Billy Goat A Upstream Trailhead Re-route
The National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, will construct a minor reroute of a popular hiking trail within the park near Great Falls, MD. The Billy Goat Trail is a very popular visitor destination for hiking within the scenic Potomac Gorge. The trail is divided into three distinct trails, Billy Goat A, B, and C. Billy Goat A (BGA) is the most strenuous, with difficult transitions and traverses. It is located on Bear Island and takes visitors along the rocky Potomac River shoreline.
Currently, the upstream trailhead for Billy Goat A has a lengthy easy trail for the first 300 yards through relatively level woodlands. As a result, many visitors begin the hike ill prepared for the arduous balance of the trail. Additionally, there are many social trails that veer off the official trail to access vista areas.
The new reroute the trailhead to get visitors more quickly to the rougher terrain, giving them the opportunity to turn around and return to the park's towpath without having invested too much time or distance. It will also get visitors to an initial river vista area using a sanctioned trail.
The Billy Goat A trail reroute is a 0.15 mile reroute of a portion of the trail just after entering BGA from the upstream trailhead. The trail entrance off of the towpath will stay the same but the trail will cut to the right towards the river instead of continuing straight through the woods.
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.
The project also meets the National Historic Preservation Act/Section 106 Programmatic Agreement, Streamlined Review Criteria #2 Rehabilitation and/or Minor Relocation of Existing Trails, Walks, Paths, and Sidewalks
For further information about this project, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.