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A donation that's fur the ages

May 26, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

BIG POOL, Md. - The goal of preserving America's hunting and trapping heritage got a big boost Friday at Fort Frederick State Park.

An assortment of hides and furs from animals that roamed Maryland, past and present, were donated to the fort by the president of the Chesapeake chapter of Safari Club International.

"Anything for the kids," said Ted Burgess, a Maryland businessman/hunting enthusiast.

Deer, otter, muskrat, bobcat, rabbits, foxes, raccoons and possums were among the native assortment. There were also small samples of animal pelts not found in Maryland, such as caribou and elk.

They were placed in the officers' quarters building inside the stone walls of the fort and will become part of the tours given to schoolchildren visiting the fort, which stood at the time of the French and Indian War in the mid-1700s.

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"Some of the furs I brought came from Alaska," Burgess said.

He solicited the furs from Safari Club members there and elsewhere, paying for some that weren't given for the project.

The donation came about when David Moore, park historian, met Burgess while they worked together on a black bear project in Allegany County.

"We had a few furs and hides but not much," Moore said. The idea was hatched between the two men, and Friday the plan became reality.

Park Manager Ralph Young said Moore was instrumental in securing the furs and hides for the fort.

"Dave is very devoted to the history of that era and to the fort," Young said as he looked over the collection.

Visitors to the fort will get their first good look at the furs and hides today and Sunday as the park launches its 2000 Grand Encampment.

Activities will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day with re-enactors on hand to show the day-to-day existence of the French, English and Native American cultures during the French and Indian War.

Food will be available both days.

There will be guest speakers, tours, a demonstration of a homestead ambush (2:30 p.m. today) and forest warfare (Sunday morning).

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