Cunningham Falls State Park, Thurmont

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Cunningham Falls State Park is a state-run, public recreation area located west of Thurmont, Maryland, in the United States. The state park is the home of Cunningham Falls, the largest cascading waterfall in Maryland, a 43acre man-made lake, and the remains of an historic iron furnace. The park is one of several protected areas occupying 50-mile-long Catoctin Mountain; it is bordered on its north by Catoctin Mountain Park and on its south by Frederick Municipal Forest.HistoryBefore the arrival of European settlers, Native Americans used the Catoctin Mountain area for hunting and fishing and also quarried it for rhyolite to make projectile points. During the 19th century, settlers began cutting the area's forests for charcoal to power the Catoctin Iron Furnace. "Charcoal flats"—square areas measuring approximately 25by, cut flat into the hillsides and linked by mule trails—were used to build charcoal kilns. The charcoal flats can still be seen in the park.Over two hundred years of abuse of the forest led to the destruction of the land. In the 1930s, after years of clearcutting for the making of charcoal, mountain farming, and timber harvesting, the land was purchased by the Federal government. Beginning in 1935, workers with the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps began constructing the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area to transform the area for recreational use. The site's northern portion was transferred to the National Park Service on November 14, 1936, and renamed and reorganized on July 12, 1954, as Catoctin Mountain Park. The southern were transferred to Maryland as Cunningham Falls State Park.
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Cunningham Falls State Park Reviews
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  • The falls here are great. Even on a hot day when there is a large crowd here, because of the size of the falls, and the way that there are so many crevices, boulders, and little streams that break and...  more »
  • Cunningham Falls State Park, in addition to the named waterfall, features a dam which has created a medium-sized lake that is well-stocked with both bass and trout. It's a beautiful, pristine outdoor ...  more »
  • Great little state park with very little activity sun-Wednesday. I hear the colorfest makes this place crazy, but we’ve managed days between craziness. Bathrooms clean. Showers hot. Trails well mainta...  more »

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