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 and wearing of face masks in public spaces are being properly followed along with avoiding hot spot areas, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still considered to be moderately low in our region. Tennessee and North Carolina plus the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are in Phase 2 of their respective plans for reopening activity. Virginia has remains in Phase 3 plan with some restrictions.

TEHCC Fall Lunch

See the event notice about the club hosting a ribbon-cutting for the revitalized Forest Walk loop trail at Eastman Recreation park on Sunday, October 25th.

TEHCC Hiking Program

  • As Eastman Chemical has started 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.

Appalachian Trail

  • Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) reminds users of the A.T. to remain safe with several recommendations found in this blog post.
  • Many shuttle services are still temporarily halting operation, while few have reopened.
  • 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.
  • ATC advises: Overnight hikers should carry a personal shelter and camp at least 200 feet from any source of water and 100 feet from the trail. Also, bring a trowel to bury your fecal waste at least 70 adult paces from campsites and water sources.
  • 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, 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. 
  • Regular Thursday maintenance crew is operating but with just 8-10 crew members arranged by the A.T. Projects Coordinator.
  • Saturday Hiking with Tools will be held on the second Saturday in October to provide training for some new volunteers. Check the newsletter and club calendar for details.
  • Overall, the A.T. section managed by TEHCC is clear and open. Some pockets of heavy growth are still being pursued with the record-setting rainfall experience early in 2020.

Other Trails

  • 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 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, restrooms, and picnic shelters are open. Face coverings are required in all park facilities. 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.

Rental Equipment

  • Eastman Recreation says club rental backpacking and camping equipment may be checked out from Building 310. Their open hours are 7:30am to 4pm weekdays. Good use has been reported, thus recommend making reservations at (423) 229-3771.

Area Events

  • 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.

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