NAME: Green Ridge State Forest -fomer apple orchard
COUNTY: Allegany
CLIMATE: Cold snowy in the winter, Hot and Humid summers
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring and Fall best time, but can access all year
COMMENTS: From interstate 68 look for the Green Ridge State Forest Headquarters.28700 Headquarters Dr, NEFlintstone, MD 21530-9525(301) 478-3124There is a book there that was written by an employee. This book which is not in publication anymore tells the whole story about the history of the Apple Orchard and the people that lived there and had to leave. Tons and Tons of history here. also much of this information was found at Also near hear is the Paw Paw Tunnel. Part of the C&O Canal.
REMAINS: several, including The Carroll Chimney, Banners Overlook, Some Cemataries, Schools, Old Railroads,
Green Ridge as you see it today is nearly 30,000 acres of unspoiled forest land. But its modern appearance belies its history of human use -- and misuse. There was a time when hardly a tree stood anywhere in what is now Green Ridge State Forest due to human exploitation. If you know where to look once you are in the forest, there is plenty of evidence of the history of that misuse. In the early 1800's partners Richard Caton and William Carroll owned much of the land that is Green Ridge State Forest today. Richard Caton was the son-in-law of Charles Carroll of Carollton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. William Carroll was the grandson of Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek, a framer of the U.S. Constitution. Their business venture at Green Ridge, involving iron ore and timber, failed. The Carroll Chimney, a part of a steam-powered sawmill built in the 1830's, is the only surviving structure from this period. The Mertens family from Cumberland, Maryland acquired the property from the Carroll heirs. During the late 1800's and early 1900's, Mertens cut, burned and converted the forest into an apple orchard. They promoted it as "the largest apple orchard in the universe. Many familes moved up to this area from the Baltimore and Washington area to run their part of this apple orchard. There were houses, schools, chruchs, two railroads, and anything else any town would need. " This business venture also failed. Consequently, in 1918 the Mertens went into bankruptcy. Green Ridge State Forest officially came into existence when the State Department of Forestry acquired portions of this property in 1931. At this time the forest was in very poor condition and consisted of 14,400 acres. Seventy years later it has grown to 41,000 acres. Since the 1930's, wild fires have been reduced, young stands of trees are reaching maturity, wildlife habitat conditions have improved, and opportunities for a variety of outdoor recreation have increased. The forest is yielding benefits in greater supply, including wood products, fish and wildlife, recreation, wild lands and natural areas, and protected watersheds. For those interested in the history of the area, it is possible to travel on traces of the Old Town Road on the east side of the forest. Built during the 1750's as a military road connecting Fort Frederick with Fort Cumberland by order of Maryland Governor Sharpe, the Old Town Road was surveyed by one of Maryland's greatest frontiersmen Colonel Thomas Cresap. Follow the road to Old Town, the oldest settlement in Allegany County, settled by Colonel Cresap in 1740. "Point Lookout," off of Old Town Road, is a site overlooking the Potomac River Valley east. From this perch, Union soldiers tried to detect Confederate movements in the valley during the Civil War. Earlier, 243 acres of this same land was owned by George Washington. In addition, Banners Overlook, Logroll, Warrior Mountain and No Name Lookout offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. These areas are popular during the fall color season and for viewing hawks during migration. On Green Ridge Road looking west toward Warrior Mountain, you can see "The Great Warrior Path" which runs north and south, extending from the Great Lakes through the Carolinas used by Native American war and hunting parties for hundreds of years before European contact through the Colonial period. There are over 27 miles of hiking trails that trace narrow ridges and stream valleys in the forest. The trail connects with the C&O Canal towpath, providing a 46 mile circuit hike. While you are in the area visit the C&O Canal National Historical Park which adjoins the forest along the Potomac River. The Paw Paw Tunnel, 3,080 feet in length, is located on the eastern edge of the forest. Various hiking trails lead off from the canal into the forest. A new Green Ridge State Forest Mountain Bike Trail features a challenging 11.6 mile bike loop in a wilderness setting. "The Ridge," as it is commonly referred to, is a single track trail suitable for intermediate to advanced riders that winds up and down the ridges and valleys of the forest. Riders will encounter technical obstacles such as stream crossings, fallen trees, steep turns and sustained climbs. Four "easy-out" routes are incorporated into the trail allowing riders to shorten their ride and return to the start/finish point. Ask for a new Green Ridge State Forest mountain bike map and guide at the forest's office. The Ridge Trail is located in a vast 43,000 acre tract of hardwood forest, and is marked with signs that indicate a preferred direction of travel and the mileage in descending order. Green Ridge State Forest is also an excellent venue for guided canoe trips and hiking, and offers approximately 100 primitive campsites throughout the forest. Hikers can also take advantage of four new Adirondack style shelters to be placed along scenic and remote sections of a 24 mile backpacking trail. There are still a few private owners mixed in with the property owned by the state parks department. Winter time the area is used for hunting. Spring, summer and fall it is used for camping and outdoor sports. There are miles of offroad vehicle trails. Bond's Landing is the focal point for boating and canoeing in the eastern part of Allegany County. A boat ramp here provides easy access to the Potomac River, a waterway rich in the history of Colonial and 19th century Maryland. Submitted by: Robert Royden Lowery Jr.