Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently asked questions (FAQs) are grouped by category: lake water topics; lake and lake shore use topics; land use, zoning and County topics; POA; DNR and MDE; real estate and taxes. A brief answer follows each question and in some cases a link to more detail is provided.

Many of these topics have been written about in previous editions of the Dispatch and or sent out at eBlasts. For a comprehensive list of related articles and responses, choose your question and then copy it to the search engine to the left. The results will give you a listing of what the POA has said and or done on that issue.

POA Topics


Why Join?  Learn more here.

How are the POA dues used?

The POA was founded in order “to enable property owners at Deep Creek Lake to promote, preserve and protect the quality of life, environment, recreational opportunities, historic sites and historic areas in, on and around Deep Creek Lake, Garrett County, Maryland.” The dues paid go 100% to support the mission as stated. The entire board of the POA is made up of volunteers.

The major outlay of dues goes to support projects which will benefit the members. Examples of these projects supported by the POA are: Volunteer Fire Departments, Garrett Memorial Hospital, AEDs for sheriff department patrol vehicles, gypsy moth spraying in lake areas not serviced by the state, communication devices for the Lake Police and memorials for POA members who have made major contributions to the life at the lake.

The next largest cost for the POA is communication with the members to keep them abreast of happenings at the lake and the work of the board. This category includes printing of the newsletter, maintaining a web page and special emails on subjects affecting the members. Meetings of the membership and the board are the next cost, because of the refreshments served at each. There are also costs involved in maintaining the mailing list, and the processing over 1,300 dues payments.

Dues money that is left over at the end of the year is put into a reserve fund savings account. In past years the POA on behalf of its members has fought legal battles which can be very costly. Examples of some of these legal proceedings have been challenges to unwise development, the proper design of the sewer system and finally the protection of the property owners’ interest when the lake was sold by the power company. 

Though in recent years the POA board has had the excellent counsel of attorneys on the board, litigation could be very expensive for the POA.

Does the POA utilize committees and what are they? Who is on these committees? How can I volunteer for POA board service?

Yes, the POA utilizes committees and we welcome volunteers. Its as easy as contacting a Board Member.

Most committees are made up of Board Members, however based upon specific areas of expertise; Board Members may recommend and invite persons outside of the board to participate on specialized committees. Currently there are committees working on Marketing, Membership, Communications, Marcellus Shale and Chamber of Commerce Legislative Issues.

To volunteer for any work with the POA simply contact any POA board member. Members and their contact information can be found here.

On what county boards or organizations does the POA have representation?

POA Board Members are very active in a large number and variety of county boards and organizations which give the POA a unique insight into the pulse of Garrett County.

The POA has current or previous representation on the Deep Creek Lake Policy and Review Board, Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, Garrett County Emergency Service Board, Garrett County Local Emergency Planning Committee, DNR’s Water Quality Study Work Group, Garrett County Chamber of Commerce Legislative committee, the Historical Society Museum Committee and Garrett County Development Corporation. There are members of the Board of Directors of the POA who serve on other boards or organizations such as the Garrett Zoning and Planning Commission, Deep Creek Lake Sailing Association Board of Governors, Dove Center, Garrett Cooperative Ministry Board , Garrett Mentors, Garrett County Board of Realtors Government Affairs Committee, Garrett College Board of Trustees, Deep Creek Watershed Foundation, North American Lake Managers Association and the Garrett County United Way Board of Directors.

Lake Shore & Lake Use Topics

When can property owners put in their docks?
All docks must be out of the water from November 30 until April 1. The permit fee must be paid before your dock is placed in the water. There may be exceptions granted by Lake Management that allow a dock to be placed in the water prior to April 1st.
What is the history of the boat noise issue and how is boat noise measured?

The boat noise issue is important to the POA and we have long been active in its control.

