Paw Paw Tunnel Hill Trail Project
The National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, will make improvements to the Paw Paw Tunnel Hill Trail, located at between mile 155 and 157 of the park. This two mile trail offers visitors a woodland trail that goes over the mountain through which the Paw Paw Tunnel was constructed. The Paw Paw Tunnel carries the canal through the mountain, which was avoided a circuitous route.
The existing trail had a brochure that visitors used for information on natural and historic points of interest. The brochure is no longer available. The trail posts were numbered to correspond with the brochure.
The purpose of the project is to rehabilitate the trail and bring it up to date for visitor use. The need for the project is to provide visitors with sign post information that will eliminate the need for a brochure.
The trail had 15 points of interest, each marked by a numbered post. Eleven of these posts are still in place. The proposed project will install 4x4x6 inch treated wooden posts to replace the existing posts. A small interpretive wayside (12 inch x 9 inch) will be mounted to each post. There will be 10 site markers and 2 trailhead signs.
The project will involve the removal of the remaining 11concrete post markers, replacing many of them at the exact site with new wooden posts and mounting the aluminum wayside mounts and fiber imbedded informational panels on top of the posts. Six new locations will be needed to accommodate some of the signs/trailhead markers. Posthole will be dug by hand to decrease impacts to unknown archeological resources. Posts will be either dry packed with fine stone or dry concrete mix. Any soil displaced during excavation work will remain on site and will be used to backfill around the new sign.
Additionally, a natural barrier will be placed at a trail switchback at the north end of the mountain. Visitors can currently take a wrong turn and access a Green Ridge State Forest Mountain road rather than stay on the tunnel trail
The Tunnel Hill Trail project will be completed with assistance from a Maryland Boy Scout Troop organized as an individual Eagle Scout project. Project oversight will be provided by the park's interpretive and maintenance staffs.
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.5 – Installation of signs, displays, and kiosks.
The project also meets the National Historic Preservation Act/Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, Streamlined Review Criteria #10 – Erection of Signs, Wayside Exhibits, and Memorial Plaques.
For further information about this project, please contact Chief of Interpretation, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.