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[at-l] Dolly Sods
Found this in todays Frederick News Post. I am sorry this is so long, but
think it is worth sharing.
14 Army Projectiles Unearthed
Morgantown WVa (AP) - People trekking throught the rugged Dolly Sods
Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest have a few less things to worry
Workers unearthed 14 live mortar rounds this summer that had lingered from
the days when the barren high country was used for Army training during WWII,
said Steve Wright, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers.
One of the projectiles was actually exposed, its tail jutting from a laurel
bush, he said. All were detonated.
The Army Corps undertook the project after years of reports of hikers finding
projectiles in the 10,000-acre Dolly Sods Wilderness, where warnings are
posted at all of the trail entrances.
Dave Wolfarth, who oversaw the project, said the area is now safe for hikers
and others, as long as they stay on designated trails where workers used
magnetometers to look for bombs.
"I hope we've done some good for the hikers in the area. Hopefully we'll
have no more projectiles turned into the forest service office," Mr. Wolfarth
said. "Hopefully it's all clear."
The search-and-destroy mission began last spring with contractors heading
into primitive plateau in the Allegheny Mountains with magnetometers to
search for metal-clad projectiles under the ground.
Rangers said the concern was not so much someone stepping on a bomb but that
someone might build a campfire or drive a stake into the ground where an
unexploded projectile lurks near the surface.
All of the 81mm and 60mm mortars that were discovered were within one to two
feet of the surface, Mr Wright said.
Eight were discovered on the Fisher Spring Run Trail, two were found on the
Red Creek Trail, and four were found on the Rocky Point Trail, Mr. Wright
said. One inert round was discovered as well.
For workers, it was akin to looking for a needle in a haystack, Mr. Wolfarth
The contractors made 32,594 excavations and had only 14 mortars to show for
it, Mr. Wolfarth said. Most of what they found were old tools, horseshoes,
or railroad spikes, he said.
After finishing last month, workers moved to the adjacent 6,000-acre Dolly
Sods North area, where they will work until Nov. 20, Mr. Wolfarth said. Work
will be completed there next summer.
Altogether, the two areas, which are about 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh,
attract tens of thousands of backpackers, hunters, and others each year.
They are among 2,136 places from Maine to California where people may be
exposed to the explosive remnants of military training, said Kim Speer of the
US Army Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, AL.
The Army corps set aside $1.2 million for the Dolly Sods Wilderness and it
came in $300,000 under budget, she said. In all, there is funding to remove
ordnance or to evaluate about 60 sites, she said.
The Army saw no problem with hurling projectiles into Dolly Sods as soldiers
trained in WWII. The barren area where annual snowfall exceeds 100 inches
seemed well suited to the job.
But the area became popular after backpackers and hikers discovered the
peaceful ranges and panoramic vistas in the harsh climate where spruce are
one-sided because of the strong westerly winds.
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