The POA has long been a proponent of “quiet” boats. Through the Deep Creek Lake Policy and Review Board it spearheaded an effort to enact legislation that would prohibit above water exhaust (the culprit in boat engine noise). A last minute legislative “trick” or procedure in the 2010 session prevented the bill from becoming law. DNR Boat Committee plans to ask that the legislation be introduced again in the 2011 legislative session. The 2011 Maryland legislature did address this issue and the DNR requested changes were approved. At the POA General Membership Meeting on June 23, 2012, Lt. Bartles, NRP commented on the new legislation. The minutes of the meeting say:

“The State recently reduced from 90 to 88 the permissible decibel level. The testing procedure is governed by the regulations. It is to be tested while idling, which will be lower than when operating. Also, boats can’t be operated with cutouts, although it is clear that many do and that there is a problem with boats that are too loud. Lt. Bartles acknowledged that enforcement is very difficult.”

The Board of the POA continues to follow this issue and is working with NRP to improve enforcement of these regulations.

How many boats and PWCs may I have at my dock?
Generally not more than three, of which two may be power boats.

Presently up to 2 powered vessels (power boat or PWC) and one non-powered vessel may be at a Type A dock. Amendments have been approved that change this regulation as to the power boats. The new regulations allow 2 power boats and 1 PWC or 1 power boat and 2 PWC’s or 3 PWC’s on a Type A Dock. ( Note: because a non-powered boat is still allowed at a Type A dock, the total number of vessels for a Type A dock has been increased to four if one is a PWC). Development docks will be permitted the addition of PWC’s up to 1/3 the number of regular boat slips. PWC Ramps will not be permitted for a PWC that weigh in excess of 500 lbs.

What do the numbers on docks indicate?

The numbers are actually 911 Emergency Response related and can be crossed referenced to the dock’s location street address. The dock number is the location of the dock in distance in a clockwise direction from the dam. When reporting an accident or incident from the water, by giving the 911 dispatcher the closest dock number, it will aid the emergency responders to be able to find your location much more quickly.

What are the basic rules of operating a boat on Deep Creek Lake?

Specific to Deep Creek Lake is a 26 foot length limit, except 30 feet on pontoon boats; no PWC operation from 11 AM to 4PM on Memorial Day weekend and Saturdays and Sundays and Holidays between July 1 th and Labor Day; and no operation of a boat in excess of no wake speed within 100 feet of the shoreline, except when beginning to tow a skier. PWC’s must also slow to no wake speed when within 100 feet of bridge piers etc.

Detailed State of Maryland DCL Boat Regulations

Why are the bridge pilings not lit up at night?

DNR stated that the lights meet and exceed US Coast Guard standards which are used everywhere. It is a boater’s responsibility to understand water navigation language. There are no plans to change the lighting at the bridges.

What am I allowed to do on the buffer strip and my lake front? Path? Retaining wall? Lights? Campfire?

The buffer strip and the lake are part of the park system and as such the DNR controls what and what cannot be done on the property. A special permit is required. See the question below and the link special permit application.

The buffer strip land is owned by the state and it controls what can and cannot be done on and with the land. Paths, lighting, campfire rings, and anything that is not permanent are generally allowed. Cutting of trees and bushes is not allowed. DNR Lake Management requires a permit
for any of the above activities. To view what can and cannot be done on the buffer strip and obtain a copy of the required permit go to the Deep Creek Lake State Park link.

Deep Creek Lake Regulations and Permits

Why is the DNR making me fill out a special permit after years of using the lake front?

Lake Management is making a concerted effort to document all alterations to lake front bufferstrips. Their interest is to assure that all activities conducted on the lakefront and all alterations to the buffer strip are recorded and comply with good practices that protect Deep Creek Lake. One or two permits are required, one to use the buffer strip and another to make modifications to the buffer strip.

Buffer Strip Use Permit Application
Special Permit Application

What has the POA done or what is being done to protect my lake frontage from constant erosion, especially in high water situations and wave action caused not only by boat waves but waves caused by wind and erosion from high winds? My lake front is getting worn back and my front yard is disappearing.

The POA is concerned about shoreline erosion and has taken strong positions on rule band enforcement, responsible boating to reduce boat wake caused erosion, and development of shoreline vegetation.

Suggestions from Deep Creek Lake Management Office
DNR Shoreline Stabilization Best Practices

Land Use, Zoning & County Topics

What is the POA's position on zoning?

The Property Owners’ Association of Deep Creek Lake supports the current Deep Creek Lake zoning.

Who are the elected officials for Garrett County?

The county is governed by three commissioners who are elected at large and represent one of three districts. 

