Catoctin Mountain Park

When acquired by the National Park Service in 1935 as a Recreational Demonstration Area (RDA), this area had been denuded of its forests to support the nearby Catoctin Iron Furnace which required as much as 800 bushels of charcoal per day.  An acre of 20- to 25-year-old hardwood timber would need to be felled every day to produce that much charcoal.  The Catoctin Furnace which began operating in 1776 closed down for the last time in 1903.  When the National Park Service acquired the 10,000 acres in 1935, most of the trees where only about the size of a fence post.

The RDA program was administered by the National Park Service, and the WPA and the CCC built the facilities in the park.  The WPA first built a camp at Round Meadow to house workers and then what is now the Visitor Center in 1941.  The CCC  built roads, 50 miles of trails, and three cabin-type group camps, using primarily local materials.  The three camp areas were Misty Mount, Greentop, and Hi-Catoctin.  When looking for a secure rural retreat in 1942, President Roosevelt selected Hi-Catoctin.  President Eisenhower had improvements made to the camp and renamed it Camp David.

Originally, the RDA was to have been turned over to the state of Maryland, but only the approximately 5,000 acres south of MD 77 were ceded to the state of Maryland in the mid-1950s, creating Cunningham Falls Sate Park.

Geologically speaking, Catoctin Mountain (singular) refers to the 50-mile-long ridge that extends from Emmitsburg, Maryland to Leesburg, Virginia.  The term Catoctin Mountains (plural) is generally used in reference to the area in the two parks and points nearby.  There is no single Catoctin Mountain peak.

The underlying bedrock of the Catoctin Mountain parks consists of several types of formations.  Hog Rock and Cunnikngham Falls are cut from a green metabasalt rock, while Wolf Rock, Chimney Rock, Cat Rock and Bobs Hill are outcrops in the sandstone Weverton formation.

Catoctin Mountain Park (NPS)

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