on December 22, 2017 represents the most comprehensive piece of tax reform in thirty years. Most of its statutes took effect in January of 2018, meaning you’ll get your first look at how it affects your bottom line when you file your 2018 taxes next year. As friends of and contributors to the Deep Creek Times, we know that certain tax issues are of particular importance for the Deep Creek Lake community. With that, here are five key tax changes every Deep Creek resident ought to know.

1. Big Changes to State and Local Tax Deductions (SALT)
The standard deduction has been doubled to $12,000 (for individuals) and to $24,000 (for married couples filing jointly). Great news, right? Maybe not. The hike to the standard deduction is counterbalanced by a new $10,000 (for married couples filing jointly) cap on state and local income, sales and property tax deductions.

2. Mortgage Interest Deductions Get a Downsizing
Previous law dictated that homeowners who itemize their taxes could deduct mortgage interest payments on mortgages up to $1 million. Not so anymore, as the maximum deductible interest has been trimmed to mortgages up to $750,000. Importantly, this change is not retroactive so current homeowners will not be affected.

3. New Deductions for Pass-Thru Income on K-1
People who receive pass-thru income on K-1’s from businesses, investments, estates and trusts now get a 20% deduction (some limits apply) under new Section 199a.

4. Estate Tax Exclusion Soars
Under previous law, the estate tax of 40% applies when a multimillionaire transfers property to heirs. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubles the exclusion limit from $5.49 million (for individuals) and $11.2 million (for married couples) to $11.2 million and $22.4 million respectively.

5. Large Families Get a Break
The child tax credit is doubled to $2,000 with the refundable amount increased to $1,400.

6. Tax Bracket Shakeup
There are still seven tax brackets but the rates and bracket amounts have changed across the board. We’ve mapped out the changes below. Generically, tax rates have decreased for all.

Tax Bracket Changes

So, what does all this mean for our financial and investment plans? For some, it will mean tax deductions are less of a concern. For instance, those in lower tax brackets might favor Roth IRAs over traditional IRAs, and contributions to 401k plans might be adjusted downward to be no more than the maximum to get a matching contribution. The difference can be put into other kinds of investment accounts. The types of investments in taxable accounts should also be re-evaluated. Furthermore, there is cause to simplify existing estate plans. Frankly, a law of this breadth is cause to review all tax and financial plans.

One thing does not change. We want our financial decisions and investments to be as productive as possible. In this case, that means methodically adapting to the new laws without discarding still suitable long-term financial strategies and goals. Years as a Registered Investment Advisor have taught me to avoid letting the tax tail wag the investment dog.

Final thoughts: When filing your 2018 taxes this coming year it will likely be of added value to consult with a tax professional and investment representative to adjust how you take income and file taxes. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a broad bill that goes well beyond the six points detailed here. Preparation and understanding of these changes on a holistic level is key to an efficient filing.

For any questions about investment planning and the tax act, contact QFA at customerservice@qfainc.com or by phone at 301.296.6203.

2018 Tax Year Reform Highlights

Submitted by Boal & Associates

The 2018 tax year is quickly coming to an end and we would encourage all taxpayers to use the next few months to reach out to their tax preparer to review your situation to ensure that you are taking advantage of all of the opportunities that exist for 2018 and to further ensure that your withholding and estimated tax payments have been properly adjusted to account for the new 2018 tax reform.   The most recent tax reform act has been one of the largest in history, so it is important to be sure that your tax posture is in proper order going in to the end of the year.

On of the first items to address is that there is a lot of fraud going on right now with phone calls and emails from folks acting as if they are the IRS.  Please be aware that the IRS will NOT call or email you, they will contact you by way of mail, but they will never contact you by phone or email. 

We have summarized below a few of the major highlights of the new reform:

New Tax Rates and Brackets

There are seven new tax rate brackets for individuals 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%, all of which have been expanded to include more income at lower rates.  Most everyone will see a reduction in their overall income tax rate.  The favorable capital gain rates remain unchanged – 15% AND 20%.   The 3.8% Medicare Surtax on net investment income continues to exist.

Standard Deduction Increase

The standard deduction has been increased to $24,000 for Married Filing Joint, $18,000 for Head of Household and $12,000 for Single taxpayers.  Many folks that have been traditionally itemizing their deductions will be able to utilize this enhanced standard deduction.

