Deep Creek Lake Natural Resources Management Area

Deep Creek Lake Recreation and Land Use Plan
Executive Summary



In 2000, the State of Maryland purchased the land underlying Deep Creek Lake, buffer zone properties and certain other parcels from General Public Utility, Inc (GPU), for $17 million. During its' 2000 session, as the sale was being finalized, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation to guide future management of Deep Creek Lake.

The new law enacted by the General Assembly established a Deep Creek Lake Policy and Review Board (PRB). The PRB is required to meet a minimum of four times per year and is charged with advising the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on matters relating to lake fees, budget and management. All fee and regulation changes must be approved by the PRB. In addition, the PRB and DNR were mandated to issue a Deep Creek Lake Recreation and Land Use Plan by June 2001 that provides for the wise use, protection and management of the natural and recreational resources of Deep Creek Lake.

Purpose and Goals of the Plan

The PRB and DNR hope to accomplish, with Garrett County's favorable consideration, the following major goals with the Deep Creek Lake Recreation and Land Use Plan:


  • To provide background information about the natural resources of the Deep Creek Lake region.
  • To provide an assessment of existing conditions, recreational uses, facilities and management.
  • To provide a basic framework for addressing future wise use, protection and management of the natural and recreational resources of Deep Creek Lake.
  • To establish policies and procedures for the future operation of the Policy and Review Board.
  • To ensure maximum effectiveness by outlining ways in which DNR, Garrett County and the PRB can better coordinate efforts and decisions pertaining to zoning and lake regulations as well as to ensure that policies are consistent, complementary and designed to protect the natural resources of the lake and watershed.

Policy and Review Board Procedures and Operations

Establishes procedures for conducting Board meetings and business.

Assessment of Existing Conditions, Recreational Uses, Facilities and Management

The plan discusses background information pertaining to the following items in order to provide a framework for the recommendations:

  • Current Lake Management Responsibilities
  • Lake Water Quality and Quantity
  • Shoreline and Buffer Area
  • Adjacent Land Use
  • Zoning, Carrying Capacity, Visitor Access
  • Recreation Areas
  • Commercial Uses
  • Private Uses
  • Recreational Activities


Major Issues and Recommendations

The recommendations contained in the plan are grouped under seven major topics.

  1. Lake Water Quality - outlines actions for controlling both point and non-point source pollution in order to maintain the good water quality of the Lake.
  2. Adjacent Land Use and Zoning, Management of the Shoreline and Buffer Strip - discusses policies for ensuring that management of the land adjacent to and near the Lake is compatible with resource protection and economic development goals, while protecting the rights of private property holders.
  3. Carrying Capacity, Boating and Docking - recommends that a carrying capacity study be undertaken and updated every ten years to provide the background for any regulation changes that may be necessary to manage boating use of the Lake.
  4. Visitor Access, Recreation Areas and Activities - outlines policies to ensure that recreational opportunities at the Lake are available for all citizens and visitors.
  5. Commercial Uses - recommends regulation changes to address requests for commercial activities that involve the Lake and Buffer Strip.
  6. Fish and Wildlife Resource Management - outlines actions for conserving the fish and wildlife resources of the Deep Creek Lake region as well as minimizing conflicts between wildlife and people.
  7. Management Roles and Responsibilities - outlines the roles and responsibilities of the PRB, DNR, Garrett County, residents, property owners and visitors in managing the Lake and its resources.

Appendix I - Natural Resources of the Deep Creek Lake Region

Provides background information concerning the natural resources of the Deep Creek Lake watershed.

Appendix II - History of the Deep Creek Lake Region

Discusses the history of settlement since the 1700's.


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