News Mosser Road Heritage Trail Celebrated - Garrett College
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Campus News

Octobr 10th, 2023

Mosser Road Heritage Trail celebrated

Partners highlight trail's safety, recreational and educational missions

trail dedication

Photo by John Rudd
The Mosser Road Heritage Trail was dedicated Tuesday morning at Garrett College. Garrett College Board of Trustees Chair Don Morin cuts the ribbon, aided by Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jason Rush, who was also representing the Garrett County Fair Board. Holding the ribbon at far left is Garrett Trails Board President Mike Dreisbach and at the far right is State Delegate Jim Hinebaugh. Second row, left to right, are Garrett College President Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College Trustee Karen Myers, Garrett College Foundation Executive Director Cherie Krug, Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area Board Member Patty Manown Mash, McHenry United Methodist Church Member Kim Brady, McHenry United Methodist Church Pastor Cindy Skinner, Garrett County Senior Planner Siera Wigfield, Garrett Trails Board Member Elizabeth Williams; back row, left to right, former State Senator George Edwards, Garrett College Trustee Madeleine Collins, State Senator Mike McKay, Garrett County Board of Commissioners Chair Paul Edwards, Garrett Trails Board Vice President Mike Logsdon, Maryland Department of Natural Resources representative Jeff Simcoe, Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Tourism & Marketing Sarah Duck, Garrett Trails Secretary Rodney Glotfelty, Garrett Trails Board Member Scott Richardson, and Garrett Trails Executive Director Josh Spiker.

One trail – but many purposes.

That was the theme of Tuesday morning's Mosser Road Heritage Trail dedication. Representatives of the six partners who brought the trail to life – Garrett College, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA), Garrett Trails, Garrett County Government, the Garrett County Agricultural Fair, and the McHenry United Methodist Church – spoke of their purposes in supporting the trail's development.

Multiple partners noted the trail's safety mission.

"Discussions of a trail began as a way to keep students safer, particularly our residential students," said Don Morin, chair of the Garrett College Board of Trustees, which provided $35,000 in funding as well as project management until the leadership of then-Director of Campus Facilities Kathy Meagher.

"Prior to trail construction, when students wanted to go to any business in the McHenry area, they walked up to a mile on Mosser Road," added Morin.

"Mosser Road's narrow shoulders made for a dangerous situation for students as well as vehicle drivers," said Garrett County Fair Board President Jason Rush, whose organization provided project-critical easements.

"While safety was the top priority, the Fair Board believed a trail would also dramatically enhance recreational opportunities around Garrett College's campus," added Rush, who also serves as vice chair of the Garrett College Board of Trustees.

Garrett Trails Board President Mike Dreisbach, whose organization provided a $20,000 gift for the project, said the initiative fit perfectly with Garrett Trails' mission.

"Our mission is to create an opportunity for people to get outdoors to hike, bike, or take a walk," said Dreisbach. "We saw this trail as a really important piece among our intercounty [trail] connectors."

Patty Manown Mash, Mountain Maryland Gateway to the West Heritage Area Board member, said MHAA's $100,000 matching grant and the West Heritage Area Board's review of the interpretative panels along the trail "serve as a means to promote our regional identity to locals and visitors alike."

"Trail users encounter six interpretive panels which serve as a key educational component," she said of the panels that promote performing arts and culture; African American history; agriculture and farming; famed Garrett County hunter Meshach Browning; the Wisp Resort; and Garrett County heritage.

Garrett County Government provided a $45,000 Program Open Space grant as well as free engineering and design work for the project.

"This new paved trail is a really good example of Program Open Space's focus on recreational spaces," said Garrett County Senior Planner Siera Wigfield. "The trail provides a more livable space . . . and the connection for walkers and bikers to our community."

The McHenry United Methodist Church, like the Fair Board, provided essential easements for the trail.

"We at the church are very happy that we could provide land for part of the trail," said Kim Brady, representing McHenry United Methodist Church. "We consider it a good way to use part of our land and make it safe for everybody whether they be a student, a tourist here visiting, or a local."

The Garrett College Foundation (GCF) played a critical role in grants acquisition and development of the interpretive panels. GCF Executive Director Cherie Krug recognized Kearstin Hinebaugh, grants and special funds coordinator, for coordinating the $100,000 match and MHAA grant application. She also thanked Janet Kepple, GCF's administrative associate, who served as photographer for the interpretive panels.

State Delegate Jim Hinebaugh and Garrett County Commission Chair Paul Edwards also spoke at the event, with each praising the partnership that developed the trail.

"It's a great example of what I would describe as a community program," said Hinebaugh, adding, "There are a lot of different organizations and entities involved in this trail project."

"The beauty of Garrett County truly is in its people and the fact that we all come together to get things done regardless of any differences we may have," said Edwards.