Residents will be able to comment online
Thurmont, Md (KM) If you like to visit Catoctin Mountain Park and hike the trails, the National Park Service wants to hear from you. The agency is asking for input on a plan to improve the Park’s 25-miles of trails. “We are looking for our visitors and park users to share their ideas on ways we can improve the trails at Catoctin,” says Lindsey Donaldson, the Chief of Resource Management at Catoctin Mountain Park.
She says this input will help park officials to manage and maintain the existing trails. “How we can add new trails and access points to our system that we have in place.,” Donaldson says. “Are there any areas where we should realign existing trails, where there are steep areas or areas that are eroding”
Catoctin Mountain Park was officially established in 1954. But prior to that, it was used for mountain farming, harvesting of trees for timber, and the manufacturing of charcoal for nearby iron furnaces. In the 1930’s, it was turned into a recreational area, and this provided work for people back in the Great Depression.
With many of the trails having been around since the 1930’s, Donaldson was asked why the Park Service wants to make changes. “Things change. People change. Ideas change. Even our visitors change,” she responded. “That’s why we think it’s definitely time to look at some of those ideas to make the Park even better for our visitors.”
A virtual meeting on the Trails Plan will be held on Wednesday, March 10th from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. That’s when citizens can begin making comments. The deadline to submit ideas and suggestions in April 10th.
You can find more information at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/cato_trailplan.
“The comments that we gather will inform our development of the trail plan, and environmental assessment which will evaluate the potential impact on park resources in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historical Preservation Act,”: says Donaldson.
She says the Park Service will be drafting an environmental assessment, and there will be another chance for the public to comment on that plan.
By Kevin McManus