Qualified Residential Mortgage Interest

Interest is now deductible on new acquisition debt on a primary or second residence on mortgages up to $750,000, down from $1,000,000.  The new limit generally applies to mortgage debt incurred after December 14, 2017. There is no longer a write-off for interest on home equity indebtedness after 2017 with certain exceptions.  Also, margin interest remains deductible as investment interest expense.

State and Local Income Taxes and Property Taxes

The deduction for state and local income taxes and property taxes is now capped at an aggregate amount of $10,000.  This will affect a lot of people in high income tax states and those with higher property taxes.

Sale of Principal Residence

The rule still applies that in order to exclude a gain on the sale of your principal residence you must have lived in the home at least 2 of the last 5 years.

Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions

The following deductions have been eliminated:  Moving expenses (except military), employee business expenses, brokerage and IRA fees, hobby expenses, tax preparation costs, theft losses, alimony for post-2018 divorce decrees, and personal casualty losses (unless in a presidentially declared disaster area).

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses remain deductible and are now subject to a 7.5% threshold instead of 10% for 2018.

Child Tax Credit Increased

The child tax credit is increased to $2,000 and the income phase-out limits have been increased to $400,000 for a married filing joint couple and $200,000 for all other taxpayers.  More folks will now be able to utilize the favorable child tax credit.

Health Insurance Mandate

The mandate for paying a fine if you don’t have qualified health insurance is repealed for years after 2018.  The mandate continues to apply for 2018.

BUSINESS TAX REFORM

Corporate Income Tax Rates 

Regular (“C Corporations”) will now pay a flat tax rate of 21%, much lower than the previous highest rate of 35%.  There is no longer a corporate AMT.

Pass-through Deduction

Sole proprietors, S Corporation shareholders and LLC members will now receive a 20% qualified business income deduction.  The break does phase-out for folks in professional service fields such as law, consulting, accounting and healthcare on income in excess of $315,000 for joint returns and $157,500 for single returns.  – realtors/brokers may be considered part of the professional service field -service is based on reputation.

Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 Expense

Bonus depreciation has been increased to 100% of the cost of the asset (in place of the previous 50%).  The final bill increases the amount of qualified property eligible for immediate expensing from $500K to $1 million per year under Section 179.  The bill also added the following items as eligible for this election:  Roofs, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning property and security systems.  This will allow for many assets to be written off immediately – keep in mind that Maryland has decoupled with this law.

Business Deductions Eliminated

The bill eliminated or reduced deductions for business entertainment, country club dues, the domestic production deduction and personal property like-kind exchanges.

This is just a broad-brush of the recent changes, we again encourage you to reach out sooner rather than later to your tax preparer to understand your tax posture for 2018.  Remember, January is usually too late to make changes.   If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us at (301) 334-4007 – we are glad to assist you.

Utilizing Covered Calls to Boost Your Retirement Income

A guest piece written by Quantum Financial Advisor‘s Joseph Rinaldi and Michael Huber:

Are you concerned that your portfolio income won’t cover your lifestyle? Retirement is supposed to be the time of enjoying new freedoms. That blissful period when worries about bills and the daily grind are traded out for time spent enjoying the beauty of the natural world in the company of friends and loved ones. However, the undulations of unsteady stock markets can seriously undermine this ideal. Inflation is once again rearing its ugly head and interest rates are ticking higher with it. Escalating global trade wars have not made the situation any easier. Against this backdrop, investors are being corralled into taking abnormal risk to achieve normal returns.

We find that these challenges are particularly relevant for retirees, given their greater demand for regular and reliable income. In light of this, our investment committee structures our Retirement Plus Accounts to utilize a financial instrument many outside the finance world are unfamiliar with. Writing covered calls against underlying stock positions allows us to utilize “volatility” and generate extra income on current assets held in a retirement account.

Here’s how it works in simple terms. If your stocks do well or trade flat (neither going up or down), you profit the amount you received from selling the call options (your synthetic dividend). If your stocks go down, you keep your synthetic dividend and don’t lose money unless the stock decreases by more than the amount of the synthetic dividend. In other words, selling the covered call options gives you a buffer. How big you want that buffer to be is entirely up to you. This strategy can become especially effective when it is applied to stocks that already pay a dividend. When structured correctly, selling covered calls on a dividend stock can leave you collecting two dividends on a single stock.

