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Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River

Maryland State Forest and Park Service
c/o Deep Creek Lake Recreation Area
898 State Park Road
Swanton, Maryland 21561
(301) 387-5563

Location - The Youghiogheny Wild and Scenic River is located in far western Garrett County between Friendsville and Oakland.

The Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River is part of the large Mississippi River watershed that stretches from the western slope of the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the Rockies in the west. Beginning in the gently rolling farmlands of southern Garrett County, the Youghiogheny cuts a northward path through some of the most rugged mountain scenery in Maryland before running into Pennsylvania and merging with the Monongahela at McKeesport.

The Youghiogheny drains an area encompassing approximately 397 square miles in Maryland. In its first 20 miles, the river meanders through a pastoral setting of farms and wood lots occasionally paralleled by country roads or railroad tracks. North of the town of Oakland, the character of the river changes as the river valley narrows, deepens, and becomes heavily forested. From Swallow Falls to Hoyes Run, the Youghiogheny enters a stretch of falls and rapids with a drop in elevation of 280 feet in four miles.

At Hoyes Run, a relatively smooth stretch of river can be found all the way to Gap Falls, just north of Sang Run. At that point, the most rugged and inaccessible section of the river runs wild and free to the town limits of Friendsville, dropping in elevation an average of over 100 feet per mile.

In 1976 a 21 mile long segment of the Youghiogheny was designated as Maryland's first Wild River. A state protected corridor along the river runs from Miller's Run just north of Oakland to the town of Friendsville. This corridor is managed by the Forest and Park Service to preserve the wild and natural scenic, geologic, historic, ecologic, recreational, fish, wildlife, and cultural resources.

History
During the late 1800's, Garrett County prospered and grew and its economy was based primarily on agriculture, timber, and coal. The arrival of the B&O railroad to Garrett County after the Civil War opened the area's natural resources to large scale harvest and development. Besides providing a form of transportation for people, the railroad offered a means of moving the timber resources of Garrett County to markets in the east. Because of the multitude of falls and rapids timber could not be floated downstream. Logging railroads penetrated the Youghiogheny river valley permitting exploitation of its timber and coal.

In 1889, the Confluence and Oakland Railroad was built to reach the timberlands along the river held by the Yough Manor Land Company. It followed the path of the river south from Confluence, Pennsylvania through Friendsville, to the town of Kendall (originally called Krug). Here was headquartered two major lumber companies, the A. Knabb Co. which manufactured barrels and staves from the white oak in the valley, and the Kendall Lumber Co. which maintained a large sawmill at the site. As of 1908, Kendall was a thriving town, however operations at the mills ceased by 1912 as the timber in the river valley was depleted. Today, little remains of the town of Kendall.

As the timber and coal industries along the Youghiogheny waned, the land regenerated naturally and through the efforts of many thoughtful landowners the river valley regained much of its original beauty. The Department of Natural Resources is currently purchasing lands along the river in an effort to preserve the valley for the enjoyment of future generations.

Visiting the River
Most of the river corridor lies within private landholdings. Visitors must take precautions to avoid trespass.

Public access points can be found at Swallow Falls State Park, in the Sang Run area off of Sang Run Road, and in Friendsville. Hikers can hike several miles upstream. Hoyes Run area is also a public access point for hiking, and fly fishing (catch and release only). Hikers can walk from Hoyes to the Sang Run put in. Other points of access are primarily primitive and rugged, and every effort should be taken by users to be familiar with the skills needed to safely enjoy the remote and primitive environment of the river.

Park Headquarters is located at Deep Creek Lake State Park, on State Park Road off of Glendale Road. Information can be obtained here during business hours Monday through Friday. If you need emergency assistance, call the Forest and Park Service communication center at 410-260-8888 or dial 911. General park information can be obtained at 301-387-5563.

Hiking is permitted and the best trail access may be found at Swallow Falls State Park. The old logging railroad right-of-way may be followed north from the east side of the river. Other access points and trails at Hoyes Run and Friendsville are very primitive and require the use of map and compass and cross-country travel.

Whitewater boating has become an increasingly popular way for many to experience the wildness of the Youghiogheny. The river is extremely difficult and potentially dangerous and must be treated with respect. Information on whitewater boating may be obtained at the park office.

Hunting and fishing is permitted in the park's backcountry areas during regular seasons. Applicable regulations and license requirements apply.

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