Crews from the Maryland Park Service and Maryland Forest Service March 19 felled a number of trees to allow the reopening of five overnight shelters and campgrounds along the Appalachian Trail in time for weekend use.

The Pine Knob, Annapolis Rock, Cramptons Gap, Rocky Run and Ensign Cowall areas were evaluated by state officials and deemed ready to open late March 19. The overnight areas at Raven Rock and Pogo remain closed until work there can be completed. The popular Dahlgren Campground, about one mile south of Old South Mountain Inn in Boonsboro, was unaffected by the closures.

The eight shelters on Maryland Park Service property were closed March 18 for an assessment of conditions and maintenance after a hiker was struck and killed by a tree last weekend near the Ed Garvey Shelter, which is located on National Park Service land.

Units within the Maryland Department of Natural Resources quickly established five trail crews to carry out the work.

The assessment and maintenance effort was initiated in consultation with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Maryland Park Service’s partners in overseeing the 40-mile segment of the trail that runs from the Potomac River to the Pennsylvania state line.

Nita Settina, Maryland Park Service superintendent, thanked the hiking community for its patience and understanding and apologized for any inconvenience caused by the temporary closures.

A current listing of closures and available sites is at: dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/at.aspx.

In addition, the Maryland Park Service is operating a trail update hotline: 301-791-4767.