While this basic strategy can be applied by anyone, we employ a more sophisticated variance with our Retirement Plus Accounts. In technical terms, we use algorithmic analysis to execute “covered call writing” trades on well suited underlying assets. We then layer in a targeted short covered puts to boost income further. This structure is set up to generate income on a monthly basis, or at a minimum a quarterly basis.

Market Outlook 

We expect volatility to pick up in the short and mid term. Further, we expect both U.S. and global interest rates to rise. Both of these bellwethers support our expectation of significant disruptors to occur not only in the tech market but globally among our trading partners.

If you are interested in participating in our self-directed retirement account that works to transform your existing retirement portfolio into an income generator, email us at customerservice@qfainc.com or reach us by phone at 301-296-6203.

A Gran(d) Bike Ride

By Sarah Myers

From recreational cyclist to professional racers, we truly have some epic road and mountain biking here in Garrett County. Just a few weeks ago, I participated in the “Garrett’s Greatest 25” bike ride in the Garrett County Gran Fondo.

Gran Fondo is a type of bicycle ride that basically translates basically into “Big Ride”: A number of cyclists ride, not race, a marked route.

Have you been biking here in Garrett County? Have you seen these hills!?

Here is an excerpt from the Garrett County Gran Fondo website:

“Garrett County and the Deep Creek Lake area boast some of the finest and most challenging cycling in North America, and the Garrett County Gran Fondo has established itself as a premier North American Gran Fondo unsurpassed in challenge, scenery, and riding quality.

With seven Timed KOM Climbs covering 14.8 miles and 5400′ of elevation gain, the Garrett County Gran Fondo is the King of all Climbing Gran Fondos. No other Gran Fondo has more timed climbing!”

KOM is known as “king of the mountain” in cycling terminology where a rider is timed from the bottom of a climb to the top. There are various methods to calculating averages and awards for KOM but seven different timing mats were laid out in a methodical way across the course. It’s important to note that the timed climbs do not necessarily represent the hardest, steepest or longest climbs.

In my “25” ride, there was only one chance to be timed for KOM that was from the bottom of a climb to right before the finish line.

Here is the breakdown of the Gran Fondo rides from the website:

The “Diabolical Double” –  …on par with European climbing classics such as Etape du Tour, la Marmotte, and the classic Italian Gran Fondos. At 203K (126.2 miles) and over 16,500 feet of climbing, the Diabolical Double is an extreme challenge for even the most fit rider. Virtually all who have completed the Diabolical Double have considered it the hardest single day ride they have ever experienced.

The “Savage Century” – the Savage Century is an extremely challenging century ride, and with 105.8 miles and over 12,500 feet of climbing likely the hardest century ride in North America.

The “Masochistic Metric” – the Masochistic Metric is one-half the distance with one-half the climbing of the Diabolical Double at 64.8 miles and over 8000 feet of climbing. An extraordinary challenging ride itself, if you want to experience a true climbing epic, but 105 miles or 203K of it seems a bit excessive, then the Masochistic Metric is the ride for you.

The “Fabulous 44” – The Fabulous 44 is an excellent option for anyone looking for a longer, more challenging ride than the “Garrett’s Greatest 25” and wants a taste of the extremity of the three longer rides, but does not want to undertake the extreme challenge of the 100K, 100 miles, or 200K distances. The Fabulous 44 includes 42.6 miles and over 4500 feet of climbing.

The “Garrett’s Greatest 25” – A beautiful 25-mile ride along Deep Creek Lake and through the rolling Garrett County farmland, the Garrett’s Greatest 25 includes no major hills and just one of the seven Timed KOM Climbs.

Even though I didn’t sign up for a challenging ride by others’ standards, I signed up for the ride I thought I would enjoy – and enjoy I did.

Two years ago, I did the 44 ride and I remember the start gate much more vividly. The announcer says, “this ride is hard. If you are doing it because you think it will be easier than the other rides like the 63 and 100, you are wrong. It is not easier…. just shorter. If you want easier, there is no problem in waiting for the 25 ride.” Whoa.

