• 14

Frederick Municipal Forest, also known as the Frederick Watershed, is one of the most beautiful nature destinations to visit on a weekend.

This vast undisturbed, wild landmass stretches over Catoctin Mountain, connecting Gambrill State Park to Catoctin and Cunningham State Parks.

.It is one of the nearest places where residents of Frederick can access wild nature.

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=152&dpx=1&t=1589961714The Catoctin trail stretches along the Catoctin Mountain Range, connecting several parks and the Frederick Municipal Forest.

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=171&dpx=1&t=1589999556Groups of volunteers, primarily mountain bikers, maintain the trails. Mountain bikes also erode the soil a little bit more than hikers. However, volunteers are repairing trails, ensuring that rain water does not run down the exposed soil of the path, arrange large stones and logs to make trails more robust. Big thanks to the volunteers for conservation of the Frederick Watershed! 


image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=154&dpx=1&t=1589961901There are many beautiful ponds in the Frederick Watershed. Originally, some creeks were dammed to create fire water reservoirs, to be used for fighting forest fires, they add to the spirit of this forest. In several valleys, little streams connect the cascades of ponds like beads. This particular pond has a very interesting water color, making it one of my favorite ponds. The dams on the ponds are already eroding, causing them to lose the water level.

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=155&dpx=1&t=1589962287Streams come out of every hillside and the terrain has a different character on every slope of every hill. There is a great amount of biodiversity as every slope has a different climate, depending on which direction it is facing and what other mountain formations shield it. In the winter, there valleys where the snow can stay for an extra month, compared to other parts of Frederick County.

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=159&dpx=1&t=1589962701Recently some internal gravel roads have been closed from one, probably to discourage owners of off-road vehicles from going on a safari and damaging the soil.

image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=163&dpx=1&t=1589963284Despite expressing a concern about the quality of our drinking water and river ecosystems, our County Government still allows our most precious natural resource to be treated in this unsustainable manner. Occasionally, our County government sanctions for the parts of the Watershed to be clear cut.
The amount of soil damage that logging leaves behind on the ancient mountain is disturbing.


image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=164&dpx=1&t=1589963522This image reminds me of one of the pathetic pictures about deforestation of the Amazon Basin. In actuality, this picture has been taken in the Frederick Municipal Forest. I suspect that many cubic meters of fertile soil had been washed away into the streams as a result of this barbaric logging operation. As a result, we lost a delicate layer of organic soil and vegetation, capable of storing the precipitation up on the hills, slowly releasing it into the streams below. This contributes to doughnuts, floods, soil deprivation and erosion and river pollution.
How much damage to the environment does a clear-cut like this cause? Lets ask a scientist!
Frederick County was in a state of drought for several years in a row and the topsoil of the mountains can store rainwater, like a natural water tower.


A mountain bike trail transverses the clear-cutting site. At each end there are those mysterious signs. I haven’t seen a single security camera on a tree, not even a camera for tracking wild game.

And what is the damage to Public Property? Is it me walking there or is it them demising our Municipal Forest with their logging?The water picks up loose soil runoff, chainsaw oil, soot and other pollutants. Someone in the government probably gets a nice kickback for issuing a permit to cut the trees that grow in this fragile environment on one of the most ancient mountain ranges in the world.

I wonder how much more the mountains have eroded after first settlers arrived in the Appalachian mountains, cut all the trees and turned the exposed surfaces into pastures? And unfortunately, the first thing that was lost is the tender, fertile layer of rich, organic soil that covers most of the mountains and nourishes life that clings to the hillsides. I wonder how much thicker that layer was in the original first-growth virgin forest.

Camping is illegal in the Municipal Forest, probably because our dear government is afraid that a portion of our homeless population will settle there. Fires are also illegal, which doesn’t stop people from starting them in picturesque places. I was once ticketed for camping in the Watershed and had to pay a fine. Yet clear cutting of the forest doesn’t seem to bother any authority.

Ancient mountains may not last long enough for us and our governments to get any better.
How can we protect the Watershed portion of the Catoctin Mountain for future generations?

We The People Logo