Hidden Treasures #6: Maryland

Poplar Lick Trail
Savage River State Forest

(301) 895-5759

At over 54,000 acres, Grantsville’s Savage River State Forest is the largest state forest in Maryland and an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with designated areas for hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and off-road vehicles.

Savage River

The Savage River. Photo by Joey Beall / Wikipedia Creative Commons

The Poplar Lick Trail is a moderate 6-mile path on the remains of a 1934 Civilian Conservation Corps roadway that offers hiking, biking and primitive camping. Backpackers must obtain a permit from the Savage River State Forest Office for $10 a day. Camping is also available at Big Run and New Germany state parks within Savage River State Forest.

In warmer weather, rhododendron and wildflower blossoms are prominent. The Poplar Lick Trail follows a native trout stream and ends at the Savage River.

On the trail is a stone monument memorializing the five-person crew of a B-52 bomber that crashed during a blizzard at Big Savage Mountain on Jan. 13, 1964. The plane was carrying two thermonuclear bombs. A week into the search for the plane and crew, Air Force Maj. Robert Lee Payne was found dead from exposure after ejection in the Savage River State Forest. The monument marks this tragic spot.

In Grantsville and Salisbury, similar markers are located where two other crew members were found dead. Over 50 years later, these memorials are still visited by the crews’ families, Air Force members and citizens.

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