Youghiogheny Wild River Natural Environmental Area


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). 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, had headquarters in Kendall. 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.The Friend's Store.

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.​