Refer to the county website for contact information.

Is Deep Creek Lake a town or municipality that provides services like garbage, sewer, water, and road maintenance?

No, Deep Creek Lake is not a town or municipality. Public services are provided thru the county and/or state. Fire and EMS are provided thru several volunteer fire and EMS organizations like Southern Rescue Squad and Deep Creek Volunteer Fire Company. (Please support them all financially.)

Where can I take my recycling products?

The county operates several locations near the lake that residents and visitors alike may use for trash disposal and recycling. In McHenry the site is located on Bumble Bee Road between the college and airport. Between Oakland and Thayerville there is a site just off US 219 on King’s Run Road. Another site is located one mile south of Mtn. Lake Park on US 219. There are sites on US 40 east of Grantsville and MD 42 north of Friendsville that may be convenient for vacationers or second home owners traveling to their primary home. Recycling is free. Property owners may purchase an annual vehicle trash disposal sticker permit for $50. Visitors may purchase single use stickers at each collection site for 50 cents. The county operates a landfill north of Oakland on Oakland-Sang Run Road. It is not open on weekends.

Refer to the county website for contact information.

Garrett County Website-Solid Waste Recycling

Lake Water Topics

What is the POA doing about lake grasses?

The POA is extensively involved this effort and is monitoring its progress and has established a committee of concerned citizens that is independently attempting to influence and integrate various efforts by multiple organizations contributing to the study.

The DNR and MDE tell us that grasses are a natural and healthy for a lake such as Deep Creek Lake. There are portions of the lake that have a high concentration of grasses and other plant life that make normal lake recreation activities difficult, if not impossible. DNR Lake Management is presently engaged in a detailed scientific study of the lake and lake water quality that will address this topic. The POA is extremely supportive of this effort and is monitoring its progress and has established a committee of concerned citizens that is independently attempting to influence and integrate various efforts by multiple organizations contributing to the study.

What does Eurasian Watermilfoil look like?
What is the POA position on supporting dredging for some low water areas of the lake?

The POA supports the idea of a study to determine the feasibility of dredging in the lake. We understand that dredging is a complex issue that requires extensive study as well as economic and physical resources. We are also aware that the lake bottom is rising in many of the coves, causing concern among directly affected property owners and the POA alike. During the fall of 2010, the DNR announced Phase I of the Lake Sediment Plan/Study. That study included some but not all of the lake coves. Coves that were included in the study were Brushy Run, Thayerville, Pawn Run, Penn, Chadderton School, Hickory Ridge, Turkey Neck or Back Bay, Hazelhurst, Poland, and Gravelly Run. Some of the coves not included in the study were Deep Creek, Deer Haven, and Green Glade. There were a number of reasons the DNR selected some coves and not others. The DNR selected coves that represented different drainage basins, soil types, slopes, and land uses in order to provide a broad look across various types of areas. With financial assistance from the Garrett County commissioners and the POA, the DNR has proceeded to Phase II of the Sediment Study which is currently underway. The Phase II Study will quantify and characterize the accumulated sediment in the lake and then identify reasonable, feasible, and sustainable alternatives to reduce sediment inputs to the lake. The fact that a cove was not included in the Phase I Study does not mean the cove will be excluded from future sediment removal operations.

How is the lake level regulated? What is a Rule Band?

Lake levels are controlled by complex set of criteria and protocols to assure optimal use of lake resources for all stake holders. Rule bands establish the minimum and maximum lake levels for each month.

Rule Band Detail & Current Lake Level
The lake level is regulated by a complex series of criteria and protocols that have established withdrawal or use allocations by the various stakeholders. The State of Maryland owns the lake and the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) controls the use of the water. Rule Bands were established to maintain the lake at certain elevations during the year. The Rule Bands set a minimum and maximum elevation by month. To see the Rule Bands and read a more detailed explanation refer to the Deep Creek Lake Hydroelectric website, under “Operational Issues”.

Watershed Management Plan

During much of 2014, members of the POA as well as many other stakeholders worked to develop a Watershed Management Plan for Deep Creek Lake. The result of these efforts was the publication of the Deep Creek Watershed Management Plan in October 2014

Watershed Management Plan