The Garrett County Commissioners have proclaimed July as Lakes Appreciation Month. The announcement was made during their public meeting at Friendsville Town Hall Monday.
Commissioner Paul Edwards read the proclamation, which notes that lakes and reservoirs are among Maryland’s “most valuable natural resources,” providing drinking water, irrigation, energy, recreation, scenic beauty and habitat for wildlife.
The document states that water bodies “improve the quality of life for all of Maryland residents and their importance should not go unnoticed.”
“Garrett County recognizes the need to protect these lakes and reservoirs for future generations,” Edwards said.
Friends of Deep Creek Lake members (FoDCL) and a Deep Creek Lake Property Owners Association representative were on hand for the proclamation.
“Garrett County has 13 lakes, reservoirs and town ponds,” said FoDCL member Ellen Williams. “They’re all managed by a number of different entities. They are all water bodies that are man-made, and many are showing signs of aging and decline. And there is currently insufficient funding available for protection and restoration efforts and to ensure their sustainability.”
She also pointed out that Garrett is most likely the only county in the United States that proclaims a Lakes Appreciation Month.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources oversees Deep Creek, Herrington Manor and New Germany lakes. Jennings Randolph Lake, the Savage River Reservoir and Youghiogheny River Lake are under the auspices of the Army Corps of Engineers.
Four water bodies are managed by towns: Broadford Lake, Oakland; Piney Reservoir, Frostburg; Accident Town Pond; and Grantsville Town Pond. Lake Cunningham is located at the University of Maryland’s 4-H Center in Bittinger.
Two lakes are privately owned: Lake Louise and Little Meadows.
Barbara Beeler, FoDCL executive director, presented a petition to the commissioner signed by 439 people, asking them to secure funding for the State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund, recently signed into law. She also asked the commissioners to deliver the petition to Gov. Larry Hogan, Sen. George Edwards, Del. Wendell Beitzel and the Maryland General Assembly.
The document reads:
“We urge you to immediately allocate state resources and finances to the State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund. The 16 state-owned lakes, including Deep Creek Lake, are premier natural and recreational resources, as well as economic engines.
“Too long, Deep Creek Lake and other state-owned lakes have been under-recognized and suffered from failure of the state to invest in their health, recreational uses and sustainability.
“We promise to cooperate with you to save Deep Creek Lake and other lakes but as owner, the state of Maryland, must take the lead and make a commitment of funds immediately. Each day the state delays, these resources decline and the cost for restoration increases, a lesson we have all learned from the bay efforts.”