Hobby has trav­el­ers search­ing for spots where 3 states touch

Woonsocket Call - - Nation/world -

THOMP­SON, Conn. (AP) — Brian But­ler is a tri­pointer.

The 63-year-old lives in Hol­lis­ton, Mas­sachusetts, about 20 miles from the Con­necti­cut and Rhode Is­land borders. That's where he picked up the un­usual hobby of vis­it­ing spots where at least three states or three Cana­dian prov­inces meet.

But­ler says he was hik­ing near his home in the Dou­glas State For­est with a topo­graph­i­cal map in 1998 when he de­cided to look for the point where the three south­ern New Eng­land states come to­gether.

He found it at the top of a rocky hill, in the mid­dle of the for­est, near an old rail­road bed. It was marked by a 4-foot gran­ite obelisk en­graved with the ab­bre­vi­a­tions for Mas­sachusetts, Con­necti­cut and Rhode Is­land, and the date 1883.

"As soon as you see that thing, you're hooked," he said. "You say, ' Wow, I won­der if there are more of these things." There are. But­ler did some re­search and found 65 such spots where at least three state borders in­ter­sect and an­other four in Canada, where prov­inces meet. Some are marked with mon­u­ments, oth­ers with sur­vey mark­ers, and some aren't marked at all. There are 38 on land, and most are in re­mote ar­eas.

But­ler es­ti­mates he and his brother, Gregg, have vis­ited be­tween 35 and 40 tri­points. There have been some ad­ven­tures along the way — hik­ing, boat­ing and some­times fly­ing into re­mote ar­eas.

They had to use metal rods to poke in the sand to find the marker for the Mas­sachusetts-Ver­mont-New Hamp­shire tri­point, which was buried when a dam was built along the Con­necti­cut River. They had to talk their way into a re­fin­ery, which sits on the in­ter­sec­tion of New Jersey, Delaware and Penn­syl­va­nia.

They took an in­flat­able kayak down the Mis­sis­sippi to find sev­eral tri­points lo­cated on the wa­ter.

The cap­stone of his ad­ven­tures, But­ler said, was a trip to Canada to find where Saskatchewan, Man­i­toba, the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries and Nu­navut meet.

"You drive as far north as you can on pave­ment in Saskatchewan," he said "Then you drive on a gravel road for 260 miles to an air­port. Then you take a sea­plane to a lake. Then you hike," he said. "I don't think we're ever go­ing to beat that one."

But­ler doc­u­ments the ad­ven­tures on his web­site, the Cor­ner Cor­ner .

Sur­pris­ingly, he has never been to the most fa­mous mul­ti­point on the list, the Four Cor­ners mon­u­ment where Ari­zona, Colorado, Utah and New Mex­ico come to­gether.

There is no one gov­ern­men­tal body re­spon­si­ble for the up­keep of monu- ments, and some, like Four Cor­ners, are in much bet­ter shape than oth­ers.

Dan Webb, the chief bor­der sur­veyor with the U.S. Bu­reau of Land Man­age­ment in Utah, helped place a gran­ite mon­u­ment on the Utah-Ari­zon­aNe­vada cor­ner last fall with co­op­er­a­tion from all three states. It re­placed a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing sand­stone mon­u­ment that was erected in 1901.

The spot is about 15 miles off In­ter­state 70 and hard to ac­cess, even with a four-wheel drive ve­hi­cle, he said. But there were flags in the ground and other in­di­ca­tions that tourists had found the spot.

"Just in the few-month pe­riod that we were work­ing on this, we would have a group of ATVers come up al­most ev­ery day to talk to us about it," he said. "And they were there just to find that cor­ner."

In Thomp­son, Con­necti­cut, town of­fi­cials have worked for the last sev­eral years to im­prove ac­cess to the south­ern New Eng­land tri­point, where Con­necti­cut, Rhode Is­land and Mas­sachusetts meet.

Vis­i­tors can now hike or ride a bi­cy­cle down the stone-dust cov­ered Air­line Trail to a hik­ing trail cre­ated by the town that leads to the tri­point.

"It used to be very hard to find," said Char­lie Obert, with the town of Thomp­son's Trails Com­mit­tee. "Now there is a very nice sign at the bot­tom of the hill point­ing the way."

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