Friday, March 7, 2014

Rocks Mountain Fire, Shenandoah National Park

News reports over the past week have told of a wildfire in Shenandoah National Park on Rocks Mountain. Rocks Mountain is on the western edge of the park, just west of the Riprap Trail and northwest of the town of Crimora.

Here is the text of the National Park Service's (NPS) press release:

Shenandoah National Park personnel have determined that the cause of the Rocks Mountain Fire was an illegal campfire.The fire, which was reported to the park at approximately 3:10 p.m. on Friday, February 28, 2014, had burned approximately 450 acres inside Shenandoah National Park before a winter storm brought rain, sleet and snow to the area.

Fire managers visited the fire location just northeast of Crimora, Virginia today and confirmed that a continuous layer of snow still covers much of the incident area.Once the snow melts, firefighters will patrol the area for hot spots.

The following trails remain closed:Riprap, Wildcat Ridge, Rocks Mountain and Paine Run.

C-ville Weekly's photo of the fire
The curious thing about the press report is that the NPS listed 4 closed trails.  One of the trails listed, the Rocks Mountain Trail, is one that has not been found on a PATC trail map since at least 1988.  Here is a comparison of PATC's Map 11, Edition 8 (c) 1973, and Edition 11 (c) 1988:

It is curious that the NPS would "close" a trail that has apparently been inactive for somewhere between 25 and 40 years.

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