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Catoctin Forest Alliance’s SUCCESS Program

Jim Robbins
Catoctin Forest Alliance

(3/2016) One of the many programs that the organization runs is the SUCCESS Program. This program is part of the Frederick County Public School system for youth ages 16-21 with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program is funded through a grant from the Chesapeake District – Civitan International, Incorporated. The youth report to Cunningham Falls State Park or Catoctin Mountain Park, depending on the work each day that the youth are in school from 9am – 11am.

The program is in its third year with the primary focus on learning to do trail maintenance. The youth must first learn about personnel protective equipment (helmets, gloves, eye protection, clothing, foot-ware and hearing protection), First Aid and CPR, and safety off and on the trail. They learn about tool safety and how to use the following tools: ax, pulaski, bow saws and pruning saws, lopping shears, pole clippers, hand pruners, swizzle sticks, shovels, digging bar and tamping bar, pick and cutter mattock, grub hoe and adze hoe, fire rake, log carrier, chain saw, gas-powered cutter, wheel barrow and McCloud to name a few of the tools that the youth learn about and use depending on the trail work needed.

They learn how and what tools to use for trail construction, trail structure and reconstruction, erosion control structures, stabilizers, switchbacks and climbing turns, when to relocate or repair a damaged trail, cleaning drainage’s, clearing blow-downs, brushing, trail marking systems and kiosks – designs – construction and installation. What building materials to use; wood vs. rock, wood materials, hoisting equipment and cleanup.

Some of the projects that the youth have worked on are repainting the food storage room and the kitchen area at Camp Greentop, cleaned the trail on the mill-run at Owens Creek from the old pond to the sawmill, reworked the campsites at Owens Creek, trail maintenance (we work in both Catoctin Mountain Park and Cunningham Falls State Park) on Browns Farm Trail (NPS) – Spicebush Nature Trail (NPS) – Hog Rock Nature Trail (NPS) – Charcoal Trail (NPS) – Blue Blazes Whiskey Still Trail (NPS) – Park Headquarters to Chimney Rock (NPS) and from the Thurmont Vista Parking Lot to the Thurmont Vista (NPS).

At Cunningham Falls State Park we have worked on the campsites in the William Houck Area and the Manor Area does cleaning and adding new signs. We have made new picnic tables, removed a walkway at the Iron Masters Home in the Furnace, made 16 boxes to hold trash bags for public use, trail work on the lower Falls Trail (CFSP), picnic area clean up at the lake and made some kiosk roofs. We reestablished a trail, in Cunningham Falls State Park (CFSP) at the Manor Area, for people with disabilities. This trail is about ˝ mile long and will be an interpretative trail from the playground, to the Manor Visitor Center and continues to the Pavilion and parking lot at the end. We have helped get ready for the maple sugar event at Cunningham Falls State Park. The list goes on and on and we have FUN doing all of this.

In future issues by the Catoctin Forest Alliance we will be talking about issues with invasive plants and animals and what we can do to help the Parks control these issues. We will be talking about ways that you can participate in activities, help do research and volunteer with the Parks.

The mission of the Catoctin Forest Alliance is to preserve and promote the health of the Catoctin Mountain forest for the enjoyment of present and future generations. You can get more information about our by going to The CFA programs focus on educating both children and adults to be powerful stewards and champions of the environment in this special place.

The SUCCESS Program, Season 101 and First Bloom are all educational programs that provide opportunities for students across the state to experience and learn from the Catoctin forest region. The Artist in Residence program brings artists from all over the US for 2 weeks residencies. During their time in the parks, the artists create are inspired by the forest. The Day of Service program provides volunteerism to help maintain areas of the park and the CFA Scholarship program allows for an annual scholarship for Environmental Studies for students in Frederick County.

This is the 100th anniversary of the National Parks and there are a great many things going on in your Catoctin Mountain Park. Please visit our Programs page on our wed site for current and new programs that will be added during the coming months.

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