For the Cumberland Times-News
LITTLE ORLEANS — Boaters on Fifteen Mile Creek will find a new boat ramp, additional parking and im-proved access areas, the Maryland Department of Natural Re-sources announced Tuesday.
“Boaters in Western Maryland have been eagerly awaiting the completion of the Fifteen Mile Creek boating access facility,” said Mark O’Malley, DNR’s director of boating services. “This project will dramatically improve boater access to the upper Potomac River for many years to come.”
Before the area was nothing more than a muddy shore with a piece of wood used as a ramp for small vessels.
The $864,227 project involved the construction of a two-lane boat ramp, an improved access road and a paved parking lot with 14 vehicle/trailer spaces and six car spaces. Additionally, two Americans with Disabilities Act vehicle/trailer spaces are designated close to the ramp.
A federal Sport Fish Restoration Fund boating access grant provided $510,000 that was matched by $354,227 in State Waterway Improvement funds.
The project is the third collaboration between the DNR, National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Brunswick boating access facility was completed in 2010 and the Point of Rocks boating access facility in 2011. All three are located along the C&O Canal within the national park.
Administered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Sport Fish Restoration Fund is derived from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuels.
The State Waterway Im-provement Fund — derived from the 5 percent vessel excise tax paid when a boat is purchased and titled in Maryland — has awarded more than 4,500 grant projects, valued in excess of $300 million, in the development of more than 300 public boating access sites.