Stronghold Opposes Sugarloaf Overlay

Recently, public officials have suggested that Stronghold, Incorporated (“Stronghold”) has failed to engage in discussions regarding the Sugarloaf Overlay.  Representatives of Stronghold and Frederick County as well as the Frederick County staff began discussions regarding the Sugarloaf Treasured Landscape Management Plan in December of 2019.  After months of review with Stronghold’s consultants and attorneys, as well as in-person meetings with County Executives Jan Gardner and Jessica Fitzwater at their request, Stronghold has remained consistent with its opposition to the inclusion of Stronghold’s property in the Sugarloaf Overlay.  Stronghold has also provided written opposition for the record to the Planning Commission or County Council on September 1, 2021, January 18, 2022, February 25, 2022, May 13, 2022, August 9, 2022, September 8, 2022, and January 17, 2023.  Additional discussions with the Frederick County Planning Commission or the Frederick County Council will not change Stronghold’s opposition.

As we have repeatedly stated to all parties, Sugarloaf Mountain is not a public park but rather private property owned and operated by Stronghold, a not-for-profit entity dedicated to the conservation and forestry mission of its founder, Gordon Strong.  Gordon Strong made Sugarloaf Mountain his home and warned against unnecessary governmental restrictions and intrusions.  Sugarloaf Mountain is currently zoned resource conservation, the most restrictive of all zoning categories.  Any additional restrictions will impact Stronghold’s operation and maintenance of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Stronghold is very appreciative of the calls, emails, and greetings it has received supporting its position, although some have sought governmental control of Sugarloaf Mountain.  Stronghold has neither requested nor received any financial assistance from Frederick County to maintain Sugarloaf Mountain for the benefit of its citizens.  Stronghold has preserved Sugarloaf Mountain for decades with the utmost integrity, care, and concern for the land and its natural resources.  Frederick County should remove Stronghold’s property from the Sugarloaf Overlay so that Stronghold can continue to care for Sugarloaf Mountain and make this treasured property accessible to the public for decades to come.

                                        General Counsel of Stronghold, Incorporated

                                         Walter C. Martz, II

Sugarloaf Mountain is OPEN

Welcome to Stronghold on Sugarloaf Mountain

Stronghold, Incorporated is a non-profit corporation, organized in 1946 by the late Gordon Strong. It owns and operates the mountain property for the public’s “enjoyment and education in an appreciation of natural beauty.”

Sugarloaf Mountain has been designated a Registered Natural Landmark because of its geological interest and striking beauty. Stronghold agreed to maintain its natural state, and your help in this regard will be a most welcome contribution.

Funds for maintenance and improvement do not come from federal, state, or municipal sources. They come from a modest trust fund, from membership dues, and from gifts and bequests of folks like you, who are interested in preserving this priceless heritage.

We wish you a pleasant stay and venture the thought that as you stand and look out upon the lovely Monocacy Valley and the mountains beyond, you will experience a moral and spiritual uplift. Gordon Strong believed that “… those who appreciate natural beauty will be better people, people who treat each other better.”

Trash Free Park:

Stronghold does not provide trash receptacles throughout the park. Please plan to pack out all trash when visiting the property.


Stronghold is requesting that visitors make a voluntary donation of $5 or more. Your donations provide needed funding for maintenance of property and facilities. Donations can be placed in the donation box located at the entrance to the park. Donations can also be made securely online through PayPal.


Stronghold will not permit roadside parking. Visitors should park in designated areas only. Any vehicles parked in no parking zones will be towed. Stronghold Inc. accepts no responsibility for damages to vehicles parked on the property. If your vehicle is towed, you can contact Dorseys Towing in Frederick Maryland at (301) 663-1540. Average cost is $325.

Park Hours and Other Information:

Park hours are from 8:00 AM until Sunset. The front gate will be closed at:  4:00 PM year round.  Please be off the property by sunset. Any vehicles found on the property after sunset will be towed by Dorseys Towing. Sunset times can be found HERE

All visitors are expected to behave responsibly and be respectful of the property and other visitors. Dogs must be on a leash at all times.  Porta Johns are provided and maintained for the use of our visitors.  Please do not place trash, diapers, etc. in the porta johns.  Please plan to take your trash home with you.  Picking up litter when you see it is a big help to Stronghold staff.

Sugarloaf Mountain is private property, owned and maintained by Stronghold Inc. Stronghold reserves the right to ask any visitor to vacate the property, if they are acting in any manner disrespectful of our policies or property.

events at

Did you know you can hold your event on the mountain? The Strong Mansion is the perfect setting for weddings, banquets or any special occasion.