It WAS a hard ride but I made it through… barely. Anyway, that’s the reason I was in the 25 this year.

The much harder rides began early in the morning on this Saturday, so the riders left informally gathering around the porta-potties and picnic tables late morning were ready for the 25 ride. The group of about 40 of us didn’t seem to have many nervous jitters; just ready for a nice Garrett County bike ride.

We began from Garrett College with the threat of some rain in big dark clouds behind us but it made for an awesome scene in the morning light. The first few miles, we sorted ourselves out and were able to ride single-file down Deep Creek Drive. Then, we crossed Route 219 and enjoyed the length of Rock Lodge Road.

I was taking my time and thoroughly enjoyed the Lakeside view. One of my favorite Deep Creek Lake spots! The first incline that can be considered a hill came into view… ahh, I pushed through and took some of my stress out on those pedals.

At this point, I was near a few others but most of the pack had separated. No competition; just a ride. Cruising down a large descent, I was able to join up with a fellow rider – it was pretty neat, and maybe a little scary, cruising at about 35mph side by side.

There is an aid station just a bit after getting onto Route 495; I believe it is about halfway on the 25 ride but only one of several aid stations along the other ride routes. Standing there enjoying a baggie of trail mix, it was truly inspiring to see athletes coming in off of the much longer rides utilizing the aid station and sharing their stories.

There were several young volunteers chanting “100+ to the right, 25 to the left” for the riders exiting the station.

After stretching my legs and having my snack, I was back on my way. On the back-half is where the rain began but I can’t say I was complaining. The temperature had warmed up over the last hour and there were a few more climbs to take care of; the rain was a refreshing shower.

I wasn’t really around many others at this point but I did play “leapfrog” with a few where I would pass them, then they would pass me, then I would pass them again. I think it’s a lot of fun to ride with others like this; I am sure I keep my pace this way.

Now for the last few miles, the 25 joins up with at least one the longer rides near Accident-Bittinger Road. I’m not sure but I think it is at least the 125 ride that comes through that way. I enjoy it but I’m sure it’s annoying to see those of us with relatively fresh legs going to town while others have been riding for hours by this point!

A little after the rides join, the only KOM on the 25 is on a tough climb at the bottom of Negro Mountain Road to Bumble Bee Road to near the finish line. On this climb (that seemed to take forever) the sun came back out, my jersey and shorts dried out for the most part and I was ready to finish strong!

I pulled back into the College with my best hey-that-was-easy smile and pretended to look like I had just done 125 miles!

Part of the ride price includes an awesome lunch so I sat with a few other finishers to swap stories and enjoy our pulled pork or chicken sandwiches. Of course, the topic at the table turned to how fortunate I am to live near some of the greatest biking climbs in the country!

It is true; we have excellent biking here! Come ride with me!

The Art and Science of Tipping

I am writing this month’s cover story on the art and science of “tipping.”  As the tourist season heats-up at the lake, it seems like an opportune time to bring up tipping, its history and even its nuances. As many of us locals, second homeowners and visitors alike experience and enjoy our beautiful area, we may be too caught-up in the fun to think much about this facet of our stay.  That’s where this article comes in.  I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on tipping, if there is such a person, but again, it seems an appropriate topic as we enter the busy season at the lake. So, here goes.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines tipping as “the act of giving an amount of money to someone who has provided a service, especially in a hotel or restaurant.” Simple enough.  But to me, tipping, at least in the United States, is the result of an implicit “contract” between customer and server.  The server provides a service, hopefully well, and in return the customer is expected to provide a gratuity, or monetary tip, to reward that service.

Tipping started in 17th century England, where customers in taverns slipped some money to servers “to insure promptitude” (T.I.P.).  Wealthy Americans brought the custom back to the Unites States in the 1800s, though there was a backlash against tipping in the late 18th century for a number of reasons. In present day America, tipping is an accepted and expected part of dining and other service experiences.  Yet, to this day, in other parts of the world, tipping is not expected, and that is dependent on the service delivered.  For example, both here and abroad, service providers from hair stylists, to massage therapists, to bar tenders, chamber maids, taxi drivers, delivery persons and luggage handlers often receive (and expect) a tip. This short cover story cannot cover all of these situations so I recommend you follow the links below, do some additional research and perhaps most effectively, observe and ask other patrons of establishments you patronize.

