Ford Mine loop extension
The National Park Service, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal NHP, will undertake an extension to the Ford Mine Loop Trail. This additional section was not included in the initial project, PEPC package #27906, and was proposed after consideration of a better connection of the new loop pathways.
Originally, the Ford Mine Trail was a one-way up and back trail. It was observed that social trails had created a "loop" for part of the existing trail. PEPC #27906 evaluated the feasibility of formalizing the social trails and creating a permanent Ford Mine Loop Trail. The compliance for that package was completed and approved April 7, 2010. Work commenced during 2010 on the project.
During the initial trail project, the anticipated connection at the trail split was not readily visible and presented a stream crossing challenge. As work progressed toward completion of the loop segment, it was noted that an existing historic tram line was within the project area. The tramway would present a longer trail and would provide an easier and more visible connection to the other pathway.
The tramway served mining in the area. One historic horizontal mine shaft (physically & permanently shut, caved in, no safety concerns) is visible along the tramway, allowing for potential historical interpretation opportunities. One to three wayside exhibits are proposed to be installed explaining the cultural features of the area. The signs would be installed within areas of known modern disturbance, and the installation would be monitored by a qualified cultural resources specialist to ensure no impacts to unknown archeological resources.
The current loop trail does not feature any cultural resources, so this added segment would be able to provide the park visitor with information about the mining of the area.
Some minor trail work would need to be undertaken within the tramway trace. This work will include leveling of areas were upslope areas have sloughed onto the trail, clearing of downed trees, trail delineation through clearing of surface debris, etc. A 20 foot segment beyond the tramway footprint would need to be used to complete the loop connection. All work will be undertaken by hand and will be completed under the supervision of the park's trail coordinator. Work may be accomplished by summer youth staff or by volunteers.
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. A memo to the file has been issued, based on previous project compliance.
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, at 1850 Dual Highway, Suite 100, Hagerstown, MD 21740.