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Park clarifies boundaries

May 19, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

by Ric Dugan / staff photographer

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Boundary trees

After years of problems with blurred boundaries, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is bringing the property lines of state parks into clear focus.

"It's not just in Washington County, but is a statewide effort," said DNR spokesman Patty Manown Mash. "Finally we will have a uniform system."

Much of the work began in March, geared for the parks' pre-season, so rangers would have the time to spare.

One ranger who has been working closely with the program in Washington County is Russell Boback.

"Three years ago, the statewide problem of encroachment at state parks and other public lands became an issue," Boback said.

Boback said a court case brought the problem to a head, so the DNR decided to shape up the boundaries.

"Two years ago, we had a training session and then we got started," Boback said. "Ironically, there was actually some property we didn't know we owned."

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Boback said the state is not acquiring new property with the boundary-marking operation.

"Sometimes we have to cut through private land to get to our boundaries but we always get permission from the landowners first," Boback said.

Some neighbors may see rangers on state lands and private lands and wonder what is going on, Boback said.

The boundary marking is uniform throughout the state, Boback said. And it's very simple.

"If you are standing and looking at a solid yellow stripe on a tree, you are looking into state property," Boback said.

The other side of that boundary tree will have yellow dots, meaning that if you are looking at the dots, you are looking into private property, Boback said.

The yellow paint also can be found on rocks and fence posts, whatever is available on the parks' exterior boundary, Boback said.

In Washington County, the affected areas include Greenbrier, Washington Monument and Gathland parks, the Appalachian Trail and the 500-foot buffer zones on each side, Boback said.

State property is open to the public, Boback said. But since not all state property is open to all uses, the new, clearly defined boundaries will be a big help in managing future activities.

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