Tuscarora Trail Relocation in North Shenandoah Valley Finally Realized

By: John Stacy
South Tuscarora District Manager & Supervisor of Trails, Elect
Photos of Building the Bridge

 
As of December 22, Tuscarora Trail hikers will use a freshly re-routed trail section in the North Shenandoah Valley.  The new path will pass under large oaks, across a small stream, and through a mixed forest.  This slightly shorter route contrasts with the former section that passed through Shenandoah County Park, the Mauertown cut-thru, a stile bridge over a fence by a railroad, and a typical suburban neighborhood. The new section has been marked, so you can simply follow the blue blazes or continue reading for detailed directions and background.  

In February 2016, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation (SVBF) invited PATC to consider re-routing the Tuscarora through its property. SVBF is a non-profit organization chartered by Congress to protect historic sites related to the Civil War. As such, SVFB obtained and protects this battlefield site. By October 2017, PATC and SVBF developed a joint memorandum of understanding, and the club began to mark and clear a new path.  We have also agreed to install a simple campsite on the property to allow camping between the National Forest lands on either side of the valley on Massanutten and Little North Mountains.   

After PATC established the understanding with SVFB and plotted the new route, we were faced with the challenge of crossing Jordan Run. At about 12 feet wide and anywhere from 6 to 12 inches deep, Jordan Run looked like it might delay the trail re-route.  The Engineers for International Development (EfID), a student organization at George Mason University, were a fortunate solution.  The EfID students constructed a similar bridge in Pennsylvania last year.  After an initial site visit in January 2018, these impressive students designed a bridge that passed a professional engineering review in May.  As many as 25 students made seven visits—rain or shine—from May to October to dig and pour foundations, deliver material, assemble stringers, construct the bridge, conduct cleanup, and help clear the trail. EfID even paid for the bridge. The students raised the funds to provide all project materials and most of the equipment. Although a rainy summer forced the student volunteers to haul in supplies by hand, their enthusiasm never faltered. Trail users should admire EfID’s commitment and handiwork as they cross the bridge over Jordan Run on this new stretch of the Tuscarora Trail.

We hope you will enjoy this new opportunity on the Tuscarora Trail! We plan further information on this important project and details on this exciting story in the Potomac Appalachian.

Hiking Directions:

After December 21, as northbound hikers approach the Shenanandoah County Park east of Route 11, they will turn right off Teaberry Road into SVBF land, follow blazes along a 0.8 mile new trail, including a 32 foot bridge crossing.  On reaching route 11, hikers will go right (north), left on Brook Creek (653), left on Harrisville (655), and turn right on Country Brook Road (642).  Southbound hikers will turn left on Harrisville, right on Brook Creek, right on route 11, and then left onto SVBF property.  On exiting SVBF land, they will rejoin the current routing on Teaberry Road (650). Look for blue blazes for guidance.

Map of Relocation

 (As modified from a portion of PATC's Map G.)



Photos

by John Stacy


Cleared for action


Digging foundations and placing forms


Delivering concrete


Pouring the foundation


Wet from the run, but happy!


Assembling the stringers


Placing the stringers


Installing cross braces


Passing the footers


Assembling the handrails


This plank is a favorite!


Satisfied with the accomplishment


Ready for hikers!

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