As Maryland’s rural counties lose farmland, consider fracking and face economic challenges, the Capital News Service at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism presents a series examining the political divide between urban and rural parts of Maryland and the state of the economy in rural Maryland. This is the first part in a five-part series
By J.F. Meils
Capital News Service
In 2009, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley closed the visitor center at the Sideling Hill cut, the symbolic gateway to Western Maryland, as a cost-saving effort.
Some saw the move as personal, or at least confirmation of how the former governor felt about the state’s rural counties.
“We had only two visitor centers that were closed in the entire state under O’Malley,” said William Valentine, an Allegany County commissioner. “It wasn’t too hard to figure out what happened.”
Current Gov. Larry Hogan reopened the Sideling Hill Visitor Center in 2015.