ALLEGANY AND GARRETT COUNTIES, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, recently met with people throughout Maryland’s westernmost counties who treasure the region’s exceptional woods, waters, ridgelines and recreational opportunities.
“Western Maryland’s outdoors are special, and I love to meet people who take full advantage of the recreational opportunities the area provides,” said Senator Cardin. “Whether you like to bike, hike, kayak, bird-watch, fish or just explore beautiful landscapes, this is the right place.”
Senator Cardin began the week at Adventure Sports Center International in McHenry, Md., an Olympic-standard white water and canoe/kayak slalom center on the mountain above Wisp Ski Resort at Deep Creek Lake. There, he toured the boulder-strewn whitewater race course that will provide the backdrop for the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships Sept 17-21. Senator Cardin spoke with the course’s operators and tournament organizers while watching competitors from around the world conduct training runs on the frothing course.
Senator Cardin then met with students from the Adventuresports Institute, a first-of-its-kind cooperative program of Garrett College and Frostburg State University that prepares future leaders in the adventure sports and recreation industries.
“There is obviously a lot of energy, imagination and dedication in this group,” Senator Cardin told students. “I am proud of your willingness to follow your hearts and dreams and to build careers out of doing something you love. I am equally proud of your universities for combining their efforts on such a forward-thinking and cooperative course of study.”
Senator Cardin also met with leaders of the non-profit organization Garrett Trails, whose volunteers are dedicated to developing a well-used network of outstanding trails that provide access to the country’s historic, municipal and environmental treasures.
“Quality trails are important to Western Maryland because they attract a significant number of visitors to the area, fueling the regional economy, and they provide incredible opportunities for local residents to enjoy the outdoors,” said Senator Cardin. “I am committed to finding ways to maintain, promote and expand the region’s trails network, and I look forward to spending as much time on those trails in the future as I possibly can.”
After paying a visit to the iconic steam engine that powers the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, Senator Cardin capped his time in Western Maryland with a bicycle ride on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail from Frostburg to Cumberland. Several trail stakeholders and local officials joined the senator on the 16.5-mile section of former railway line that stretches a total of 150 miles between Pittsburgh, Pa., and Cumberland, where it joins the C&O Canal Towpath. Together, the two trails create a continuous 335-mile long trail.
“As I rode the trail and spoke with other cyclists, I was struck by how many had been drawn from outside the Free State,” Senator Cardin noted. “I met a couple from Ohio, students from Princeton … it was really remarkable to see just how many people had traveled a considerable distance to take part in all that Western Maryland has to offer.”