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Nice family spot now even better

May 04, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

INDIAN SPRINGS - Fred Cornett remembers heading out to the Indian Springs Fishing Pond with his wife Margaret and his newborn baby 35 years ago.

They would carry their daughter, Cathy, in a cardboard box.

"We would sit her out in the box here and fish," Cornett said. Cornett, 62, got to know Ronald F. Shank, the man who lived in the house by the pond. Sometimes, "he would baby-sit the baby while my wife and I fished," he said.

Thirty-five years later, Cornett is helping to head up an effort by the Washington County Forestry Board, the Clear Spring FFA and the Maryland Forest Service to upgrade the Ronald F. Shank nature trail at the fishing pond on Mooresville Road, about eight miles northwest of Clear Spring.

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"The original trail wasn't kept up," Cornett said. The groups have been refurbishing the trail for about a year, clearing out brush with weed-whackers and chain saws and installing a footbridge.

The pond and trail offer wayfarers a place to relax while learning about the environment. The FFA members have carved and painted dozens of wooden signs that will mark about 50 different types of trees and shrubs along the trail.

"We hope to have these signs all up in the next couple of weeks," he said.

In the 1930s, the area near the pond was a commercially unsuccessful muskrat farm, he said. The muskrats were used for their fur, he said.

Cornett said the area is perfect for students, Scout groups and families. People can bring picnics and take a stroll on the trail, or fish for trout in the pond, which is stocked seasonally.

"We would like to see the schools come out and use it for field trips."

The groups are working on producing a pamphlet detailing the trail which would be made available to anyone coming to the pond.

The pond is a part of the state-owned Indian Springs Wildlife Management Area. Admission is free year-round.

To get to the pond, take U.S. 40 west from Clear Spring about three miles. Take a right on Funkhouser Road, which will join with Indian Springs Road. Continue a couple of miles and take a left on Mooresville Road. The gravel entrance to the pond is about a mile on the right, just past a white church on the left. There is no sign marking the pond.

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