Recent AT Maintenance

Below is submitted maintenance activities for the last 6 weeks. Please note that trail conditions can change quickly. Or view maintenance by section.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 10/24/2014
Purpose: Assess campsites
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Friday afternoon walk to review more facilities in this section. After parking at the outfitters, first found the former bridge over a dry gully which is no longer part of the trail after the 2012-13 relocation. The NPS database has seven campsites listed, with three being called deficient. All, but one, are north of the outfitter up to the fourth bridge. The policy of TEHCC is to allow camping all along the trail consistent with resource protection. All campsites within Jones Branch watershed appear to be acceptable per the club policy, while two from the 2006-2008 survey could not be found, thus showing how the locations shift around over time. No trash was observed at any of these sites. Even more rhododendron was clipped, while also opening up some of the path with a medium bow saw. Confirmed a statement from Carl that bow saws easily bind – thus learning to not attempt anything larger than what hands can go around. Backtracked to the southern part of section to check out the one bootleg campsite, which probably should be dismantled because of being too close to a neighborhood. The location also has a significant amount of trash, glass bottles, rusting steel beverage cans, and… a very old refrigerator. Obtained coordinates for the last item to develop a plan for its removal from just inside the USFS land (noting red boundary stripes painted on nearby trees). Finally, four small bags of trash were gathered and hauled out on the way back to the truck. A productive afternoon of trail maintenance while enjoying the fall colors.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/23/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Mike Price, Kevin Sedgwick, Jack Tarlin, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We completed the final checklist for Koonford Bridge. The tasks included caulking between sills and concrete, mortaring rocks on concrete caps of piers so concrete is not visible, removing some magic marker markings, riveting the bolts for hand rails so nuts cannot be removed, adding rust reformer to deck screw heads, adding a large cable to tie down northern and central spans, adding some large rocks as a buffer for dry laid wall on northern end of bridge, and improving the trail approaches. Some of the crew were able to rehab some rocky areas north and south of the bridge. Hopefully, this will be the last major work effort on Koonford Bridge for many years.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 10/22/2014
Purpose: Mow camping area and trails
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed the camp area Checked the trails all in good shape. Policed the barn and camp. Moved rocks as needed. Very cold temp prob in the 30s Shelter in good shape. Water running good. Trail has standing water and muddy on both sides of previous ditching about 30 feet from the front of the shelter. Needs work when time is available.

Reporting: Paul Benfeld
Date: 10/22/2014
Purpose: Mow accessable Trail
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Went to Osborne Farm and checked the
Accessible Trail. It had been fenced off and the cattle had previously eaten off the grass.
The new fences have been installed and the cattle can no longer get on the trail trail south of the barn. The fencing off of the Accessible Trail appears to be complete. The 4 forest service personnel was there today and said they were cutting blowdowns to the shelter and would paint the blazes tomorrow to the shelter. The trail had been eaten off very good so we did not mow.
.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 10/20/2014
Purpose: Finish Fall Maintenance
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Marsha Hupko, Mike Hupko
Summary: From FS230 to Indian Grave Gap we cleared 5 trees from the trail, removed smaller branches, and lopped. Set 4 metal posts with white blazes on Beauty Spot. Picked up trash on trail and in the Beauty Spot parking area.

Reporting: Steve Perri
Date: 10/18/2014
Purpose: ATC SORO Regional Partnership Meeting
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Vic Hasler, Steve Perri
Summary: Our fall ATC partnership meeting was held at the Asheville ATC Regional Office.

