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Sandy Mile Road Near Hancock


Adam86cucv

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Adam86cucv

Is this site still a viable fossil hunting site or is it closed to the public. On this long weekend we had thought about taking a day trip there instead of the Calvert Cliffs area, since people will flock to the beaches. If it is still a good spot is there and other supplies needed besides a rock hammer (and safety glasses), cold chisel, and containers with soft lining to hold fossils. Obviously water, snacks, and sunscreen are coming too.

-Adam

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With the current regulations, I would be very surprised if the quarry was still accessible. As for the ridge, you might try contacting the staff at Sidling Hill to see whether they know anything.

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Adam86cucv

With the current regulations, I would be very surprised if the quarry was still accessible. As for the ridge, you might try contacting the staff at Sidling Hill to see whether they know anything.

I'll just checked Sidling Hill is still closed due to budget cuts from several years ago. Looks like Hancock's Town Museum/Visitor's center has some of the exhibits from Sidling Hill. I guess I'll have to give them a call.

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The center is still shuttered? That's a shame.

My master's studies included fieldwork at that magnificent roadcut.

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Adam86cucv

The center is still shuttered? That's a shame.

My master's studies included fieldwork at that magnificent roadcut.

My grandfather worked for State Highway and was up there when they making the cut for the road. I assume my grandmother still has the pictures of it in progress.

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  • 1 year later...
On ‎7‎/‎1‎/‎2015 at 0:14 PM, Adam86cucv said:

Is this site still a viable fossil hunting site or is it closed to the public. On this long weekend we had thought about taking a day trip there instead of the Calvert Cliffs area, since people will flock to the beaches. If it is still a good spot is there and other supplies needed besides a rock hammer (and safety glasses), cold chisel, and containers with soft lining to hold fossils. Obviously water, snacks, and sunscreen are coming too.

 

I've visited Sandy Mile Road many a times.

 

The quarry is still very much accessible during the October-April period, but by late spring the trail into the quarry is pretty overgrown . Also the entrance is covered in trash and God knows what else in the shrubs around it, so definitely lace up before going down there. Also, look out for snakes.

 

The road cut is still viable, but I haven't found much besides some broken brachiopod shells. It's pretty small and covered in loose rocks, plus the sandstone there is impossible to hammer open so it might not be the most exciting time. There's one little gravel pull off alongside the cut but it's only big enough for one car, and be careful crossing the street to get to the rocks since it's on a turn and trucks/cars won't see you too well in advance. If you plan on parking elsewhere I'd like to point out that that is a foolish thing to do since you'd be putting other people at risk by taking up part of their lane (the shoulder isn't very wide). Also, please do not leave rocks on the grass strip or the shoulder at the site, no need for this to turn into another Swatara Gap. If you have friends/family going along then I'd advise caution since the road is pretty narrow and the outcrop steep in places, covered in loose rocks, and inhabited by numerous bugs/spiders in the summer months. Also, it's a small cut so a group of three or more will easily exhaust it within 10-15 minutes.

 

There are lots of posted signs around the cut, but the scree pile at the base is highway right of way so you should be good. Please note that the top of the ridge is private land though, as is the land around it. Do not trespass on this land, since it'd likely close the site off.

 

I've heard of fossils in the quarry, but alas have never found anything. It's been picked over pretty good through the years. The roadcut still has brachiopod pieces but none are well preserved and they're getting rarer so only take a couple and please leave the rest for others getting into the hobby (it's one of the few mountain sites in the state).

 

The rock is pretty hard, so I wouldn't bring a huge container for the fossils (plus you won't find enough to fill one anyways). Also, a hammer and chisel is useless against the Oriskany, no need for that either (speaking from experience...). Water is always a good idea, as are hats, sunscreen, and good footwear (especially if you plan on going into the quarry. Absolutely don't wear sandals to this place).

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