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Many taking interest in compound

October 12, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

CATOCTIN FURNACE, Md. - Nestled in the Catoctin Mountains near the Camp David presidential retreat, Trout Run, a 453-acre recreational compound, is a nature lover's dream.

It's also been a closely guarded secret for decades.

Famous people could make clandestine visits to the camp, "and nobody knew they were here," said Trout Run owner Howard Haugerud, 79.

"The only reason we're opening it now is because we're trying to peddle it," he said.

Trout Run is to be auctioned Oct. 23.

Now that it's an open secret, people - including "lots of locals who didn't know about it" - are taking an interest, Haugerud said.

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People who did know about it begged for entry.

"We were constantly bombarded by people who wanted to rent it," he said.

Trout Run achieved retreat status in 1929, when it became the refuge of President Herbert Hoover, a dedicated fly-fisherman. Commanders-in-Chief continued to visit Trout Run for the fishing even after Camp David was established.

Though Haugerud said he hasn't been keeping up with who might be inquiring about the property, he has some pretty solid ideas about the kinds of bidders it should attract. The perfect bidder would be "an embassy, an association or a company who wants to schmooze the people who come to Camp David," he said.

Because of its proximity to the presidential compound, Haugerud said he's noticed more surveillance in the area since September 2001. When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Camp David last month, "there were helicopters all over the place," he said.

For a while, Haugerud published the domestic edition of Stars and Stripes from the caretaker's cottage next to the main lodge. But while Trout Run could be used as a permanent residence, the Haugeruds never have used it for anything other than a retreat.

"We've never lived here," he said. "No one's ever lived here."

Haugerud declined to pinpoint any one favorite memory of the place.

"I can't; I have so many good memories," he said.

In addition to the existing 453 acres at Trout Run, Haugerud said he has an option on an adjacent parcel that will be included in the auction. The complete package would allow the buyer to be surrounded by parkland, he said.

Registration for the auction begins at 11 a.m. Oct. 23; the auction begins at 1 p.m. and will be conducted by The National Auction Group Inc. of Gadsden, Ala. More information is available at www.troutrun.com or www.national-auction.com.

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