Ford Mine Loop Trail Completion
The National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, will make improvements to the Ford Mine Trail, located within the Palisades Maintenance District of the park. The existing trail is located near the Great Falls Tavern visitor use area.
The purpose of the project is to formalize a network of social trials and provide a loop trail for visitors. The need for the trail is to halt the development of social trails within this area of the park, some of which are compromising naturally sensitive areas.
The Ford Mine Trail head is located at the west end of the visitor parking area. The official trail is currently is a single trail on which users backtrack along the same pathway to return to the parking area. Over time, social trails have developed, indicating that park visitors are looking for a more extensive loop trial, similar to other trails in the area. A previous attempt, circa 1990's, was undertaken by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club to develop a circuit route. This endeavor was never completed or maintained. As a result, the trail, over time, has developed into separate trails. The project work will formalize the social trail network into a loop trail.
The loop trail will take advantage of the NPS property that lies unused and also help distribute visitors from the heavily used trails of the nearby Gold Mine Tract. It is anticipated that volunteers will assist the park's SCA Trails Coordinator Intern in the completion of this project. This project will consist of building one bridge to mitigate any creek erosion from foot traffic; painting blazes and clearing leaf litter to make the trail easier to follow; installing water bars to control erosion and rainfall runoff in areas with grade; and perhaps a few stepping stones in areas where they are needed. Part of the existing social trails are located on an old roadbed. Approximately 400 feet of social trailing will be eliminated by implementing this project.
The park's Interdisciplinary Team reviewed the project for impacts to natural and cultural resources. The project does not pose any serious or long-term effects to the environmental, historical, cultural, archeological, or visual resources. It meets categorical exclusion #C.11 – Minor trail relocations, development of compatible trail networks on logging roads or to the established routes, and trail maintenance and repair.
In consultation with the Maryland Historical Trust (State Historic Preservation Officer), as required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the project was reviewed for impacts to cultural resources. No adverse impacts are anticipated as a result of this project and the project is consistent with the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and the accompanying guidelines.
For further information about this project, please contact Chief of Resources, at 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.