Fact Du Jour – July 21, 2019 -WWII Training – In West Virginia?

Years ago, I was doing some “online” research into possible places to camp/hike in West Virginia. And I remember reading about a park in West Virginia that still had…live mortar shells! Turns out five counties in West Virginia were used for “low altitude alpine training” during World War II. The whole area was used as a “practice range” for artillery fire and maneuvers before troops were sent overseas.


Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia

In 1997, a work crew extensively surveyed trail locations and known campsites at Dolly Sods Wilderness for shells. Workers made 32,594 excavations along the trails and discovered and detonated 14 live mortar shells, most along the Fisher Spring Run Trail. All were exploded on site. Two others were inert. They also found numerous railroad spikes, iron tools and horseshoes left over from logging days. Off-trail searches proved to be impossible, so some of the artillery and mortar shells (60 mm and 81 mm rounds) shot into the area likely still remain there. 

I decided against paying a visit to this park! There are enough dangers involved in hiking hilly/mountainous terrain without having to also worry about live artillery and mortar shells!

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