A. The primary purposes for the promulgation of regulations for Deep Creek Lake are the protection of the lake as a natural resource, the preservation of its ecological balance, and furtherance of its highest use as a recreational resource, recognizing that abuse of the lake by its overuse could jeopardize its well-being. A further purpose underlying the codification of these regulations is a realization that there is a relationship between the quality of the recreational experience on Deep Creek Lake and the level of recreational use. It is recognized that at some point recreational use of the lake could be said to have reached a saturation level, and intensification of lake usage beyond that point would begin an increasing deterioration of the quality of the recreational experience and perhaps of the overall health and well-being of the lake as a natural resource. Therefore, it is recognized that the highest and best plan for Deep Creek Lake as a recreational resource shall take into consideration a balance between the greatest possible level of recreational use of the lake and the quality of the recreational experience. This balance can only be achieved by providing some type of control of the level of usage as the saturation point is approached. An important and fundamental consideration in the drafting of these and future regulations, therefore, has been and will be to work toward a reasonable balance preserving an acceptable quality of recreational experience on Deep Creek Lake, while at the same time providing for the greatest use of the lake consistent with a quality experience and safety of all users of the lake.
B. The State of Maryland owns Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County, Maryland including the land under the lake and the buffer strip. The Department has allowed and will allow the public and surrounding landowners to use, and in certain instances to occupy, the waters of the lake, the land beneath the lake, and the buffer strip, but only as a matter of privilege. Permanent or long-term property interests in these properties are not intended to be granted to the public or to surrounding landowners in connection with recreational use of the lake and buffer strip under this subtitle.
C. The Department has authority and responsibility under State law to regulate many public, recreational uses of natural resources in and around the lake, such as boating and fishing. Other regulations in this title also apply to activities on the lake and buffer strip. This subtitle defines how the Department will carry out this additional right and responsibility.