2014 Damascus Hard Core

Carl Fritz reporting

It always seems that the volunteers (hikers, club maintainers and friends) exceed expectations during Damascus Hard Core. And the volunteers did so again for this 14th annual event. This year’s hikers enthusiastically signed up. In fact 68 were signed up in the first two hours Friday morning of Trail Days and only 50 was the target. However, fewer returning hikers came to Trail Days and we also target 50 of them. Then surprisingly with good weather many hikers did not show up Sunday morning for departure from Damascus. Continue reading

Wilderness Rally September 6th – Hampton, TN

September marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Wilderness Act. Join the Wilderness Society’s Southern Appalachian Wilderness
Stewards (SAWS) program and the US Forest Service in celebrating! Two events will mark the occasion. Both will convene at the Watauga Point Recreation Area in Hampton TN on September 6th. Trail maintenance will be from 9am to 4pm at which point it will become the actual celebration of food, crosscut sawing, storytelling, games, etc. See the two attachments for the details.

Stewardship Rally Flier

Wilderness Rally Watauga Point

Bear activities closure update

US 321 to Wilbur Dam Rd. (approx. 4 miles) – All activities except hiking along the Appalachian Trail are prohibited due to recent bear activity.

Hikers are asked to walk through the area without stopping. Preparation or consumption of food, lingering, and camping are prohibited in the area known locally as “Oliver Hollow” by a U.S. Forest Service closure order.

The Watauga Lake Shelter in this stretch is also closed. Even though a “closure order” has been issued to restrict usage of the area, the A.T. is not closed to hiking. These orders are in effect for an 18-month period from June 3, 2014 until December 1, 2015. The official U.S. Forest Service poster can be found here. (June 17, 2014)

On some signs the Forest Service is now using definition of closure area as “Shook Branch Rec area/Oliver Hollow Rd. to Wilbur Dam including Watauga Lake Shelter- Closed”

Oliver Hollow Use Restriction Due to Bear Activity

The National Forest Service lands are closed to most recreation from north of Shook Branch to a half mile north of Wilbur Dam Rd.  Bears are active in this area.  Individuals are only permitted to hike through this area.  Please continue hiking through this area without stopping.  Watauga Lake Shelter is closed.  No preparation or consumption of food or overnight stays allowed.  This closure is effective until December 1, 2015.

Oliver Hollow bear closure map