Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (Both D-MD) today applauded a $250,000 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant to Garrett County for construction of the Meadow Mountain Trail (MMT). The 10-mile, multi-user trail will build on the county’s efforts to expand its outdoor recreation industry, and is projected to have an economic impact of more than $3 million.
“Garrett County’s scenic treasures are also economic treasures, drawing thousands of tourists to Maryland each year to enjoy our state’s natural beauty,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee who has long fought for funding to create trails and greenways across Maryland. “The Meadow Mountain Trail will further tourism and small business growth in Garrett County, creating new jobs and new economic opportunities for Western Maryland.”
“This grant is about supporting jobs in Western Maryland,” Senator Mikulski said. “It is a smart investment that will help grow Garrett County’s economy, making an investment that will draw in new visitors, jobs and economic development to the region.”
ARC funds will be used to complete the MMT trail design, construct the trail and improve two trailhead parking areas. The MMT is a key segment of the larger Eastern Continental Divide Loop Trail, which will be a 150 mile-recreational trail winding through the heart of Garrett County. The MMT segment will begin near Grantsville and the Casselman River Bridge and end near Route 495 at the University of Maryland’s 4-H Center.
The trail will traverse through public lands and will be accessible to outdoor enthusiasts for hiking, biking, backpacking, trail running, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and educational study. Job creation and financial impact stems from hikers and bikers stopping for meals and purchasing gear at the many small businesses located near the trail, and staying the night in a nearby trail town.
In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $316,000, and local sources will provide $48,550, bringing the total project funding to $614,550. The ARC is a federal-state partnership that works with the people of the Appalachian region to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.