New Germany State Park
349 Headquarters Lane Grantsville, MD 21536
For over 70 years and throughout all four seasons, New Germany State Park has offered visitors an impressive array of activities coupled with awe-inspiring natural beauty. Families and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy year round recreational opportunities that allow them to explore the many ecosystems of the park, including a man-made lake, brook trout stream and stands of mature eastern hemlock that line miles of trails.
During the 19th century German immigrants developed a farming community in the area of today’s state park. Settlers called the area “New Germany” because it was reminiscent of the homeland they had left behind. By damming Poplar “Lick” (local term for a stream), John Swauger created the lake on which he located a sawmill that became the center of the small community. Farming and logging continued in the area throughout the 1800’s and well into the 20th century. As the Great Depression took its toll, many farms were sold to the federal government. These federal land acquisitions were turned over to the state of Maryland, resulting in the creation of Savage River State Forest. Around this same time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). New Germany became home to CCC Camp S-52 and members proceeded to build many of the park’s recreational facilities including cabins, campsites and trails. Pioneers in forest management, they laid the foundation for future forest management. The once depleted farmlands have been replanted and eroded soils repaired, returning the land to its original state.
The 12 miles of well marked trails wind through the park, showcasing the beauty of the landscape, the abundance of wildlife and the historic efforts of the CCC. Hiking, mountain biking, snow shoeing and cross country skiing have conveyed visitors through the park for generations. Wildflowers, such as painted trillium, wild strawberry and daisies, are the highlight of spring and summer explorations. The stream banks are thick with Rhododendron, which in late June and early July are decorated with fragrant blooms. “Leaf Peepers” will enjoy the stunning fall foliage provided by sugar maple, red maple and black gum trees. Ensconced in winter’s white blanket, the park is perhaps most popular when the weather turns cold. Cross country skiers can glide along trails of all ability levels. The 1.6 mile Green Trail parallels Poplar Lick, and is ideal for the novice skier. More advanced skiers can test their skill on the trails that branch off and climb either side of the stream valley. Cross country ski and snow shoe rentals are conveniently available at the park as conditions allow.
The crisp spring fed waters of New Germany’s 13 acre lake make it the perfect spot for swimming, fishing and boating. During the summer months, families can enjoy the roped swimming area and sandy beach. Rowboats, surf bikes, paddle boats and kayaks may be rented for use on the lake. Privately owned boats with electric trolling motors are welcome and a boat launch is available. No gasoline motors are permitted. Anglers can cast a line in search of catfish, trout, bass and tiger muskie. Picnicking in the park offers a respite from the day’s activities, whether you simply pick a spot under the shade of a tall tree or reserve one of several pavilions for a large gathering.
PET FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES
One of Western Maryland’s many natural treasures, New Germany State Park is rich in history, beauty and recreation. Embodying the spirit of the area, it allows visitors to appreciate the activities and surrounding environment as they change with the seasons.
For more information about New Germany State Park visit http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/newgermany.aspx or call 301-895-5453.
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