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Strong backs needed to repair fence rows

October 17, 1998

DOWNSVILLE - The call is going out for more strong backs to continue the repair work on the crumbling pre-Civil War fence rows that stretch for several miles on both sides of the Dam No. 4 road.

The first clean-up was held on Sept. 26 with more than a dozen people showing up. A second round occurred Oct. 10 but the work is far from over.

New clean-up dates include Oct. 24, Nov. 7 and Nov. 21 - all Saturdays and all starting at 8 a.m.

The Rev. Jan Dorsey, pastor of the Downsville Church of the Brethren, is hoping groups of people as well as individuals might volunteer, bringing their own tools and parking in the church lot.

"The fences were dry stacked when they were built. In other words, no mortar was used and over the years some stones have come loose and tumbled down," Dorsey said.

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Weeds and debris also are choking out whole sections of the fence, hampering visibility for drivers using the narrow but heavily traveled road that leads to the Potomac River.

The Washington County Roads Department sprayed the fence walls to kill weeds. They also will put up road safety signs and provide safety vests on the days of the cleanups.

Drivers using that road on those Saturdays are being urged to drive slowly and carefully, and to watch out for workers, Dorsey said.

High school students may be able to earn community service hours toward graduation, Dorsey said.

"For safety reasons, we can't use workers younger than high school age," Dorsey said.

-Marlo Barnhart

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