A range of topics were covered with a full agenda prepared for this all day meeting. Updates from the APPA (Appalachian Trail Park Office) and ATC were provided for the Foundation Document and the ATC strategic plan. The NPS gathered club responses and incorporated those in the current version of the Foundation Document. Expect the next release in January. ATC’s strategic plan is now in a final form and a 1-pager has been prepared highlighting the 5 areas of focus. We did an exercise to gather representative inputs from clubs and that was collected to compare how well it aligned with the SORO’s 2014 and 2015 budget. Topping the list was Effective Stewardship (~50% of the budget) with Broader Relevancy (3% of the budget) coming in 2nd. Two major policy discussions being developed were Drones and Organized Group Use. Drones have recently become an issue in some locations along the AT. Fontana Dam was approved for inclusion as an AT Community. ATC License Plate fund distributions are changing to award half at the beginning and the remaining 50% at completion of the project. Group Use Campsites were discussed to convey how difficult it is to potentially plan for increased hiker traffic, what we could do given inadequate planning time, and what alternative options clubs could provide. Mostly needed would be a list of camp sites with space for multiple tents and consideration of where clubs might construct group sites. The most debated topic was the NPS Forest Management System used for trail assessment and project planning. Compared to other NP units, the AT cost measured as current replacement value (project work) is about $7.31/ft where the average is more like $49.30/ft across all park units. So there exists a bias to provide more total funds elsewhere since our list of project values are so low. So APPA and ATC want to have clubs reassess their capital plans to see how we can better represent our project values and potentially bring in 3 times the level of funds the park is currently allocated. This potentially could represent a lot of time in looking at projects over the past 10 years and possibly doing field inspections/assessments. We think some test cases ought to be established to ensure this activity can justify the time expenditures and desired sensitivity based on the level of time, difficulty, and funding level. ATC is also working to update old MOU’s across the trail. This is a long-term objective and will take years, but clubs are requested to update their USFS Volunteer Service Agreements and local management plans as a starting point. A new project approval form has been prepared by ATC and clubs are encouraged to use these for all new projects requiring resources and partner approvals. Detailed notes will be issued at a later date from the SORO office. Please let me know if you’re interested in these and I will forward them when they are available.

Reporting: Steve Perri
Date: 10/08/2014
Purpose: ATC Partnership Meeting
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: ATC – Morgan Sommerville, John O’Dell, Leanna Joyner; USFS – Cheryl Summers, Matt Fusco, Alice Cohen, Reuben Potter, Matt McCombs, Brandon Jones, Andy Hunter, Allison Williams; TEHCC – Mike Hupko, Bob Peoples, Jim Foster, Tim Stewart, Paul Benfield, Kim Peters, Ted Mowery, Carl Fritz, Steve Perri
Summary: Our fall ATC partnership meeting was held at the Watauga Ranger District Service office in Unicoi.

TEHCC reports: Since the April meeting, significant work had been carried out including: rehab of ~ 0.5 mi in the areas near Jane Bald-Stan Murray Shelter, trail S. of Clyde Smith Shelter, and Dennis Cove. Trail relos totaled ~ 1.75 mi consisting of: Backbone Rock Blue-blaze (0.7 mi w/ ASU), Little Rock Knob-Greasy Creek Gap (Hard Core and Konnarock), and Hughes Gap – Cloudland. The entire section from Hughes Gap to Cloudland is now completed after 5 yrs and has added 2 miles of additional trail w/o the steep eroding treadway.This has been a challenging project considering the required rock work, type of soil, and drainage required. The SAWS has almost completed the Turkey Pen Gap relo (0.4 mi) this year had it not been for poison ivy – it will likely be done in one more outing. Work S. of TN 91 is ongoing and will include future Konnarock work in 2015 or 2016. Koonford Bridge work is almost complete thanks to the retirees and coordinated effort with USFS staff and the hot shots – project time is almost 2,300 hrs to date. Remaining work includes approaches the bridge ends and hand rails. For the fiscal year, TEHCC reported 14,819 hrs with 376 events and 442 individuals.

