Current impact of COVID-19 on TEHCC and regional activities

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 employed, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still considered to be low in our region. However, further adjustments will be made as the club leadership learns more about the continuing impact.

  • 5/27: No hikes will be scheduled until Eastman Chemical starts the process of reintegrating employees working from home back into full-time presence on-site.  A recent announcement has been made that first business personnel will be allowed on-site starting June 10th; however, the Steering Committee will need to decide if conditions are right.  Present hope is that the 2020 hiking program can commence later this year.  Check the Events calendar for outings once this restriction has been lifted.
  • Hot Springs, NC Trailfest 2020 (formerly April 24-26) has been cancelled.
  • Erwin, TN Great Outdoors Festival (formerly May 2) has been cancelled.
  • Roan Mountain, TN Hiker Palooza (formerly May 8-10) has been postponed.
  • Damascus, VA Trail Days 2020 (formerly May 15-17) has been cancelled.
  • 5/7: Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival, normally third weekend in June, cancelled for 2020.
  • Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) requested that thru and section hikers suspend their plans in case of exposure while on the trail.  Most shuttle services have temporarily halted operation thus do not count on finding a ride.
  • As of 5/22, Cherokee (TN) and Pisgah (NC) National Forests reopened all A.T. trailheads including Hampton blue blaze and Dennis Cove accessing Laurel Fall, Osborne Farm/Cross Mountain, and Roan Mountain/Carvers Gap.
  • Pisgah NF has closed through August 13, 2020 or until rescinded the Roan Mountain area including A.T. shelters (Stan Murray and Overmountain – latter was already closed due to structural damage). The use of trail shelters on the Tennessee sections of the Appalachian Trail is discouraged.
  • Tennessee and Virginia have begun phased reopening.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 5/30: Bays Mountain Park (Kingsport) is open for trail use.  Nature Center and some programming will resume Monday, June 1 with limited capacity.
    • Appalachian Trail Conservancy is still stating to stay off the A.T. The issue is avoiding congested parking areas such as Carvers Gap/Roan Mountain or Hampton blue blaze/Laurel Falls.  
    • Trails in Cherokee National Forest are open for use, but ranger stations are closed.
    • Trails in TN state parks are open for use (Rocky Fork reopened May 4th, Warriors Path now allows overnights) , but most park facilities remain closed. Some hosted events will restart in June.
    • Virginia State Parks opened for day-use activities on May 21, including trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use. Campgrounds and restrooms are opening for 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.
  • 2020 Konnarock Crew has been cancelled.  (June dates for TEHCC.)
  • Regular Thursday maintenance crew and Third Saturday Hiking with Tools have been suspended until guidance changes from the ATC.
  • 5/27:  Pisgah (NC) and Cherokee (TN) National Forests are now allowing volunteers with restrictions under Phase 1 to complete site assessments, trash pickup, and minor maintenance and repair.  These conditions include limiting group size to maximum three, only travel with immediate family, not sharing tools, and maintaining 6′ social distancing.  Do no maintenance at the closed shelters, including trash pick-up. 
  • Invasive Species event to Devils Creek Gap planned for April 25th was cancelled. We’ll lose ground on the treatment.
  • Roughly every two weeks, ATC is hosting a teleconference to update the clubs.
  • Spring Dinner meeting (was 4/17 then 5/8) has been cancelled. Awards and recognition will be presented to our Fall Dinner (details to be decided during the summer).
  • 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.

Reference Resources (links may not function from Eastman network)

ATC’s Guidance to Hikers

ATC’s Letter to Long-Distance Hikers 

ATC’s Current guidance to Volunteers 

ATC’s Notice on decisions related to Visitor Centers and Ridgerunners

Bluestone River Trip, June 1-3, 2018, 39th Year

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 Murdoch, TEHCC Maintainer of the Year 2017

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.

TEHCC “Early Spring” Dinner Meeting – Friday, March 2, 2018

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

Reservation form

June newsletter released!

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!

Rental Equipment Checkout, April 24

When
Wed, April 24, 2017, 11am – 1pm

Where
B-310 Lobby (map)

Description
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

Bluestone River Trip 38th Year

When
May 26 – 28, 2017

Where
Pipestem Resort State Park, 3405 Pipestem Drive, Pipestem, WV 25979, United States (map)

Description
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.

Spring Dinner Meeting – April 7th, Friday

Reservations required for the meal and can be made using this form.

Event Time Details
Spring Dinner Meeting

April 7th, 2017

5:30pm Location:

Eastman Lodge,
Main Banquet Hall
404 Bays Mountain Road, Kingsport, TN

Happy “Trails” Hour 5:30pm-6:30pm Beer and wine for sale, or BYOB
Dinner –

Barberitos taco and fajita bars plus tea, coffee and desserts

6:30pm-7:15pm 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)
Club Business 7:15pm-8:00pm – Update of club activities
– Awards
Special Program: An Overview of Hiking, Paddling, and Camping in the Tri-Cities 8:00pm-9:00pm Johnny Molloy