Boundary Trail

 By Joe Feeman

At the time of purchase, the Norris Watershed boundary was along this old county road, with a 30 foot right of way; the boundary was on the "south edge of the road" for the first section, then on the "north edge of the road", and then back to the "south edge of the road". Most of the road was on the property of Thomas Jones prior to purchase. In the late 1980s, on the eastern section of the road, where there were private homes, problems arose when users were challenged by the homeowners who did not want the public to use it. The watershed board decided to build a new road which was entirely on watershed property rather than challenge the right of use over the old county road. This was a wise decision because the new road was built along the contour and drains well and needs less maintenance than the old road, which had some very large mud holes that were virtually impossible to drain.

Boundary Trail is 1.2 miles long and gains about 100 feet in elevation, although it is relatively flat. It begins at the north end of the watershed, off Upper Clear Creek Road, and is open to all users (green trail). The trail starts on a flat area and soon begins a climb that is gradual. At about 0.1 miles, the new trail (Joe's Trail 1) turns down the hill to the right on a single track and eventually reaches Belmont Trail. Boundary continues up the slope and makes a bend to the right before descending down a slight slope through upland hardwood forest with oaks (white, red, and chestnut), hickory, and yellow poplar. The trail bends back to the left and passes an old field on the left that was planted in shortleaf pine by the CCCs. There are few of the original planted pines remaining, but scattered white pines are present in the understory. You will reach an old road that crosses the trail; the road to the left goes to the property line and old original Boundary Trail, while the right hand road is an old logging road that originally went to Belmont Trail. The right hand road is closed to vehicular traffic, and posts were recently installed to restrict traffic. Continuing on the trail, it starts down a slope and forks into two roads; during recent road work, a new road was built to the right to bypass a very wet area on the road. Straight down the trail, on the original route, there is a low spot where water drains and has created a large mud hole which has no place to drain. The new route crosses the bottom of the hollow as well, but will hopefully drain and not collect water. It goes through a white pine stand that was planted some 25 years ago. Both options are still open and you will climb up the other side of the small hollow before the trail flattens out. On the left side of the road you will see private residences. In a short distance you will reach the trails end at the upper end of Clear Creek Trail, which goes down the hill.

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