Map of Braddock's Military Road from Cumberland, MD to Braddock, PA 1755
In the early 20th century, the railroad and tourism started to decline. Coal mining and timber production continued at a much slower pace. Today, tourism has made a dramatic rebound in the county with logging and farming making up the greatest part of the economic base. Due to a cool climate and lack of any large city, Garrett County has remained a sparsely populated rural area.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 656 square miles (1,700 km2), of which 647 square miles (1,680 km2) is land and 8.6 square miles (22 km2) (1.3%) is water. It is the second-largest county in Maryland by land area.
Garrett County is located entirely within the highland zone of the Appalachian Mountains known variously as the Allegheny Mountains, the Allegheny Plateau, and the Appalachian Plateau. The county's highest elevations are located along four flat-topped ridges and range to a height of 3,360 feet (1,020 m) at Hoye-Crest along Backbone Mountain, the highest point in the state of Maryland. As is typical in the Allegheny region, broad flats generally lie below the ridge crests at elevations of approximately 500 feet (150 m). River valleys are generally narrow and deep, with ravines typically 1,000 to 1,800 feet (550 m) below surrounding peaks.
The county contains over 76,000 acres (310 km2) of parks, lakes, and publicly accessible forestland. It is drained by two river systems, the Potomac and the Youghiogheny. The Savage River, a tributary of the Potomac, drains about a third of the county. The Casselman River, a tributary of the Youghiogheny, flows north from the county's central section into Pennsylvania. The Youghiogheny itself drains the westernmost area of the county and flows north into Pennsylvania, where it empties into the Monongahela River at McKeesport, just south of Pittsburgh.
Geologic points of interest
The Glades' 601 acres (2.43 km2) is of great scientific interest because it is an ombrotrophic system (fed solely by rainwater) with peat layers up to 9 feet (2.7 m) thick, and is one of the oldest examples of mountain peatland in the Appalachians.
On the western edge of the Savage River State Forest along Maryland Route 495 lies Bittinger, Maryland, which is named after Henry Bittinger, who first settled in the area and who was joined by other German settlers moving in and taking up the fertile farmland. On the eastern edge of Bittinger is one of the largest glades area of Garrett County. Geographically, this is an area that seems to have been affected by the last great ice sheet of North America. Two miles southeast of Bittinger, there is a large deposit of peat moss.
In the Casselman River valley, 1-mile (1.6 km) south of Grantsville, Maryland and beside Maryland Route 495, one can see remains of geological evidence about the last great ice sheet over North America. A series of low mounds can be seen in the fields on the west side of Maryland Route 495 that are "loess" (wind-blown) material. Apparently, these are the only ones still visible in the northern part of Garrett County.
The mounds were formed when a glacier lake existed in the Casselman valley, and the ice around the edges of the frozen lake melted. Wind blew fine grains of earth into the water around the edges where it sank to the bottom, and the mounds were the result of the deposit of this wind-blown material.
Garrett County contains over 76,000 acres (310 km2) of parks, lakes, and publicly accessible forestland. Popular activities in the county include camping, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, alpine and cross-county skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, ice fishing, fly fishing, whitewater canoeing, kayaking, rafting, boating, swimming, sailing, horseback riding, and water skiing.
There are seven state parks in Garrett County. All offer picnic and fishing areas; all but Casselman River State Park have hiking paths. Mountain bike paths, swimming areas, and boat launches and rentals are available at Deep Creek, Herrington Manor, and New Germany state parks. Rental cabins are available at Herrington Manor and New Germany state parks. Big Run, Deep Creek, Herrington Manor, and New Germany state parks all offer canoeing, while campsites may be found at Big Run, Deep Creek, New Germany, and Swallow Falls state parks.
Garrett County owns four park sites and fifteen recreation facilities. The parks are maintained in cooperation with local associations and civic groups. The recreation areas are attached to public schools and colleges and maintained by the Garrett County Board of Education.
The municipal parks of Garrett County provide sport facilities, hiking, bike and walk paths, playgrounds, picnic areas, boat ramps, and fishing.
Kitzmiller Parks & Recreation Dept.
Oakland Broadford Park includes swimming, picnic tables, fishing, boat ramp, playgrounds, sports fields.
Libraries and Museums
The Ruth Enlow Library was founded in 1915 as the Oakland Free Public Library. Since then, an additional four branches have been added to the library system in Accident, Friendsville, Grantsville, and Kitzmiller. The present director of the library is Thomas Vose.
The Garrett County Historical Society and Museums include a Historical Museum, a Transportation Museum, the Grantsville Museum and the Leo Beachley Photographic Archives. 
