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Friendsville - Upper Yough Parking Lot Update

Posted: 09/23/2013
by Charlie Walbridge

Eighteen months ago whitewater paddlers raised over $20,000 for off-road parking in Friendsville, Maryland. This small riverside town sees a large influx of paddlers running the Upper Youghiogheny every summer weekend. Work continues despite unexpected challenges that have greatly increased costs.
There’s good news and bad news in this update. The entry culvert and fences have been installed. This, along with the change house, was paid for entirely with boater money. But surfacing the parking lot has proven to be a greater challenge than anticipated, and the initial hope that the costs would not greatly exceed funds contributed by paddlers have been proven wrong.
The Town of Friendsville had originally planned to apply gravel only to an access strip down the the length of the field. Paddlers would park on the grass to each side. Unfortunately, the soil in the field is unusually soft. Unlike the conditions at Sang Run, the grass cannot support parking and any gravel spread on the surface will be pushed under the surface, leaving a muddy mess. Boaters parking on the grass during Race Day these past two years tore up the field badly despite extensive preparations by Roger Zbel, who has planted, mowed, and pampered the grass. 
Now Councilman Jess Whittemore and Friendsville Town Council have a new plan. They will remove the topsoil, apply landscaping cloth, and spread 6” of gravel over 50,000 square feet. But now the estimated $20 – 30K job has become a $180,000 job that includes over $40,000 in engineering fees. Tho town won over $50K in grants and Jess believes that he has the remaining funding lined up, but some of it may not be available until next summer. The town plans to move ahead as funding becomes available, surfacing part of the lot as early as this fall.
American Whitewater thanks the Town for sticking with the project and offers our continued appreciation and support. Paddlers who contributed should know that their genersity has made a difference, sending a lear message about how much we value the Upper Youghiogheny River and the Town of Friendsville. Additional contributions are welcome; the address is: Town of Friendsville, PO Box 9, Friendsviulle, MD 21531. Please note on the check that the money is for the Boater Parking Lot.
Charles Walbridge
Bruceton Mills, WV