Agency discussions: Andy Hunter was present as the acting ranger for Terry Bowerman, his replacement will be named soon. Allison Williams is a new volunteer coordinator in NC and was present for her first week reporting to work – she will be working in same building as SORO. Overall agreement exists for adding signage on the northbound side of Carvers Gap to improve hiker education and LNT principles. The thought is to have signs that might be single panel and located in a way to reduce their presence among the main viewpoints. John O’Dell has some info to incorporate and Matt Fusco provided a design template – maybe $500-700 ea. We’ll need to work with the Roan Stewardship Council on agreement for locations. We discussed progress with the closure of the AT around Watauga Lk. The USFS closure process will allow the trail to be reopened for the window of Nov. to a date to be set in the spring. We agreed to make local signage changes to reflect this, but will keep websites and printed media with info conveying continual closure thru next year to avoid confusion. We will be surveying work needed for the 2 bridges in Laurel Fork Wilderness – Alice would like us to review the USFS prescription for changes to structures to ensure we are consistent with the minimum requirements process. The old Koonford center span bridge removed this fall is planned to go in at Shook Branch to replace an older foot bridge – TEHCC needs to check with Lynn DiFiori for spec suitability. Morgan reminded us to anchor one end of all the bridges in the Wilderness to ensure they don’t wash away in case of future floods. The USFS is working to relocate the fencing on the Osborne tract – final result is to have accessible part cow-free. Matt described a long term plan to do more grazing in open areas over time – this could possibly help with reintroduction and expanded habitat for elk. TEHCC has 2 proposals in to the Watauga district for campsites (Wildermine Hollow grouping and temporary one S. of Shook Branch) and a relo for Old Ridge Road near Double Springs – Alice is going to follow up on these. The prescribed burn at Steel House (near Backbone Rock) is planned since it wasn’t executed previously. Another is planned near Old Ridge Rd. Hikers will be escorted during the burn.

ATC discussions: Fletcher Medina was hired for the Roan Ridgerunner season in 2014. Fletcher did a good job considering the difficulty with the high numbers of visitors and issues around conveying LNT. Some visitors felt his messaging didn’t have as much credibility w/o more signage conveying this too. Jon suggested a different schedule for the future to have coverage mostly on the weekend to allow a longer duration and to keep the person fresher. Open area funding got held up this year then released at about half ($35k). John Odell is considering hiring a person next year if funds are available to help with the expected level next year at $35k again. Noro virus education seemed to help reduce incidents this year, although more occurrences were reported in VA this year. The kiosk project partnership with Rob Martin assisting with the Eagle Scout Project is in the planning phase. TEHCC will follow up with Rob to keep up with the scout’s proposal to his committee now that he has the drawings from Cheryl. ATC would like for this project to be documented on their new project form –soon to be released in an updated version

Next meeting: April 8, 2015 location TBD.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 10/18/2014
Purpose: 3rd Saturday Hiking with Tools
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Joe DeLoach, Terry Oldfield, Mary Fanslow, Tim Stewart, Kim Peters
Summary: This was another productive 3rd Saturday - Hiking with Tools trip. We all started at Mooreland Gap Shelter where we picked up trash, cleaned out the fire pit, left a new log book and broom. Then we split into two groups with Terry and Joe heading south to Bitter End with a chainsaw and Tim, Mary and Kim headed north to the Canute place and back to Mooreland Gap. We all lopped rhododendron and other woody growth and cleared multiple blowdowns ending up at Bitter End at about the same time. It was a long day, but a great day to be out in the woods and we left the trail in much better shape than we found it!

