Trail to Mark Historic March From Fort Miller to Bennington

In August of 1777, German Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum found himself in a precaurious position as his dismounted cavalry trudged through an unfamiliar wilderness – on a continent seperated by the Altlantic Ocean from their European homes – accompanied by British marksmen, layalists, and Native Americans of uncertain discipline.

Speaking in only his native tongue, unfamiliar with war in the wilderness, wary of the rebels’ determination and having no understanding of the landscape that lay between him and his goal, Baum departed from Fort Miller to capture stores at Bennington. So begins the saga of “The Road to Walloomsac.”

The Washington County Historical Society (WCHS) has received a grant from the Historic Saratoga-Washington on the Hudson Partnership, now called the Historic Hudson- Hoosic Partnership (www.hudsonhoosicpartnership.org), to develop an interpretive trail to commemorate Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum’s historic march from Fort Miller to Bennington. Lakes to Locks Passage is collaborating with the WCHS to develop a “Baum Trail PassagePort,” which will utilize 21st century wayfinding tools to direct visitors through the ever-changing landscape while telling stories through narration, first person quotes and scholarly interviews.

“We are very excited to be working on the first in a series of ‘PassagePort’ projects,” said Lakes to Locks Program Manager Drew Alberti. “The story of Baum’s expedition is rich with first person narratives, but traveling the back-roads of Washington and Rensselaer County can prove to be a real challenge for visitors and, with the availability of smart phones, few people stop to ask directions. A cross between a thematic itinerary and a scavenger hunt, a PassagePort takes visitors on a journey with their own personal tour guide.”

How it works:

Through the Lakes to Locks Passage print, web and social media promotions, the traveler can find the PassagePort online at www.lakestolocks.org. There they will find a number of thematic experiences that are appealing and educational for both children and adults. Once they select a theme, they will find a narrative, a list of suggested stops, a map highlighting the locations of each of the destinations and a PassagePort.PDF to download and print.

The PassagePort will pose a number of questions with clues directing travelers to certain locations where they can learn the answer to the clue. The answers to these clues will come from community ambassadors, guides at museums, interpretive exhibits and historical markers. Some clues will be in the form of QR codes where using their Smart Phone, visitors can take a picture of the code, and use the QR decoder to link them to our website where they will find audio, video or other website content that will contain the answer to more than one clue, thereby making them more valuable to completing the experience. During special promotions, the completed PassagePort can be redeemed for a small prize or entry in a drawing – adding more value and opportunities for promoting local businesses and services.

The Baum Interpretive Trail is scheduled to be completed in April 2013.

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