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Heightened Security Alarms Hikers

October 4, 2001

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) _ Teen-age hikers on a field trip Thursday took an Appalachian Trail detour and wound up held at gunpoint by two camouflage-wearing military police officers with M-16 rifles.

The military police were guarding a communications antenna when hikers from St. Paul’s School for Boys approached the restricted area, said Principal John Thorpe.

Some of the group had taken a side path to an overlook near the Pennsylvania border when they were apprehended.

One of the teachers sent remaining students up the trail and phoned police to say his colleague was being held at gunpoint, said police Cpl. Benjamin Townes. The confrontation ended peacefully.

``It’s part of the heightened security for all military facilities in the area, all military facilities around the country,″ said Charles Dasey, a spokesman at Fort Detrick.

Dasey said hunters near the tower will likely be asked for identification. Boaters and other sportsman are being watched.

Hunting has been banned this fall on some government installations that normally permit it, including Fort Detrick; the Ravenna Army Ammunition Plant near Sandusky, Ohio; and the Department of Energy reservation at Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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