Site of the Frederick County Forest Conservancy District Board, Frederick Maryland

Our mission

The Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards was created by a state act (Forest Conservancy District Act - Article Natural Resources, 5-601 to 5-610) of 1943. Maryland has 24 Boards, one for each county plus the city of Baltimore. A Maryland  Forest Service Forester serves as the Executive Secretary of each Board. The Frederick County Forestry Board (FCFB) is a state agency composed of volunteers appointed by the State Forester.  The current Executive Secretary of the FCFB is Mike Kay, Maryland  Forest Service Forester. Go to the Board members page to see a listing of the current FCFB membership.

The primary mission of the FCFB is to promote the conservation, stewardship, and sustainable use of the forest resources of this county, both urban and rural, through advocacy and education of sound forest management principles. We accomplish this through our workshops, newsletters, partnerships (with the MD Forest Service, Monocacy Catoctin Watershed Alliance, South Frederick Arboretum). The Frederick Board also conducts timber harvest reviews in conservation zones for the county (see our Timber harvest page). Along with the State Association, we recruit high school students interested in the field of forestry and natural resources for the week-long Natural Resources Careers Conference held the last full week in July in Garrett County at the Hickory Environmental Education Center (see our Education programs page).

Basic information about the Frederick County Forestry Board is available as a single page (duplex) FCFB tri-fold brochure (download PDF file which can be  viewed and printed using Adobe Reader).



At the Maryland Forests Association 2005 Annual Meeting Steven W. Koehn, Maryland State Forester, made a statement of purpose to all the forestry district boards in a presentation entitled "Our History, Our Roots . . . at the Turning Point?". His major points included:

  1. As leaders in the field of conservation and responsible stewardship, the first priority of each State Forester and of this organization must be to retain or increase the integrity of our nation’s forest ecosystems.

  2. Act to protect our nation’s existing forest resources from damaging agents that effect broad areas of forested land.

  3. Responsibly and effectively manage our publicly-owned forested lands.

  4. As leaders in the field of conservation and responsible stewardship, the first priority of each State Forester and of this organization must be to retain or increase the integrity of our nation’s forest ecosystems.

Our history

We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us ...
 
 
The creation of the Board of Forestry was a result of the vision of Robert and John Garrett, who donated over 2,000 acres of mountain woodland in 1906 to the state, provided it would make proper provision for its care. The Board of Forestry objectives were to provide for the economic and scientific management of forests in the state through cooperative efforts with private forest landowners and regulation of forest practices which allowed adequate source of forest products. To learn more of the history of the Maryland Forest Conservancy District Boards visit History of Maryland's Forestry Boards.


Enjoying Western Maryland Outdoors 90 Years Ago
by Tom Anderson

Packing up the car and driving to enjoy outdoor recreation is something many of us do.
A century ago most people lived without basic comforts we enjoy today, like central
heating and plumbing. It would have been unusual to consider driving to remote areas to
camp or hike just to for the pleasure of the activity. A group of famous friends, calling
themselves the Vagabonds, started camping on a regular basis in the summers over 90
years ago, with the media reporting. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone, often with their wives, families and help, accompanied by others including naturalist John Burroughs and President Warren G Harding, led the trend towards summer vacation outdoors recreation trips. Staring with a trip to the Florida everglades by the Edison’s and Ford’s in 1914, the group vacationed nearly every summer for 10 or more years, camping in Western Maryland during the summer of 1921.
 
Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, President Warren G. Harding and Harvey Firestone pictured on a camping trip
Friends Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, President Warren G. Harding and Harvey Firestone pictured on a camping trip that the four took together in Maryland with members of their families. Photo courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society, however it looks like it is from the NY Times in 1921.
 
For 2 weeks, a week in Washington County, at what is now Camp Harding County Park, and a week in Garrett County at what is now Swallow Falls State Park, Edison, Ford, and Firestone with families, President Harding and other friends enjoyed the beauty of travelling through and camping in Western Maryland. At a time when most Americans worked long hours 6 days a week, there was not much time for recreation. Better working conditions, more leisure time, and the popularity of autos, created a demand for more public parks and forests. The famous group of campers and their entourage were much publicized by the news reporters and helped create awareness of motoring trips and outdoor recreation.
 
