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[at-l] Tuscarora Trail

Landslides@webtv.net wrote:

> YES...we saw a tuscaroura sign the other day, but not sure where it
> ends. The sign was out of the ground and leaning against a tree. But I
> assume it must be around there.. We are on the MD side, I guess I
> was...
>  Can you shed some light on the Tuscarura Trail.We are unfamiliar with
> it, which is odd since we are so close. Is it an old "used to be" or
> something?
In the 50's parts of the AT were in trouble. In GA they ended up
dropping the southern terminus at Mt Oglethorpe (highest mt in GA) and
retreating to Springer Mt. In northern VA much of the trail was closed
by landowners (as was their right) and forced onto roads. Ahhh, the
beautiful Yellow Rose Shelter...

PATC recognized that the Blue Ridge was becoming untenable as an AT
hiking route. In the 30/40's, the building of the Blue Ridge Parkway led
to the AT abandoning the Blue Ridge south of Roanoke and switching to
the west side of the Great Valley (Pearisburg) and the Iron/Bald Mts.
PATC looked for a similar solution for the  Northern Va and MD areas.

The Cumberland Valley had to be crossed somewhere. The current route
crosses at Boiling Springs, PA (and a hot dry crossing it is indeed) to
Duncannon. Why not further south, at Massanutten Mt, where it can be
crossed in two short sections with Fort Valley as a stop-over?

On the AT, a blue blaze is an alternate route. The new route was called
the BIG Blue, and joined up with a trail on Tuscarora Mt that connects
near Duncannon. It crosses the Potomac near you all at Hancock, and uses
part of the C&O Canal trail.

Of course, in the 60's the AT was given National Scenic Trail
protection, a route was worked out in Northern VA (with >>many<< ups and
downs) and the trail stayed on the Blue Ridge. Recently, the Big Blue
and Tuscarora Trails merged, with Tuscarora getting the name but the BB
getting the trail blaze color. Together, 250 miles of alternate trail.
Benton  MacKaye would certainly have approved.

At least, that is the way I understand the story.

- Gary from Fairfax

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