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 10/17/2014
Purpose: Assess trail section
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Adopted this 4.2 mile section. On a sunny Friday, walked the trail to assess its highlights, condition, and needs. Last time hiked this stretch was in 2007 before the excellent relocation was installed. Highlights are the view into the Nolichucky River gorge, bridges over cascading streams, and the rhododendron when in bloom. Condition was found to be good, although six blowdowns were reported to Carl with directions and pictures. While I clipped rhododendron during the hike, the uphill side requires thorough pruning. The sidehill tread needs some rehab in several places due to severe sloughing, which later discovered two are rated critical on the ATC assessment from June 2013. Historical data shows that this section requires nine person-days of routine maintenance, so will be back with others to keep the trail open.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/16/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Daryel Anderson, John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Carl Fritz, Mike Hupko, Leanna Joyner, Greg Kramer, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Brian Paley, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Mike Price, Morgan Sommerville, Tim Stewart, Jack Tarlin, George Thorpe,
Summary: 50 degrees with light rain all day was not a good harbinger. One maintainer kept saying we were certified crazy. But everyone stuck with it and the Koonford Bridge was officially opened! We installed the hand rails with some fitting since the posts and rails were just treated fence posts. Most of the crew worked diligently to rebuild both approaches so there was not a 24 inch step to get onto bridge. They used rocks to raise the trail. The north end took probably sixty feet of trail to be rebuilt. Part of the crew removed the temporary bridges close to Dennis Cove and used the soil and rock to make better ramps for the permanent bridges. The transportation trail was brushed in. The opening of the Koonford bridge was just in time. The temporary locust log bridge was washed out about a day earlier. It was about 25 feet downstream on the north bank and was destroyed by the recent heavy rains. Bill Murdoch came to the rescue late in the day by retrieving his boat trailer at the marina and transporting the 24 foot long beams from previous bridge to Rat Branch Work Center. What a crew of volunteers!

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/15/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Ed Oliver, Carl Fritz
Summary: These are some accumulated hours in October to sort and label Koonford bridge hand rails, clean and repair tools like chainsaws used to cut posts, prepare hardware, and locate specialized tools.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 10/17/2014
Purpose: Check shelter and trail
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Phyllis Cairnes, Kim Peters
Summary: We hiked out to the shelter, clearing numerous blowdowns along the way. There certainly was evidence of recent high winds as there was lot of small debris also in the trail. Most blowdowns we were able to drag off the trail, but several did require sawing including the top of one large tree which completely blocked the trail. At the shelter we picked up trash, cleaned up the fire pit and left a new broom and log book. We also installed a sign at the water source visible to north bounders. Not surprisingly after all the rain we have had, the spring is flowing well. On the hike back out we obliterated numerous fire pits and picked up the trash that they accumulated. I lost count of the number of south bounders and weekend hikers that we passed. It was a lovely fall day to be out in the woods.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 10/13/2014
Purpose: Fall Maintenance
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Mike Hupko
Summary: Picked up limbs of various sizes, cut one small tree, rehabbed about 15 feet of trail, cleaned out several dips, and picked up trash at the trail head. Scouted out location of locust logs near Iron Mountain Gap for future trail repair.

Reporting: Rick Lott
Date: 10/05/2014
Purpose: Remove blowdowns
Section: 12b: Walnut Mountain Road to Sugar Hollow Creek
People: Rick Lott, Vicki Lott
Summary: Rick and Vicki took out the two blowdowns trail north of Mountaineer Falls Shelter. One was about a half mile from Walnut Mtn. Rd. It was about 12” with two smaller trees taken down with it. The next one was about another half mile south and was a pretty large 30” tree. It took several wedge cuts with a 16" chainsaw to be able to roll it off trail.

Reporting: Scotty Bowman
Date: 10/04/2014
Purpose: Shelter clean up and trash removal
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
Summary: Ii was a brisk Saturday morning when I hiked up to Vandeventer shelter for a little tidying up and some trash removal. A couple of weeks earlier, I had heard that there was a campsite that had a lot of trash and the plan was to seek it out and do a little clean up. I found the site about 2 miles past the shelter traveling trail North where some good samaritan picked up the trash and actually dropped it off at the shelter which I had found.

Also, the water sources were pretty much dry between Iron Mountain and Vandeventer shelters. The one at Iron Mountain Shelter was trickling at the pipe and the Vandeventer was dry.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 10/06/2014
Purpose: treadway rehab
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: I leveled out a couple of sections where the outsloping was too steep.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 10/08/2014
Purpose: Blowdown removal
Section: 11a: Dennis Cove Road to Canute Place
People: Pat Loven
Ken Buchanan
Summary: Ken and I drove up the jeep road on the south side of White Rock Mountain. We removed a blowdown located about 150 yards north of the jeep road/AT intersection.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 10/05/2014
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray, Lotta Murray
Summary: Clipped brush and cleared blowdowns from Devils Creek Gap to Spivy Gap. Trail is in good shape. There is one stealth fire ring that needs to be cleaned up and a small blowdown near Spivy Gap that needs a bigger saw.

