Security Considerations Along the M-DT<<Home
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We will first mention some general security considerations, then list some particulars along the trail. As far as security considerations go, the M-DT is, generally speaking, a very safe trail to hike on. However, you should be aware of certain aspects that will ensure a positive and pleasant hike.
One of the first things to be aware of is your vehicle. If you plan to day hike or a long distance hike on the M-DT lock your vehicle and do not leave anything tempting in plain view such as money, camping gear, electronics or clothing. Conceal or hide these items so that nothing of value is visible. Better yet, leave them at home. We constantly check the web for articles about the Mason-Dixon Trail. The only event that we could find that happened recently was an article that concerned individuals entering a vehicle while people were swimming close by the M-DT near the PA372 Bridge. So lock your vehicle and leave nothing in sight. If your vehicle is broken into, please file a police report so that patrols will be stepped up in the area where the crime occured. And Contact Us to let us know what happened.
Another security consideration is hiking alone. You should always try to hike with a buddy in case of injury or an unfavorable encounter with an animal or another person. It isn't always possible to hike with a buddy. But if you can, hike with a buddy.
Take a cell phone. Cell service along the M-DT is good in some places, not so good in others. But having a cell phone is preferable to not having one. Call 911 if you have an emergency. If long distance hiking the M-DT there are a number of Solar Day Packs, Backpacks and Chargers as well as Quick Chargers for cell phones.
Have a map. You can order a map of the M-DT here. It is worth the money.
Wear blaze orange. Hunting of various types of game is legal 11 months of the year in PA, MD and DE. There is an article about this elsewhere on this site.
As far as carrying a firearm while hiking the M-DT, laws do vary from county to county and state to state. It is best to check with law enforcement agencies in the areas that you want to carry a firearm. It may or may not be legal depending where you are hiking.
Do not camp on private property with 'Posted' signs. You may be subject to fines, arrest or being confronted by angry land owners if you camp illegally along the M-DT.
If day hiking carry a day pack with water, some snacks, a tin foil blanket (just in case you have to spend the night in the woods), a flashlight, a knife and a compass. Bushnell makes a neat product called a Backtrack, which is an inexpensive GPS device that makes a record of where you walk and then shows you how to get back to your start point. If long distance hiking on the M-DT consider a SPOT Satelite GPS Messenger. It allows you to send a signal to your loved ones to tell them where you are on the trail. It also allows you to send an emergency signal if you get lost or injured on the trail. It could save your life.
About 35% of the Mason-Dixon Trail is along public roads. Wear comfortable, yet sturdy footwear along with hiking socks and liners. Walk facing traffic and have an escape route ready in case you have to dodge vehicles.
The following are particular security concerns along the Mason-Dixon Trail. They are listed from west to east. Mileage markers given are based on the M-DT 2016 map sets:
Map 1- Appalachian Trail at Whiskey Spring, PA to Pinchot State Park, PA
Map 1, Mile 11.1- You will be within PA State Gameland 242 for about 4.1 miles. No camping, wear blaze orange, be aware of hunters.
Map 2- Pinchot Park at Squire Gratz Road, PA to Wago Junction at the Susquehanna River, PA
Map 2, Mile 0.0- Seasonal hunting is allowed within portions of Gifford Pinchot State Park, PA. Wear blaze orange, be aware of hunters. The M-DT traverses this park for 6.8 miles.
Map 3- Wago Junction at the Susquehanna River, PA to Trinity Church Road South of Wrightsville, PA
Map 3, Mile 15.0- At PA624 Murphy's Hollow RD there is a sign that states 'Private Property- Keep Out'. Users of the M-DT are welcome to park there.
