Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

June 21, 2014

Dan’s Mountain WMA road project enters final phase

— And now ... Phase 2.

Phase 1 of the Dan’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area’s road construction was completed a couple years back, extending a good, graveled road 1.5 miles uphill from the public campground alongside U.S. Route 220 in the Rawlings area.

This past week, bids were opened as the second phase of the road construction gets closer. Up next is an extension of the road another mile up the steep and rugged mountain so that it connects with what is known as The Flats Road.

Once completed, there will be a vehicular loop off U.S. Route 220, so to speak, that includes Middle Ridge Road.

The wildlife management area is popular with hunters.

Jim Mullan, regional manager for the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service, has described a hunt on Dan’s Mountain as being as close to a western U.S. hunting trip as possible in this part of the world.

Steep and rugged terrain accompanied by limited vehicular access makes it that way.

This new road project is intended to open up some of the unit so that hunters can drive closer to portions of the hunting grounds. The WMA is nearly 10,000 acres, so plenty of country remains for those who cherish a place where comfortable boots and good physical condition are the only means of access.

Not only will the completed road allow for hunter access, but it is built sturdily enough so that it can be safely used by heavy equipment and trucks. That will allow for the ‘M’ part of WMA to enter the picture.

‘M’ stands for management, including logging for wildlife habitat purposes.

I toured the unit recently with Mullan and Habitat Manager Rick Latshaw. As we drove past foliage regenerated in a 10-year-old cutover, Mullan said the regrowth was textbook stuff. He considers it to be the best public land ruffed grouse hunting in Allegany County.

Phase 1 road construction cost $320,246. The second phase has a cost range of $500,000 to $1 million.

The completion of the road will require the contractor to deal with some steep and rocky terrain.

A number of switchbacks on the road will be required, according to Latshaw, who said he will be personally disappointed if the entire new road isn’t ready for use by hunters in the fall of 2015.

Larry Bricker, senior capital projects manager for the Department of General Services, says that’s doable.

“Barring unforeseen procurement issues we anticipate the bid evaluations and contract award by the Board of Public Works to be completed for construction to start in September. Completion of the road is anticipated in September 2015 in time for the 2015-2016 hunting season,” Bricker said.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

 

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