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History meets health at the Heritage Trail Hike at Camp Tuscazoar

Camp Tuscazoar, once a Boy Scout camp, is open year round for hiking, biking and other outdoor activities. Guided Heritage Hike tours begin March 21.

File

Take a step back in time on the Heritage Trail Hike at Camp Tuscazoar, starting March 21. This one-hour, guided tour is packed with natural beauty and local history dating back before the Revolutionary War.

All ages are welcome to join Camp Tuscazoar volunteer, Mike Bernhardt, as he guides hikers through a taste of the many historic sites nestled within and around the 660 acres of the camp.

At the beginning of the hike, participants will be clued in on the easiest, yet most rewarding, trail the camp has to offer — the trail to Pioneer Point. Native Americans once used the point as an outlook, overseeing traffic on the Tuscarawas River.

In 1925, I.W. Delph placed the first rock on the top of the point to honor the fallen soldiers who battled at Fort Laurens.

Today, hikers may admire the view. “In looking north, one sees the only place in the world where a river runs into the mountains and not out of them,” Bernhardt said. The direction of the river was re-routed by a Wisconsin glacier 20,000 years ago when it melted to form a huge lake. The lake then cut through the valley, ultimately creating the view of the river valley people see today from Pioneer Point.

Camp Tuscazoar was opened originally as a Boy Scouts camp in 1920. Little did the first scouts visiting Bill English's farm near Zoarville know, the very grounds they pitched their tent on would transform into a full-functioning camp over the course of a few decades.

The founders of the camp named different regions of the grounds after Native American figures and villages. “There is a brook near central camp named Neta-Wat-Wes Brook. It was named after a Delaware Indian Chief,” Bernhardt said. “He was friendly to the first missionary who came to Ohio. The Chief gave him land to build the first cabin in Ohio.” The cabin was located on the North side of Sandy Creek, where it meets the Tuscarawas River.

Today, Camp Tuscazoar is not just a retreat for Boy Scout troops. Nancy Schoenbraum, a longtime volunteer at the camp said, “It has become not only a camp for scouts but also a site for church retreats, school events, band camps, weddings and many other activities.” The grounds offer hiking, biking and horse trails. “We have several buildings and also tent sites that are rentable to the community and have recently opened an RV park on our grounds,” Schoenbraum said.

Yet, the camp has seen its own share of troubles over the years. In the 1930s, authorities announced the building of a dam and reservoir just below campgrounds, forcing the camp to deconstruct many of its buildings and to sacrifice much of the land.

Just when the Buckeye Council seriously considered abandoning the camp altogether, George Markley, president of the Tuscarawas Mineral Land Company, agreed to sell the Buckeye Council a 336-acre tract of land, upon which are such camp landmarks seen on the Heritage Trail Hike as the remains of the Zoarite Iron Ore Mines and the Zoar Station Bridge.

The Heritage Trail Hikes are offered to the public on select Saturdays starting in March and running through October. All hikes will begin at 11 a.m. at the W.C. Moorhead Museum. “A new appreciation of nature and a connection to the past may be just the medicine a person needs in this fast-paced, crazy world. One may even get lucky and see some deer,” Bernhardt said.

For more information or to register for the Heritage Trail Hike, email info@tuscazoar.org.

Camp Tuscazoar is located at 6066 Boy Scout Road NE, Dover.

Published: March 13, 2015
New Article ID: 2015703139972