Reporting: John Robbins
Date: 10/05/2014
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: John Robbins
Joanne Robbins
Summary: Walked to McQueen's Gap. Removed several small dead falls, cleaned water bars, pruned briars back. Spoke with a couple South Bounders. Trail is in good shape.

Reporting: Faye Guinn
Date: 09/30/2014
Purpose: cut blowdowns
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Howard Guinn
Faye Guinn
Summary: We cut two large fallen trees near the rock and trimmed out of the trail two apple trees that had fallen: one at the orchard and one just before the actually open space that is the orchard. We cleaned all the water bars and checked the spring.I picked up trash at Iron Mountain Gap and at one of the campsites. A four-wheeler had been all over the orchard.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/02/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Daryel Anderson, John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Scotty Bowman, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Mike Hupko, Becky Kinder, Greg Kramer, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Reuben Potter, Gayle Riddervold, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: This was the second "Fantastic" maintenance day this week. These enthusiastic volunteers hauled in deck boards, cross bracing, handrail posts, more than a hundred pounds of hardware, and many tools. We also up righted the nine beams, anchored them to sills with 10" lag screws and angles, installed cross bracing, fastened down 3x8 decking and fastened posts for handrails. It has been a very successful week!

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 10/01/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Bill Murdoch, Ed Oliver, George Thorpe
Summary: We finished preparing posts for hand rails, sorted hardware, loaded all hand rails, posts, and bracing, plus assembled tools for another big day tomorrow at work site.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/29/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Carl Fritz, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples
Summary: These are accumulated hours for making bridge measurements, obtaining tools, and making specialized carts to replace Koonford Bridge.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/24/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver
Summary: These are accumulated hours for gathering and making supplies for new Koonford Bridge.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/30/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Daryel Anderson, John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Sutton Brown, Ken Buchanan, Robin Dean, Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Mike Hupko, Becky Kinder, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Gayle Riddervold, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe, Nathan Wilcher, HIKER John Ellison, and 8 Forest Service personnel
Summary: Some called this a "really good" day. Others said it was a "fantastic" day. All nine beams are now laying on the bridge spans. When most of the beams are 22 feet long and weigh 400 pounds, that is no small feat. Many thanks to the Forest Service for providing some young muscle to tote some of those beams! Everyone contributed in a way to make this a successfully important day in the rebuilding of the Koonford Bridge

