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What's a blaze!

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A mark on the tree, usually cut out with an axe or hatchet. Usually it is just in the bark of the tree and doesn't cause much damage. This is commonly used in marking trails, hence the phrase "blazing a trail." Apparently they are used to mark reference locations around a benchmark.


I have also seen where a mark was chiseled into rock or concrete. Sometimes a nail, spike or other object is used.

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Blazes that I usually see on trees are painted on, spray paint or some other sort, in shapes and colors to show different trails, i.e. blue triangle blaze for trail A, red square blaze for trail B, etc. That way, where trails cross, you can follow the correct trail easily (hopefully!)

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Blazes are usually as sever as needed for the moment or the trail being marked. If your going to follow a Section line, most of the old lines had blazes cut through the bark and Cambiam layer so the blaze could be found even 100's of years later, as the blaze to the cambium layer will create a " Cats face " scar that will overgrow through the years. If you know the line, you will be able to find the cat face and cut the wood back and find the old blaze. On a lot of the old lines, the surveyer would carve the township, range, section number and direction into the wood exposed by the blaze and you will still be able to find these blazes and numbers once and a while. As your wandering through the woods, if you find an old line, sometimes you will see where the limbs of the trees where pruned back so as the line could be run and the chain crew could see each other as they worked out the lines. Most of the benchmarks will be on or very near section lines as the benchmarks where used for marking property boundries, section lines and section corners. These days, most blazes are not made to last a long time due to the nature of running the lines, areial photos, maps, GPS, etcetc. Most of theses lines are now run and are marked with paint or ribbon with a little pruning to clean out the brush for straight lines. More than you wanted to know, but consider how much you paid for it

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