Map 4- Trinity Church Road South of Wrightsville to Otter Creek Campground, PA
Map 4, Mile 13.0- Apollo County Park Minimal impact camping is permitted in Apollo County Park for hikers on the Mason-Dixon Trail only at Apollo Park Shelter and with an approved Special Use Permit. This permit is available for download from the York County, PA Parks and Recreation web site. There is no charge for this permit. Click/Tap Here for an example of how the permit should be filled out. You can either 'snail mail' the filled out permit 14 days prior to when you want to stay at the shelter, drop it off at their office for approval or you can call them and they will fill it out and approve it over the phone. Their preferred method is for applicants to give them a call. The department's phone number is 717-840-7440. Camping is now prohibited anywhere else within the park. The shelter rules are here.
Map 5- Otter Creek Campground, PA to PA - MD State Line
Map 5, Mile 1.9- The M-DT is closed for about .5 miles along the maintenance road that is parallel to the power lines between 10/31 and 12/31 annually due to hunting. This area is partially within PA State Gameland 83.
Map 5, Mile 4.0- You will be within PA State Gameland 181 for about 2.9 miles. No camping, wear blaze orange, be aware of hunters.
Map 5, Mile 17.1- There are some ongoing issues regarding parking around the Muddy Creek bridge when hiking the M-DT. Cars have been towed in the past so it is advisable not to park in this area to hike the trail. Though you may see a plethora of 'No Trespassing' signs in this area, the trail is open at the point when you turn left off of Gaging Station/Paper Mill Road to walk along Muddy Creek.
Map 5, Mile 24.7- You must call Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Plant Security before hiking between miles 24.9 and 26.4 at 717-456-4212. Tell them that you will be hiking the M-DT past their plant and when. Also have a photo ID ready to show them. Failure to do so may result in detainment and/or arrest for trespassing.
Map 6- PA - MD State Line to Quarry Road North of Havre de Grace, MD
Map 6, Mile 9.4- Since 9/11 you cannot hike close to the Conowingo Dam.
Map 6, Mile 20.5- Do not camp anywhere near the police shooting range. One of our members did so once. He woke up to a number of officers pointing guns at him and his tent.
Map 7- Havre de Grace, MD to North East, MD
Map 7, Mile 1.8- You cannot walk across the US40 bridge between Havre de Grace and Perryville, MD. You must either take a bus or a cab if long distance hiking the M-DT. There are 2 known taxi services in this area: Montville Taxi- 410-939-0900 and Poole's Taxi- 410-939-2500. There are no known shuttle services within 5 miles of the trail. There is public transportation available via Harford Transit Link and CecilTransit. Someone posted on our Facebook page recently that they were able to charter a boat to ferry them across the Susquehanna River between Perryville and Havre de Grace, MD while doing a long distance hike on the M-DT. We could not find any charter services on the Internet so maybe it's just a matter of asking down at the docks for a 'water shuttle'. As of 07-01-2016, according to change.org you will be able to ride a bicycle on the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna as part of a test to see how it works. You will have to pay the current toll to do so. This won't help hikers unless you can borrow a bike from someone.
Map 7, Mile 8.7- You may encounter right of way issues within the Principio Business Park. If you do, please retrace your steps and Contact Us. The land owner of this area has advised us of a drug related incident of some sort. Since this area is isolated and close to railroad tracks it is advisable to not hike alone and not camp in this area.
Map 7, Mile 11.0- No parking on Red Toad Road and especially around the communications shed. Cars have been towed along this stretch
Map 8- North East, MD to Pleasant Valley Road, DE
Map 8, Mile 11.5- Elkton, MD is a small urban town. Be aware of your surroundings.
Map 9- Pleasant Valley Road, DE to White Clay Creek Preserve at London Tract Road, DE
Map 9, Mile 4.0- Newark, DE is medium sized city. Again, be aware of your surroundings.
Map 10- White Clay Creek Preserve at London Tract Road, DE to Chadds Ford, PA
Map 10, Mile 14.3- A landowner has requested that users of the Mason-Dixon Trail please stay on Fairville RD between PA52 and the eastern terminous of the M-DT in Chester County, PA during December and January annually due to hunting.
If you know of any additional security considerations along the Mason-Dixon Trail, please Contact Us and click on the bottom radio button before submitting.
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