While it is important to note that many (most) service providers depend on tips to make a living, it is ultimately up to you, the customer to determine how much of a tip you wish to give.  Note that I did not say if to tip, as I believe service or wait staff and bartenders deserve something for their efforts. I use a simple rule: I generally give 20 percent of the pretax bill at a restaurant, I will lower it to 15 percent for sub-par service, and very rarely lower the tip further if there is a real attitude-related problem.  I am careful to make sure any problems are truly tied to a failure on the part of the server and not the “house” or kitchen.  I have also given tips of 35% on occasion if I receive great, friendly service and I sense a special need on the part of the server.

For other service providers I try to meet or exceed standard practices, whether it be a few dollars for a bell-hop or valet, 15 percent for a taxi driver, or homemade cookies for the mail delivery person.

Financial adviser Dave Ramsay has some good, simple advice, including, “when in doubt, be generous.” His “How to Tip in all Situations” web page is an easy read and recommended to any reader. I also find TripAdvisor’s “Tipping and Etiquette” web page to be helpful, as it also contains links to some other notable sites, including AARP and Emily Post.

We have covered a little tipping history, my personal observations and insight from the “pros” here, hopefully enough to get you thinking about tipping in a variety of situations and for a variety of services.  Ultimately, tipping is situational and a somewhat personal decision as to the level of monetary value given to servers.  Knowing how hard many of our local service providers work, I do hope readers will as generous as possible. What may be an insignificant amount to some may help a deserving service provider “make the rent” or provide for themselves and their family in another way.  Happy tipping and I hope you all receive the great service you deserve.  Happy June!

Mike Tumbarello
June, 2018

 

 

 

State Park Highlights

I write this Cover Story for the May issue of Deep Creek Times one day after attending a very nice event at Fort Frederick State Park near Hancock.  While over an hour away from Deep Creek, I think the value and character of that event and of Fort Frederick State Park in general, extend to our “local” state parks here in Garrett County and to all of the parks in the state. Hence this simple attempt here to highlight these great resources so close to us here at Deep Creek Lake.

As posted on the State Parks website, there are nine state parks in Garrett County. All offer picnic, and fishing areas, while all but Casselman River State Park have hiking paths. Mountain bike paths, swimming areas, and boat launches and rentals are available at Deep Creek, Herrington Manor and New Germany State Parks, and the last two have rental cabins available. Big Run, Deep Creek, Herrington Manor and New Germany State Parks offer canoeing, while campsites may be found at Big Run, Deep Creek, New Germany, and Swallow Falls State Parks. If you wish to camp, it pays to get a reservation in advance.  The parks are now taking reservations for Summer, so act quickly. Here’s a listing of all nine with links and phone numbers:

In addition to the natural beauty found in each of our state parks, there is the “beauty” of low-cost accessibility to the diverse flora, fauna, education and experiential resources they provide.  Plus, the experiences available all vary by the season, thereby providing a wealth of options for the “local” or visitor.  For example, I can attest that each time I hike Swallow Falls I see things I didn’t see before and I also see the trail, park and fellow visitors in a different light.  Whether rushing water going over Muddy Falls or the serene quite of the simple hike in Winter, there is something new to experience and enjoy. Our state parks are the gifts that keep on giving!

This constantly evolving view of nature is what keeps me coming back.  I say this to encourage all of our readers that have been to a given park to revisit the park to gain a different experience, whether by varying in-park location, time-of-day or season.  I also urge all to look in our Daily Notes and Events sections of Deep Creek Times for updates on local events at each of the parks. Whether an educational lecture in the lake house at New Germany State Park, or a guided walk (or talk) by the team at Deep Creek Lake State Park’s Discovery Center, or a leisurely stroll to admire the innovative design at Casselman River Bridge State Park, there is always something to do at one of our local State Parks.

So, visit the parks and this great state resource often and in every season.  Whether hiking, biking, learning, swimming, fishing, hunting or skiing, there is likely something you and your family will enjoy.  Have fun!

