Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area

What’s going on around Fair Hill

Fair Hill Racing Event, photo by Maggie KimmettThere are a number of projects currently in the works around Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area. There are improvements to the racetrack and special event area, and Fair Hill is getting ready to host a Concours Complet International 5* (CCI5*) Three-Day Event – a step up in the level of the current three-day event which has been taking place in October for the last 31 years. The improvements to the racetrack, including irrigation capabilities, are designed to improve the safety and viability of the course. As part of the overall project, there is a request to modify and increase an existing groundwater allocation, as well as a new surface water withdrawal from an intake in a new stormwater management pond, to meet track irrigation needs.

The first Fair Hill CCI5* Three-Day Event, originally, scheduled for October 15-18, 2020, has had to cancel for health and safety reasons related to the pandemic. The inaugural Maryland 5* at Fair Hill is now scheduled for October 14 – 17, 2021. Capital improvements have been made to meet this new designation requirement. The project area that encompasses the capital improvements associated with this project is bordered by Telegraph Road (State Route 273) to the north, Singerly Road (State Route 213) to the west, Big Elk Chapel Road to the south, and Gallaher Road to the east, with the main event area focused within the existing developed area at the corners of Singerly and Telegraph Roads. Please see links below for further details.

The Maryland State Highway Administration is also overseeing a project to provide restoration of the Grammies Run stream corridor, which will fulfill requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. The project aims to reduce pollutants and stormwater runoff by enhancing natural features and expanding the tree canopy to reduce erosion, filter stormwater, slow water flow and cool water temperature. For more information, you may contact Maryland State Highway Administration Community Liaison Robert Rager at (410) 810-3226 or via e-mail to rrager@sha.state.md.us

Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently performed stream bank stabilization and repairs to two bridges along parts of Big Elk Creek. Project partners include DNR Engineering and Construction’s Critical Maintenance Program, Chesapeake and Coastal Service’s Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund Program and the Maryland Park Service. The bridges include Bridge No. 4 (Scotts Mill Bridge) and Bridge No. 5 (Yellow Trail Bridge). While the work at Yellow Trail Bridge is now complete, repairs remain at Scotts Mill Bridge.

The Maryland Environmental Service is working to replace and enhance the aging water distribution system at Fair Hill. The project goals are to replace the existing water system, which dates back to the 1930s, and runs from the Manor House on Singerly Road through the racetrack grounds, along Skinner Drive to the Fairgrounds and down Kennel Road to the barns. The project has been in the Capital Improvement Program for over a decade, and planning for the design began in 2014. The water lines presently being installed are fed from existing wells on the property that have been tested and meet the production requirements. The existing system did not accommodate fire suppression needs or year-round operation and was prone to regular leaks and failures. In addition to new lines and connections, the upgraded system includes a replacement water treatment building and an elevated tower located on the north side of Telegraph Road to provide the pressure needed to meet flow requirements. For more information, you may contact Skip Immler at the Maryland Environmental Service at (410) 729-8312 or via e-mail simml@menv.com.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently began renovation of the duPont Hunter Barn, which serves as a public trail-riding stable. While initial plans were to preserve and restore the original structure, a thorough inspection of the building’s structural components led to the determination that it must be razed and replaced in-kind. DNR is working closely with the Maryland Historic Trust to ensure that the replacement structure remains true to the historic character while addressing the operational and maintenance needs of a modern public trail riding stable.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources is working with the Center for Watershed Protection to redevelop the Mill Complex and Covered Bridge Parking Areas adjacent to the Fair Hill Nature Center for the purpose of addressing stormwater runoff and relocating parking away from the Big Elk Creek floodplain. This project serves to convert existing impervious areas to visitor parking and hay storage facilities, and addresses erosion issues in adjacent gullies. The area will be under construction throughout much of the 2020 calendar year, but public parking will continue to be accommodated by phasing the work to minimize interruptions to public access.​​