● Published by J. Chambless
Gallery: Tri-State Marker dedication [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
By Carla Lucas
“This was a project of the entire community,” said Gary Shroeder, president of the Friends of White Clay Creek Preserve, as he opened the dedication ceremony for the Tri-State Marker Trail on June 6.
People came to the celebration because they loved to hike, because they were interested in history, or because they played a part in creating the new trail. Many came to celebrate it all.
The dedication of the new 1.7-mile northern segment of the Tri-State Marker Trail means that the public can now access the historic marker. The trail was made possible through a small land acquisition in December of 2011 that transferred a section of private property to the State of Pennsylvania's White Clay Creek Preserve. Friends of White Clay Creek Preserve, in partnership with the Wilmington Trail Club, spearheaded the trail building. It was through the cooperation of approximately 15 agencies in three states and at the federal level that the project was designed and approved.
Wendel Cassel guided the project, which included the building of nine bridges along the trail. It took more than 1,600 volunteer hours to complete the northern segment, and the cost was about $14,000. The southern segment of this looping trail is expected to be completed this year.
“Good trails make good neighbors,” said Delaware State Rep. Paul Braumbach as he read the Delaware House Resolution proclaiming June 6, 2015 as Mason Dixon Day in the state. He added that there was a lot of hard work leading up to the day, and working together made the trail a new asset for the entire community.
June 6 was National Trails Day. The Wilmington Trail Club organized hikes leaving from Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland that converged at the Tri-State Marker for the dedication ceremony. The Friends of White Clay Creek Preserve organized a Discovery Hike from the trailhead at the Arc Corner parking lot along the Tri-State Marker Trail. As hikers walked along the trail, they came upon stations where they could learn about the Mason Dixon survey, try their hand at using the tools that Mason and Dixon used, learned about local plants and wildlife, learned about the White Clay Watershed, got information on Lyme disease, and learned about how the bridges along the trail were built.
On June 6, 250 years ago, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon's survey set the northeast corner of Maryland. From here, they began the westward survey that determined the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania.
“Each stretching of their chain, each stone laid into the ground, each tracking of the stars, each meticulously drawn detail on their map, helped bring certainty into focus, helped draw the line between two colonies,” said Quinitn Schroeder, as he talked about the significance of the Mason-Dixon survey. “What started as a boundary setting borders between two colonies to end disputes and bloodshed became a boundary that helped define a nation. It became a boundary line for freedom in the 1800s for fugitive slaves, and a line synonymous with the division of fundamental differences in thought and policy between two halves of a nation."
“I don't think Mason or Dixon dreamed we would be gathered here today, celebrating their work, and this little piece of ground,” said Pennsylvania Rep. John Lawrence, who presented the Friends group with a House Resolution proclaiming June 6, 2015 as White Clay Creek Preserve Day.
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources secretary Cindy Dunn hiked the Tri-State Marker Trail. “This is a place of incredible history,” she said at the dedication. “It is critical for the public to take ownership and see, experience and learn. [The trail can] open new eyes to this experience and expand the importance of the site.”
The trail was officially dedicated as those in attendance followed the flags of the three states over the bridge, and headed down the trail and back to their homes.