Mike Tumbarello
Deep Creek Times

Garrett County Open for Outdoor Enthusiasts in April

The Romans gave this month the Latin name Aprilis. The name aperire means “to open” and appears to reference the Spring season when trees and flowers begin to “open” at the start of the growing season. Even with our cool winter and early Spring here in Garrett County, plants are growing as evidenced by the daffodils pushing through the hard earth throughout the County.

While the county has a rich, active Winter season, April is the true beginning of things to come for local and visiting outdoor enthusiasts seeking warm-weather activities.  April is called “the mud season” by some due to snow melt and rain, even as it “presents” the myriad outdoor (and indoor) warm weather activities available to all.  Whatever one’s interests, there is something to do in Garrett County in the warmer months of the year.

Garrett County, upon its charter in 1872, was named after John W. Garrett, the former president of the B&O railroad.  But the County’s history goes far beyond that period and was truly part of America’s frontier, with a number of native American tribes calling the county home before John Friend founded what is now Friendsville in Northern Garrett County in 1765.

Speaking of Friendsville, it offers a great example of a place to explore that may seem a bit off the beaten track to many visitors and locals alike.  Located up route 42 right before you reach I-68, it provides everything from local indoor entertainment at Ken’s Irish Pub to great whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny River.  Friendsville also offers great hiking opportunities, including access to the Kendall Trail.  The town also holds a number of events throughout the year including Friendsville Days, maker markets and an annual banjo and fiddle competition. On the way there, you can stop at Schoolhouse Earth for eclectic shopping finds and even Working H farms for some wonderful locally sourced meats.

Friendsville is just one example of what is available here in the County.  There are many other great villages and towns throughout the County that provide great day trips or access to great outdoor adventures.  To help give you a sense of what is out there and to get you in the “outdoor spirit” I have prepared the following “list” for your consideration when looking for things to do:

Deep Creek Lake – While this is an obvious attraction, there are a number of options available on or near the lake that should be considered.  One of the best is Deep Creek State Park located just off Glendale Road.  The park offers camping (after April 15th), swimming, hunting, fishing, hiking, guided programs and also contains the wonderful Discovery Center.

Hiking Trails – There are many trails encompassing many miles for all levels of expertise in Garrett County. The best place to look for information and maps is the Garrett trails website.  Garrett Trails is a non-profit organization that plans, manages, maintain our trails and that also hosts some great events, including the Gran Fondo and other competitions.

State Parks – While Deep Creek Lake is an epicenter of activity and adventure sports, it is by no means the only place to experience those activities.  In addition to Deep Creek Lake State Park there is also New Germany State Park, Swallow Falls State Park, Herrington Manor State Park and others in the County.  These parks include hiking, swimming, boating, hunting, fishing and other activities and are often overlooked by visitors and even second home owners and locals. One favorite of mine for your consideration is Swallow Falls with its great Hemlock forests, hiking trails and water falls.

A Great Small Town – Oakland, the county seat located a few miles south of the lake bills itself as a Great Small Town, and I agree.  There are lots of activities there in the Spring and Summer months, ranging from art shows, outdoor concerts, festivals, historic museums and other activities including antiquing and some good local places to eat.  It’s worth the drive.

Indoors – If you need some time out of the sun, or if it is raining, consider one of our great restaurants or shopping venues.  One of the best qualities of Garrett County eateries and retailers is that almost 100% are locally owned and operated and they offer a variety of choices.  Check out our Dining Guide for some more information and our Shopping Guide as well.

Gardening – I would be remiss if I did not put this “public Service announcement” in this article.  While many homeowners (both primary and second) look forward to the Spring to plant some new annuals, perennials, etc. I want to suggest that you wait until the chances of frost are extremely low or approach zero.  That would mean waiting until at least Memorial Day here on the mountain to plant anything outside.  The University of Maryland Extension is a great resource with some great people dedicated to helping us all get the most out of our planting efforts.

So, those are my thoughts to get you all aware of and thinking about all Garrett County has to offer in the warmer-weather months. There are so many options available that I just scratched the surface here.  But, remember that April is truly the “opening” of the warm weather outdoor season in the county.  Have fun and be safe.

Mike Tumbarello
Co-owner, Publisher