Aligning with guidance from our partner organizations and employer, the following actions are being taken in response to the current situation for the coronavirus. If the principles of social distancing are being properly followed along with avoiding hot spot areas, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still considered to be low in our region. Tennessee and North Carolina plus the Appalachian Trail Conservancy have entered Phase 2 of their respective plans for reopening activity. Virginia has entered their Phase 3 plan with some restrictions.
TEHCC Hiking Program
- With Eastman Chemical starting to bring more employees back full-time on-site, the Steering Committee decided to begin the 2020 hiking program in July. Watch the Events calendar for outings and read the newsletters for details.
- 6/16: Within the next few weeks, Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) will likely recommend that thru and section hikers can resume their plans – while spreading out along the length of the trail as not all states have opened overnight camping. (7/7: Still no notice from ATC.)
- Many shuttle services are still temporarily halting operation thus do not count on finding a ride to/from the trail.
- 7/8: Cherokee NF notice: “The Appalachian Trail is open, however trail shelters and privies are temporarily shut down“.
- 7/14: Pisgah NF has closed the A.T. shelters (Stan Murray and Overmountain) link to order – latter was already closed due to structural damage. While the order says through July 8, PNF still considers these facilities to be closed.
- Pisgah (NC) and Cherokee (TN) National Forests are now allowing volunteers with restrictions under Phase 2 to complete maintenance and repair. TEHCC has interpreted these conditions include limiting crew size to maximum four, only travel with immediate family, not sharing tools, wash hands or use sanitizer frequently especially before eating, and maintaining 6′ social distancing in the field. Do no maintenance at the closed shelters and privy, including nearby trash pick-up.
- Because of the no carpooling, our regular Thursday maintenance crew and Third Saturday Hiking with Tools are still suspended through July. Specific outings may be arranged with splitting of the crew.
- Present understanding is that day hikers are allowed on area trails but keeping group size to a minimum with less carpooling. Take hand sanitizer to use liberally.
- Bays Mountain Park (Kingsport) is open. Nature Center and some programming resumed June 1 with limited capacity.
- Trails in Cherokee National Forest are open for use, but ranger stations are closed.
- Trails in TN state parks are open for use, but some park facilities remain closed.
- Virginia State Parks opened for day-use activities, including trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use. Campgrounds and restrooms opened Memorial Day weekend, but picnic shelters are staying closed. Bring cash for entrance fees which are being collected.
- In all cases, maintain social distancing of at least six feet. If parking area is full, head somewhere else. There are much lesser used access points and trails in the region.
- Eastman Recreation says club rental backpacking and camping equipment may now be checked out from Building 310. Their open hours have been reduced to 7:30am to 4pm weekdays.
- Tuesday Evenings: Johnson City Roll Practice are suspended as Freedom Hall Pool is closed.
- Thursday Evenings: Kayak Sessions are not being held as Kingsport Aquatic Center is also closed until further notice.
- USFS has reopened most river launch sites. Outfitters are offering trips with limited number of same family in each raft.
TEHCC Welcomes the following new members to the club
|Amy Merrell||Jeremy Forren||Charles Givens|
|Marc Tucker||Michael Sink||Patty Evans|
Leader: Terry Dougherty, 423-502-5177
The annual Bluestone River Trip (39th Anniversary) is scheduled for June,1-3 2018.
We will stay at the beautiful Pipestem State Park (Mountain Creek Lodge). We have reserved a block of rooms, please call 800-CALL-WVA (ask for Pipestem State Park / Mountain Creek Lodge) and reserve your room for Friday and Saturday. To secure one of the clubs block rooms, reservations must be made by May 14 . Rooms are $ 112/night + taxes. We plan to paddle the scenic Bluestone River both Sat. and Sun. This is a Class III trip the first day and Class I the second day. You can skip the second day, if you like. Other options include family camping at the state park campground and/or driving up on Saturday morning. This is a GREAT trip with a lot of family fun, scenic river and very nice lodging. In addition to the paddling, Ed Montgomery will once again be in charge of HAPPY HOUR and libation coordination on Saturday night and is going to make this one special. Please contact the trip leader (Terry Dougherty, 423-502-5177) if you are planning to attend.
