A man tracking facts finds confusion on Savage Historic Mill Trail Many markers are missing NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

June 25, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Alexander Estrin wants to know about the Bollman Truss Bridge on the Savage Historic Mill Trail. He wants to know the history of the trail in relation to the old Savage Mill and what types of wildlife and trees inhabit the trail.

Mr. Estrin was baffled that his questions weren't answered when he took a walk along the trail in April.

He noticed numbered wooden posts along the trail, and assumed they had been placed there to identify various points of interest on the trail. But there was no brochure to go with the markers, and most of the markers were missing.

Confused about the missing markers, Mr. Estrin decided to write to County Executive Charles I. Ecker.

"I must have been pretty impressed with the place if I was willing to sit down and write a good letter -- hysterical, not complaining," Mr. Estrin said.

"This is a great resource, and not to mark the significance of it is disappointing."

The trail begins with the Bollman Truss Bridge, built in the mid-1800s and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also included on the trail are remains of buildings and structures connected with the operation of Savage Mill.

Mr. Estrin received a reply to his letter from Jeffrey A. Bourne, county director of recreation and parks.

"Your observations were exactly on target as to the confusion created by the remaining few markers and the inability of the public to determine their function," Mr. Bourne wrote.

In the mid-1970s, a series of markers was placed along the trail as part of a federal Youth Conservation Corps summer program. The park office at the Savage Park provided brochures, explaining the significance of each of the markers, Mr. Bourne said.

But most of the markers were destroyed in the late 1980s, as water and sewer connections were extended and construction disturbed the trail. The brochure that explained the markers is out of print.

Mr. Bourne said he wasn't aware, until he received Mr. Estrin's letter, that any markers remained and that he has asked park staff to remove them to avoid confusion for visitors.

Once the utility work affecting the park is completed, Mr. Bourne said, his office plans to look into creating a new informational brochure for all three park trails.

Mr. Estrin said he was delighted to receive Mr. Bourne's reply and looks forward to future walks on the Savage Historical Mill Trail when he can answer all his questions.

"You walk by and there's a No. 3 marker and a No. 6 marker," Mr. Estrin said.

"But what does it stand for? What took place there? Why is it significant?"

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