February 4, 2023 Blog

The Trail & Town Alliance of Harpers Ferry-Bolivar is a standing committee of the Foundation. The Alliance now serves as the steering committee for our two towns’ participation in the Appalachian Trail Community Program and the Canal Town Partnership. As such, we build coalitions among towns, partner with the National Park Service, trail organizations, and the business community.

Over the past year, the Trail and Town Alliance has made great progress caring for and building trails in Woodpecker Woods, West Virginia Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) wildlife preserve that straddles Harpers Ferry, Bolivar, and adjacent county land.

Acting on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Historic Town Foundation (our parent organization) and DNR, we have utilized financial support from private donors and the Town of Harpers Ferry and the work of over 30 volunteers from around our region. Though much remains, we have hauled away loads of trash that remained from years of dumping and former homeless encampments. We have worked with DNR and NPS law enforcement to eliminate illegal use of the woods by off-road vehicle users. We have cleared invasive weeds and sought to educate the public about the encroachment of wavyleaf basketgrass, making its way down from Bolivar Heights into town lands and neighborhoods. We cleaned up DNR’s small parking lot on Old Furnace Road and spread fresh gravel purchased with funding from the town of Harpers Ferry.

We continue to establish and blaze hiking trails throughout the woods that are already adding to the outdoor and natural experiences of local residents and others. Most of these trails align with deer and social paths used through many years. We are continuing to make these trails safer for use by hikers and to reduce erosion and other damaging impact that would otherwise result from increased usage. Our ongoing system of blaze marking will eventually enable trail users to traverse the area without getting lost. (Unfortunately, our initial blazes were removed with great effort by vandals late in 2022.) We will be adding signage at trailheads as we find funding for that use and as we receive approval from DNR.

We look forward to continued progress on our trail work and other efforts in the woods. The recently signed MOU between the Town of Harpers Ferry and the Historic Town Foundation will enable us to seamlessly provide access to the trails from Harpers Ferry streets and to enable us to expand our trails onto other Harpers Ferry town lands approved for such development by the town. For more information and to get involved, go to (20+) Trail & Town Alliance of Harpers Ferry & Bolivar | Facebook.

Written by Rachel Meyer