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 09/27/2014
Purpose: ATC Family Hiking Day event
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Suzanne, Eugene, and Rachel Dobbs, Charles and Lola Kelchner, Vic Hasler
Summary: For TEHCC’s participation in the September 27th ATC Family Hiking Day, a trip was led from Carvers Gap up to Grassy Ridge and back on a gorgeous day. Six people and a dog joined the many others who were enjoying the sweeping views of the surrounding mountainous terrain on this trail section. The Baa-tany goats are off the balds per the gentleman who was packing out their fencing on multiple trips.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/27/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Paul Benfield, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Becky Kinder, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Gayle Riddervold, John Robbins, Kevin Sedgwick, George Thorpe
Summary: We continued to smooth and widen the trail so bridge materials can be more easily transported. Some significant bumps and dips have been evened out. After several weeks of significant trail rehab, it is now ready. We probably had 80 to 100 hikers today.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/25/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Daryel Anderson, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Becky Kinder, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Ed Oliver, Brian Paley, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Gayle Riddervold, Kevin Sedgwick, George Thorpe
Summary: There was a bad start when one maintainer hit a deer on way to car pool site. The rest of the day went much better. We completed drilling sills, transported them and installed them. After making all the dimensional changes to the piers, the bridge is going to be straight and well on the sills. We improved the temporary transport path at the bridge. We definitely improved the roots and rocks on Appalachian Trail and a temporary bridge was built at first stream crossing at Dennis Cove.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 09/22/2014
Purpose: Fall Walk Through
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Faye Guinn, Howard Guinn, David Douthat, Daryl Loyd, Judy Middlemas, Eric Middlemas, Lana Scott, Marsha Hupko, Mike Hupko
Summary: Cleared 7 blow downs from the trail, lopped, cleaned water bars, picked up trash, checked Cherry Gap Shelter and the springs. Also, cleared the side trail from FS230 to the north Unaka switchback on the AT just above Low Gap.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 09/22/2014
Purpose: Fall Walk Through
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Lamar Adcox, Jeannine Edwards, Jerry Jones, Andrew Cleland, John Parks
Summary: Cleaned water bars, lopped, cleaned around two large blow downs pending removal by chainsaw, and picked up trash. Beauty Spot has been bushed hogged and the trail is passable.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 09/22/2014
Purpose: clearing undergrowth
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Cut back the encroaching rhododendron, pine saplings, striped maple and other underbrush for about 1/4 mile.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/23/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Daryel Anderson, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Mike Hupko, Becky Kinder, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Ed Oliver, Brian Paley, Bob Peoples, Gayle Riddervold, Kevin Sedgwick, George Thorpe
Summary: We stiffened temporary bridges near Dennis Cove, cleared some stumps that were obstacles, measured pier caps, mortared some rocks to hide concrete pads, cut and drilled deck boards, beams, and sills. We used 12" cutoff saw for 3" deck boards and chainsaw for everything else.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 09/22/2014
Purpose: Cut blowdowns and do routine maintenance
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: Bruce Darby, Jim Foster
Summary: Bruce and I cut 3 blowdowns, rehabbed some trail, cleaned water bars

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 09/20/2014
Purpose: 3rd Saturday Hiking with Tools
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray, Lotta Murray, Joe DeLoach, Terry Oldfield, Kim Peters
Summary: The task for the September 3rd Saturday Hiking with Tools trip was to work on the 5 mile section of trail between Temple Hill Gap and Devil's Creek Gap.
The weeds and rhododendron were thick starting out of Temple Hill Gap and the going was slow, but we lopped, whacked weeds and cut blowdowns until we finally reached No Business Shelter, 2.4 miles in, at 3 pm. We picked up trash at the shelter, left a new log book, shovel and broom then continued on to Devil's Creek Gap. We stopped at the spring to install a pipe and spray a nearby wasps nest. The water level is low at the spring, but it is flowing. The rhodo's were not as bad after the shelter so we were able to move on a little faster although there were several blowdowns to be cleared. Some we could just move off the trail and others needed to be cut. We finally got back to our car at Can Lot about 5:30 and after retrieving the vehicle at Temple Hill Gap were on our way home by 6 pm.
It was a long day, but we left the trail in much better shape than we found it and it was an absolutely beautiful day to be out in the woods. We met 3-4 day day hikers and about as many backpackers also out enjoying this fine weather.

