NPS Hike 100 Challenges

Submitted by Vic Hasler

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. In celebration of its Centennial, several of the national parks are hosting 100-mile challenges. For the Appalachian Trail, everyone who hikes 100 miles or more — with at least one hike on the A.T. — during 2016 is eligible to receive a limited-edition Hike100 decal. Register by sending your name and email address to AT_Hike100@nps.gov to receive a simple official hiking log. Enter dates, where, and miles to reach the 100-mile goal, and then send it back when you’re done. Other national parks in the region announcing similar challenges include GSMNP and New River Gorge.

Trail Value Assessment Completed for TEHCC Section

Vic Hasler and Carl Fritz reporting

ATC worked collaboratively with the APPA NPS office to develop a system for assessing the value of the A.T. and its associated facilities. The results are to help the APPA (Appalachain National Scenic Trail) better compete for funding relative to other National Parks in our region by accurately accounting for the true worth of the extensive work provided by the volunteer corps. The monies help support A.T. relocations, trail rehab, and facility improvements.

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3rd Saturday Maintenance – Hiking with Tools!

Contact: Kim Peters, atmaint@tehcc.org, 423-366-0128

Hiking with Tools! is an opportunity to enjoy a day hike on our beautiful section of the A.T. while helping out with some routine maintenance, such as breaking up fire rings, cleaning out waterbars and steps, lopping rhododendron, and painting blazes.  All tools will be furnished and no prior experience required! Last year we typically had four to five people on each trip – with eight new volunteers making a contribution.  Contact Kim for hike details, including meeting time and place.

Welcome Amy Snyder as ATC SORO Resource Management Coordinator

Vic Hasler reporting

Amy received a B.S. in Biology from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 2006. As a graduation present to herself, she decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. During her hike, she witnessed the dramatic devastation of the forest caused by the gypsy moth invasion. This experience inspired her to pursue a M.S. in Entomology from Virginia Tech. Since graduation in 2011, she has been working towards forest protection in the natural sciences and natural resources fields. In her free time, Amy enjoys hiking, whitewater kayaking, and mountain biking. She can be reached at asnyder@appalachiantrail.org.

ATC Family Hiking Day – Saturday, Sept 26, 2015

AT – Indian Grave Gap to Beauty Spot

Leader: Mike Watts, 423-963-1593
Rating: Moderate per TEHCC, Moderate-to-strenuous per ATC for 4.6 m round trip, 1000’ elevation gain

This Saturday event is planned to participate in the ATC’s Family Hiking Day.  Beauty Spot is a natural grassy bald (4,437’) with excellent views of the Roan and Black Mountains. The overlook was recently improved by the Cherokee National Forest Hotshots (June newsletter) who removed some of the trees which had grown up over the years. Let’s leave Colonial Heights, TN at 9am to meet at Indian Grave Gap around 10am. Bring plenty of water, comfortable footwear, appropriate clothing/sun protection, and lunch. The hike itself will take roughly three and half hours depending on how much lunch/sightseeing time is desired on the bald. For further information, check the trail wiki or call the hike leader.

Bear Activity along TEHCC Section

Three reports have been recently received of bear activity along the TEHCC section.  On June 13th, hikers were disturbed by a bear at Low Gap on Unaka Mountain who would not leave their campsite.  Next day (June 14th), a juvenile bear was encountered around Cherry Gap Shelter, who again did not want to leave.  The leader used bear spray in an attempt to negatively reinforce the bear, which returned that evening to take a pack.  The pack did not contain food, which was properly hung.  On June 15th, a third report was made for three miles south of the Mountaineer Falls Shelter.  Along the trail it was apparent there was a lot of bear activity.  Necessary precautions to limit risk of encountering a bear were taken including hanging bear bags 50 feet or more from the campsite.

ATC and USFS have been notified or provided information on all of these incidents.  Warning signs were posted on Monday at trailheads and in the shelter at Cherry Gap.  Camping at Low Gap or Cherry Gap Shelter is presently not recommended.

2015 ATC Biennial – Winchester, Virginia

Hiking Through History
July 17 – 24, 2015

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Biennial Conference is being co-hosted by Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) and Mountain Club of Maryland (MCM).  Sited at Shenandoah University located in Winchester, Virginia, which is near hundreds of miles of outstanding hiking trails, including a short 18 minute drive to the Appalachian Trail at its closest point. The University is also close to important civil war battlefields such as Manassas, Gettysburg and Antietam, and 90 minutes from Washington D.C.

Workshops will be held during the day on Saturday, July 18th through Monday, July 20th. Coordinated hikes will be offered between Saturday, July 18th through Thursday, July 23rd.  In addition to amazing scenic areas, there will be nature, history, and  photography theme hikes, plus sunset outings. Many of the hikes include a swim, and/or a stop at an ice cream shop, restaurant, winery, or brewery. Family hiking specialists have designed hikes suitable for most families that are five miles or less plus hikes suitable for most children eight years and older that are nine miles or less.

2015 Bienniel Logo