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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Walk The Line

It’s a new day.  Now that we’ve passed our defensive driver course, we started off on our day’s adventure…


Pin Hunting and walking the COE property boundary lines.  We set off with one of the rangers and followed him way out into the boonies.  We were given a map with about a three mile section of line for Marti and I to cover.


Why are the pins and boundaries so important?  With over 1000 miles of shoreline around Thurmond Lake, and even more miles of COE property set back from the shoreline, constant inspections of the boundary lines are necessary to prevent people from encroaching on the COE property.  You’d think this wouldn’t be much of an issue, but it is an ongoing problem resulting in lawsuits and structure removals that were built on COE property.

As a result, the entire boundaries are walked and inspected in increments over a five year cycle, so every five years the entire COE property lines are inspected.  The work is divided up amongst all the rangers in the COE Shoreline division, each ranger has to annually cover 15 miles of boundary line in their assigned area, along with all the other duties they are responsible for.  It is a huge amount of work.  Volunteers like us help get this task accomplished.

We started off near a property that had encroached on a chunk of COE property in the past.  After a lawsuit, the property owner reached a deal with the COE to purchase the property that part of his house had been built on.  We checked the pins to ensure they were in place.  In no time we found them.



Marti marked the pins with pink tape.

You’d think this homeowner would have learned, but no.  After all the trouble they had in the past, they built a deck and a brick fireplace on COE property.  You can see the pin by the base of the tree and the ribbon lays out the 90 degree turn.  Half of the deck is right on the COE property.


Looks like the COE legal department will be contacting these people shortly.

We continued on, following painted marks on trees all along the boundary lines.

Some tree markings were easy to see,


others were hidden by brush and were hard to see.


Most of the boundary line was in deep woods, it took a lot of patience to pick our way through the heavy brush, over fallen trees, up and down hills and across deep ravines.


Despite the heavy woods and brush, we still located pins.


We found more encroaching property issues.  Note the orange mark on the tree, indicating the property line with a fence built about six feet over the line.  Oops!


Some of the pins were actually markers put on concrete poles many years ago, in fact these markers had the “War Department” stamped on them, circa 1940s.



There were signs of life from the long ago past deep in the woods, a collapsed house,


and its outhouse, still standing.  No, we didn’t make a pit stop here.


There was even some old, rusty stuff, here were the remains of an old car.


We hiked about two and a half hard miles through the woods in about three hours and located all the pins and boundary lines on our section of the map.  We would have continued on further, but I was attacked by a fierce resident of the forest, it dropped out of a tree onto my head.


It was a close call, but I survived the encounter.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Thanks for the photo of the rusty stuff! I was suffering from severe withdrawal.

  2. How brave are you walking in the woods where critters are pouncing on you from the trees, luck Marti was there to protect you.

  3. Why am I not surprised that people would be building where they are not suppose to:(

  4. Geez, you would think that after having been through it once, the guy would at least have enough sense to move the pin...

  5. What a fun job...walking through the woods or should we say trailblazing?!?! You are getting to see places the rest of us will never see and think of all the exercise;o)) Much more success this time finding all the pins!!!

  6. Hope they don't give the guy with the deck another pass. Give some people a break and they just don't quit. Next time, it will be a garage by the deck. Looks a lot like tagging geocaches. The boys would love it.

  7. I thought looking for pins sounded like fun until I saw the picture of the frog. I would have died of fright right on the spot!

  8. Geez, that guy's deck looks like it's been there awhile! I guess he figured that the COE doesn't look at these pins very often :)

  9. Its a dirty job but somebody has to do it and looks like you guys were elected, Lots fresh air and exercise though. Have more fun.

  10. What a great job, you would think the folks would learn but guess you can't fix stupid. Sure hope like Sherry that they don't get another pass seems the only way they might learn is to make them tear it down.

  11. I thought this job sounded like fun too, until you mentioned the little guy falling on your head! I would have had a heart attack on the spot!
    Hope they make that guy tear it down too. How brash of him.

  12. No thoughts of a couple gallons of gas and a match to sort out the dough head building on property that ain't his??

  13. I'm wondering if you're going to quiz all of us when we get through taking this Ranger assistant course with you. We've learned about pins and markers and picnic tables and we're ready for the next chapter. When is the test?

  14. Paul, don't you know you are supposed to kiss the frog and then sing "someday your Prince will come"!! You have a lot to learn yet about being a Park Ranger!

  15. Glad you survived the attack. Sounds like you are getting some good exercise with your new job.

  16. It figures that the outhouse would outlast the house...
    Did you see any snakes?

    1. We looked very carefully everywhere we walked but never saw a single lawyer. ;c)

  17. At least it wasn't bird do that dropped onto your head!