Garlic Mustard Challenge – Sat. May 2

In 2015, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy is challenging itself and volunteers (link) to pull 2,189 pounds of the invasive plant, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), from the Trail corridor (one pound for every A.T. mile). In the south, we’ll need to pull garlic mustard in April, before it goes to seed. This event is to tackle a known infestation around Devils Creek Gap, north of Spivey Gap. The control work will be completed by hand-pulling as the plants are small and removed easily. The weeds will be bagged and weighed before proper disposal. Appropriate equipment for the day includes work gloves, boots or sturdy shoes, and suitable attire for variable spring weather plus lunch and water.

Maintenance Summary:

The goal of one pound per trail mile was almost achieved in a single day.  Four large, heavy duty trash bags were filled with 129 pounds of blooming garlic mustard plants pulled from along the north-bound trail, at the USFS road crossing and a couple of side spurs, and along a nearby clearing edge.  In addition, three smaller bags of aluminum cans for recycling and trash for disposal were hauled out.  A steady stream of backpackers passed through this gap – with a few stopping to learn about invasive species.  The club will need to return next year to continue breaking the biennial cycle for garlic mustard.

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

13th Annual Nolichucky River Cleanup & Celebration, June 21st


APE’s are hosting their 13th annual event on Saturday, June 21st, 2014.  Meet at U.S.A. Raft, 2 Jones Branch Rd, Erwin, TN starting at 11AM.  Participants will be assigned to teams plus provided with maps, trash bags and gloves. There are clean-up opportunities for both those with their own boats or rafts – and shore crews.  Be prepared with appropriate footwear, sunscreen, bug repellant, etc. Rafts, pickup trucks, and trailers will be helpful and much appreciated. Consider bringing a packed lunch, boating equipment, rain gear, chairs, family, and friends.  Showers and restrooms are available at the campground.  For cleanup participants, a free BBQ dinner from Texas Roadhouse of Johnson City will be served at 6PM with live music by the Chaz Spence Trio and prize drawings.  Bring a lawn chair, kick back with a cold tasty beverage, and know that you did something good for the river we all enjoy so much!

Event Contact: Debbie Briscoe (423)-534-3636

Event website: http://regions.​​tri-cities/2014​/05/14/nolichuc​ky-river-cleanu​p-and-celebrati​on/

2013 Damascus Hard Core

Carl Fritz reporting

This 13th annual Damascus Hard Core event was Sunday, May 19th and Monday, May 20st.  It was preceded by the tragic event at Damascus Trail Days during the parade on Saturday when 50 people were injured by a car.  Everyone experienced more obstacles including rainy weather during the Hard Core event.  But Monday ended spectacularly with everyone happy. Continue reading

Relocation of Backbone Rock Trail with ASU

Carl Fritz reporting
Event Date: August 17th

The Watauga Global Community College of Appalachian State University (ASU) offers their incoming freshmen an optional orientation event to get acquainted with each other.  For the twelfth consecutive year they have partnered with Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club (TEHCC) to do a trail maintenance event!  Trail maintenance in groups provides many social opportunities in a work environment.  On this Friday August 17, we started the first relocation of the Backbone Rock Trail just south of Damascus.  Ninety seven students and five professors of Watauga College showed up in spite of a 70% prediction of rain (which did not materialize).  And very importantly we had 17 club members and friends who helped acquaint the students with trail digging. Continue reading