Bill started trail maintenance by being a member of a maintenance team for Deep Gap to Iron Mountain Gap in 1980 and became team leader in 1984. He diligently section hiked the entire A.T., summiting Katahdin in September 2016, which developed a personal perspective on the trail needs. Amongst the maintainers, he is known as “MacGyver” because of his resourcefulness and rigging capabilities whether it be a tree, rock, or bridge beam we desire to move. When a rope puller is not functioning sufficiently, he takes it home, rigs up a dynamometer, tests different rope designs, and donates the proper rope. Or Bill finds scrapped grating that he purchases to make our bridges slip resistant. Or he recommends a fiddle block (pulley) and rope system that we use regularly to move rocks and logs. TEHCC is proud that Bill is our 2017 Maintainer of the Year.
Note: Bill was not at the Spring Dinner to receive his plaque. He is also a passionate sailor. Bill and his wife, Adair, are currently on their eleventh consecutive five-month sail in the Bahamas.
Availability of our dinner speaker, Chloë de Camara, set the earlier than normal date this year since she starts her patrols as a Ridgerunner in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park the following day. Come share some warm fellowship on this Friday evening as we learn about having “A Relationship with the Appalachian Trail” based on her experiences from 2015 thru-hike to current role as Ridgerunner/Camp Coordinator.
Location: Eastman Lodge
Happy “Trails” Hour begins at 5:30pm with dinner (taco and fajita) at 6:30pm and presentation starting at 7:30pm.
Dinner: $9.50/person – reservations by Wednesday, February 28
The 2017 June newsletter has been released. If you don’t read it, you’ll be missing out on a lot of good information.
- TEHCC receives the 2017 Pinnacle Volunteer Award
- ATC SORO Hires new Trail Facilities Managers
- Usage of L. L. Bean grant for purchase of saws
- …And more!
Wed, April 24, 2017, 11am – 1pm
B-310 Lobby (map)
Rental Equipment Checkout Monday, April 24,11:00 am –1:00 pm Contact: Terry Dougherty, or better yet show up. Location: Eastman Employee Center, Rm. 221 and Lobby. It’s time to ensure the Club’s rental gear is ready for another year. We will evaluate all of the equipment and propose necessary repairs or replacements. A light lunch of pizza, veggie tray, cookies, soft drinks and bottled water will be provided. This is a great opportunity to become familiar with available rental equipment. Come and go as your time permits. Many hands make light work. Please help if you can. Contact: Terry Dougherty, 502-5177
May 26 – 28, 2017
Pipestem Resort State Park, 3405 Pipestem Drive, Pipestem, WV 25979, United States (map)
Bluestone River Trip, May 26-28, 2017, 38th Year, Leader: Terry Dougherty, 423-502-5177. The annual Bluestone River Trip (38th Anniversary) is scheduled for May 26-28, 2017. We will stay at the beautiful Pipestem State Park (Mountain Creek Lodge). We have reserved a block of rooms, please call 800-CALL-WVA (ask for Pipestem State Park / Mountain Creek Lodge) and reserve your room for Friday and Saturday. To secure one of the clubs block rooms, reservations must be made by May 12. Room $ 112/night + taxes. We plan to paddle the scenic Bluestone River both Sat. and Sun. This is a Class III trip the first day and Class I the second day. You can skip the second day, if you like. Other options include family camping at the state park campground and/or driving up on Saturday morning. This is a GREAT trip with a lot of family fun, scenic river and very nice lodging. In addition to the paddling, Ed Montgomery will once again be in charge of HAPPY HOUR and libation coordination on Saturday night and is going to make this one special. Please contact the trip leader (Terry Dougherty, 423-502-5177) if you are planning to attend.
Reservations required for the meal and can be made using this form.
|Spring Dinner Meeting
April 7th, 2017
Main Banquet Hall
404 Bays Mountain Road, Kingsport, TN
|Happy “Trails” Hour
||Beer and wine for sale, or BYOB
Barberitos taco and fajita bars plus tea, coffee and desserts
||Barberitos will be providing a fajita and taco bar including hard and soft shells, chips, salsa, and more with other items purchased separately by the club. ($8 per person)
||– Update of club activities
|Special Program: An Overview of Hiking, Paddling, and Camping in the Tri-Cities