Reporting: Anna
Date: 09/20/2014
Purpose: Clear out large yellow jacket nest
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Shane Hackler
Anna Hackler
Summary: Had 2 people tell us over the last few days there was a large yellow jacket nest right in the middle of the trail heading to Laurel Falls & several people have been getting stung. It was actually in a rotted tree that had fell across the trail landing the nest right in the middle. We cleared it out & killed any yellow jackets that were present. Moved the tree off the trail. Walked another maybe 1/2 mile then came back giving it time to let any stranglers come back to the old nest (closer to dark), there was about another 15 or so we killed after that. Waited a while & left after we saw no more show up. When we were about to leave the parking area, some other hikers told us there is 2 more nest further in closer to the falls that are both on the 2nd bridge. I guess several people have been getting stung there also. It was dark & we couldn't head back in at this point.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 09/20/2014
Purpose: Blow Down Removal
Section: 1: TN/VA state line to Backbone Rock Trail
People: Bob Peoples
Jim Chambers
Summary: We removed a blow down just south of the Tennessee/Virginia State line.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/19/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver
Summary: We sorted out everyone's small tools plus the removed hardware during this past week in disassembling bridge and concreting piers. We also prepared some more materials for new bridge.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/18/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Daryel Anderson, John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Bob Horan, Becky Kinder, Ted Mowery, Brian Paley, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Gayle Riddervold, Kevin Sedgewick, George Thorpe, 2 male hikers
Summary: We finished the two bank pads by pouring 1120 pounds of concrete. We also completed moving most of the old bridge materials out except for those used on temporary bridge. We completed cutting out temporary trail to bridge work site. We also build a temporary bridge at second stream crossing near Dennis Cove so we can get carts over it.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/17/2014
Purpose: Koonford Bridge Replacement
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Alice Cohen, Carl Fritz, Bob Horan, Becky Kinder, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Gayle Riddervold, George Thorpe
Summary: We built forms for two piers and poured 6 inches plus of concrete to cap the piers. Rebar and threaded rods were added. We also did majority of forming on both banks for more concrete. We hauled 1280 pounds of concrete and Jim must have hauled half a ton himself. We also hauled out much of the old bridge materials.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/16/2014
Purpose: Koonford Bridge Replacement
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Daryel Anderson, John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Jim Chambers, Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Pat Loven, Ted Mowery, Ed Oliver, Brian Paley, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Mike Price, Fritz Swanson
Summary: Significant progress happened today. We completely dismantled the old bridge. We reconstructed the northern section which contained logs as a good looking temporary bridge on wooden piers. Ken and Pat with some help from Paul rehabbed the trail to allow us easier passage with wheel barrows between bridge and railroad cut.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/15/2014
Purpose: Replace Koonford Bridge
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver, Ted Mowery
Summary: These are accumulated hours over last couple of weeks, designing, obtaining materials, and making parts for the replacement of Koonford bridge.

Reporting: Scotty Bowman
Date: 09/14/2014
Purpose: removal of an 18" tree across trial and some brushing
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
James Lautzenheiser
Summary: James and I removed one 18" tree that had fallen across the trail and was beginning to cause some resource damage located about 2.5 miles in from Wilbur Dam Rd travelling trail north. Also, beginning at the 2 mile mark we did spot brushing up to the 3.25 mile mark.While out there we came into contact with a total of 7 south bounders, a couple doing a weekend hike and a total of 15 different folks just out for a leisurely hike.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 09/08/2014
Purpose: clearing encroaching brush undergrowth
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Completed the clearing up to the ridge and began clearing along the ridge,

Reporting: Ed Oliver
Date: 09/14/2014
Purpose: Koonford Bridge Replacement
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Ed Oliver and Bob Peoples
Summary: Ed and Bob completed mortaring rocks on northern pier to bring it to the proper level. The old bridge can now be removed.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 09/12/2014
Purpose: Measure trail relocation
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: In 2014, the club has opened yet another 690 foot relocation in this section along Watauga Lake to bypass some fishermen’s camps along the shore. The measuring wheel was used to check the anchor points as stated in the 2013 A.T. Data Book. The trail distance between US321 and Griffith Branch was found to be 1.5 miles which is 0.1 mile longer than stated in the data book and 0.2 mile longer than provided in the 14th edition guide book between the gate and Griffith Branch. The 0.4 mile trail distance measured from Griffith Branch to the Watauga Lake shelter sign is also 0.1 mile longer than stated in the data and guide books. The extensive amount of work the club has put into this section of trail is evident as an excellent and stable footpath.

Along with measuring, the never-ending growth was clipped. Griffith Branch is dry; even after the rain this week. The shelter, which is closed due to the bear activity, was found to be in good condition with water flowing in the nearby stream. A discarded pair of soaking wet long johns was removed from the campfire ring and hauled out. Since the closure notice also includes a prohibition for “consumption of food”, the bears are enjoying themselves as multiple six packs of aluminum cans and glass bottles of various adult beverages were also hauled out from the campsites.