There were 11,476 households, out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.70% were married couples living together, 8.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.20% were non-families. 23.50% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.10% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,238, and the median income for a family was $37,811. Males had a median income of $29,469 versus $20,673 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,219. 13.30% of the population and 9.80% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 16.60% are under the age of 18 and 13.90% are 65 or older.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 30,097 people, 12,057 households, and 8,437 families residing in the county. The population density was 46.5 inhabitants per square mile (18.0/km2). There were 18,854 housing units at an average density of 29.1 per square mile (11.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.8% white, 1.0% black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% American Indian, 0.1% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.7% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 35.4% were German, 13.6% identified as American, 11.3% were Irish, and 11.3% were English.
Of the 12,057 households, 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.0% were non-families, and 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.92. The median age was 42.7 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $45,760 and the median income for a family was $56,545. Males had a median income of $40,035 versus $27,325 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,888. About 8.9% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.2% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those aged 65 or over.
Garrett County is home to an Amish community in the Oakland area that consists of a church district of about 70 homes. The Amish community dates back to 1850 and became associated with the New Order Amish, with electricity permitted inside of homes.
Politics and government
The County is governed by an elected three-member Board of County Commissioners, whose members serve four-year terms and must live in the district they represent. The Board is the traditional form of county government in Maryland. It may exercise only those powers conferred by the General Assembly of Maryland, and even those powers are narrowly construed.
Garrett County is administered under a line organizational method, with the County Administrator responsible for the general administration of County Government. The administration of the County is centralized with the County Administrator responsible for overseeing the financial planning, annual budget process, personnel management, and direction and management of operations within the organization.
On December 15, 1977, the seal of Garrett County went into effect by virtue of Resolution #7. The seal is elliptical, with the name "Garrett County" inscribed above the upper fourth of the ellipse, and "Maryland 1872" inscribed below the lower fourth of the ellipse. The date "1872" depicts the year of the formation of Garrett County. The seal illustrates a large snowflake to depict winter; water to represent sailing; and oaks and conifer to represent the county's mountains. The colors are peacock blue for the sky and water. The blue and white background is divided by kelly green.
The official flag for Garrett County is elliptical. The flag illustrates a large snowflake to depict winter; water to represent sailing; and oaks and conifer to represent the county's mountains. The colors are peacock blue for the sky and water. The blue and white background is divided by kelly green.
Although since the Civil War Maryland has been a Democratic-leaning state, Garrett County, owing to its history of German settlement from north of the Mason–Dixon line, plus strong pre-war Unionism resulting from virtual absence of slaves, has always been strongly Republican. Since it was created in 1872, Garrett is one of forty counties across the nation (chiefly Unionist strongholds in antebellum slave states) to have never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. Compared with neighbouring and closely allied Grant County, West Virginia, Garrett has not shown quite the same levels of Republican support – Lyndon Johnson did get within 109 votes of Barry Goldwater in 1964 – but as with Grant County, the only occasion Garrett County has not been carried by the official Republican nominee occurred in 1912 when a major split in the Republican Party allowed "Bull Moose Party" nominee and former President Theodore Roosevelt to claim the county.
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment of Garrett County
Garrett County produces natural gas, the only county in the state to do so. Much of the economic activity in the area centers around the outdoors. In the winter, the Wisp ski resort in Oakland and New Germany State Park's cross county skiing trail are frequent destinations, and Deep Creek Lake sees much activity in the summer. The state parks in the county are frequented year-round.
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^Gary B. Blank, Ph.D. Associate professor, Department of Forestry. Maryland Department of Natural Resources (ed.). "Forest Management History in the Central Appalachians 1900 to 2000" (PDF). Raleigh, NC: Department of Forestry, North Carolina State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-04-19. Retrieved 2009-11-27. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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^"Maryland at a Glance, Waterways, Waterfalls". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
^ ab"Garrett County". County Profiles. Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Archived from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
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^"Maryland at a Glance, Parks & Recreation, Municipal Parks". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
^"About the Library | Ruth Enlow Library of Garrett County". www.relib.net. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
^Garrett County Historical Society and Museums American Heritage.
^"Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved April 26, 2019.
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^ abc"DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
^"Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
^"DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
^"DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
^"Maryland Amish". Amish America. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
^ ab"Board of Garrett County Commissioners". Board of Commissioners. Garrett County Online. Archived from the original on 2010-10-21. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
^Levine, Mark V.; 'Standing Political Decisions and Critical Realignment: The Pattern of Maryland Politics, 1872-1948'; The Journal of Politics, volume 38, no. 2 (May, 1976), pp. 292-325
^DeLisio, James E.; Maryland Geography: An Introduction, p. 260 ISBN 1421414821
^Maxwell, Brandt; ‘A Few Lists of 2008 Election Results (Part II)’
^"Summary of Voter Activity Report" (PDF). Maryland State Board of Elections. August 2020. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
^Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
^"Garrett County Airport (2G4)". FAA Information effective 22 October 2009. AirNav.com. Retrieved 2009-11-11.
^Maryland, West Virginia-based NCWV Media has bought The Republican, a weekly newspaper in Oakland. "NCWV Media buys Maryland paper". News & Tech.