In 1921 there were only 4,000 acres of state forest in Maryland. Today Maryland has
nearly a half million acres of public lands. The publicity of the camping trip helped
precipitate and agreement between the State and the Masonic Lodge that owned the
Swallow Falls 600 acre area 2 years later to allow public use of the land, and resulted in
the Lodge donating the land to the State in 1940.

Camping 1921
Gathered around their Lazy Susan camp table near Hagerstown, Maryland in 1921, clockwise from just left of the tent pole, (some partially hidden) are William F. Anderson, Methodist bishop of Ohio; Harvey Firestone Sr.; George B. Christian. Jr.; Mrs. Thomas A. Edison; Thomas Edison; Mrs. Henry Ford; President Harding; Mrs. Firestone, Sr.; Henry Ford; Mrs. Anderson; Edsel B. Ford; Mrs. Firestone, Jr.; Harvey Firestone, Jr. and Russell A. Firestone. President Warren G. Harding (right of center) dines with Thomas Edison (left of Harding) and Henry Ford (right of Harding). Credit: Library of Congress.
 
On July 24, 1921, at the Washington County campsite, the group held a memorial service for their friend and fellow camper John Boroughs who had recently died. Boroughs’ quote, “To the woods and the fields or to the hills…there to breathe their beauty like the very air…to be not a spectator of, but a participator in it all,” continues to capture the spirit of the outdoors.
 
After President Harding returned to Washington, the group motored 90 miles to Muddy
Creek in Garret County. Travelling west on Route 40 through Allegany County, past
Green Ridge Mountain, they enjoyed scenic beauty that can still be found on the old route 40. Heading south from Keyser’s Ridge they drove on dirt roads that are now MD Route 219. Much of the town turned out to greet them as they passed through Oakland. After enjoying lunch next to a creek near Deer Park, they traveled unimproved roads about nine miles and set up camp at Muddy Creek Falls, which is present day Swallow Falls State Park. A wooden bridge on the road coming into their campsite caved in from the weight of the camp kitchen truck taking up the rear and blocked the road.
 
Cut off from the press and public, the group found the most solitude they had enjoyed
since they had been camping together. Sleeping in later that first morning, they first
morning they sat in canvas camp chairs by the Muddy Creek Falls for hours, swapping
funny stories of their youth with the background roar of the waterfall, bird songs, and
breezes through the old growth hemlocks.
 
Newspaper reports eventually made it to the campsite to cover the adventures of these
well-known men and their families for a very interested national audience. Thomas
Edison, in a talkative mood at Muddy Creek was quoted as saying, “The woods will get
you if you don’t watch out…Stay out close to nature and you won’t want to come back
to the civilizing influences of trolley cars, telephones, porcelain bathtubs and nickel
plumbing.” Another observation of Edison at Muddy Creek Falls stated, “I like to get out in the woods and live close to nature. Every man does. It is in his blood. It is his feeble protest against civilization.’’
 
The group having passed through coal mining areas during their travels, the press
captured this quote of Henry Ford’s observations on energy, “The common sense thing
to do is to take the coal out of the mines and take all the by-products- light oils, coke,
tar, benzyl, gas, etc.. We do that in Detroit. We use 3,000 tons of coal a day and we have enough valuable by-products left over after using everything we need in our plants to sell coke to the city of Detroit and put gas in the city gas mains.”
 
Heavy rains came on July 30th when they had planned to drive from Muddy Creek Falls to their next campsite at Elkins, West Virginia. The roads were muddy and impassable, forcing them to stay another day in Maryland, and allowing them to celebrate Henry Ford’s 58th birthday at Muddy Creek Falls in Maryland. At the time, Thomas Edison was 74, and Harvey Firestone was the youngest at 52 years of age. On July 31 the sky cleared, and with the bridge repaired, they headed in their cars for the next camp site near Elkins, West Virginia, over muddy but passable roads.
 
Quotes and photos from the Maryland DNR Forest Service website: http://
www.dnr.state.md.us/feature_stories/FamousTravelersPart1.asp