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: Jim Foster
Date: 04/27/2015
Purpose: Flag relocations
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Kim Peters, Bruce Darby, Jim Foster
Summary: The three of us finished flagging the relocations that we had plotted from Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mtn. Gap. We completed the flagging and used our GPS to record the new proposed relocations. We ended up with a total of 10 which was more than we had originally expected. We were well satisfied with our efforts and hope to see the project brought to conclusion.

Reporting: Michael Watts
Date: 04/25/2015
Purpose: Trail mainteance
Section: 3a: McQueen's Gap - Spring 2.3 miles N of Low Gap
People: Rick Lott
Scotty Myers
Jim Price
Michael Watts
Summary: Expecting rainy day, but weather cleared up by the time we started. Did clipping, weeding, and removed small blowdowns. Trail generally in good shape. Saw a handful of through hikers who were very appreciative of trail maintenance.

Reporting: Tim Stewart
Date: 04/25/2015
Purpose: repair step
Section: 15a: Carvers Gap - Cloudland Hotel
People: Tim Stewart
Summary: Water runoff from the parking area at Carvers Gap washed away the gravel and created a hole in the step. I placed rocks in the step containment area to prevent the gravel from washing away. I then filled the hole with gravel.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 03/21/2015
Purpose: First aid training
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Pat Loven
Summary: I completed the Adult First Aid/CPR/AED offered by Red Cross to validate my USFS Sawyer certification. This course consisted of an online at home portion during the week of March 16 and hands on class room training on March 21.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 04/26/2015
Purpose: Blow Down Removal
Section: 1: TN/VA state line to Backbone Rock Trail
People: Jim Chambers
Summary: As I was working in Damascus this past weekend, hikers informed me that there was a new blow down just south of the TN/VA state line. I hiked up there and removed it.

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 04/25/2015
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Brian Schloff
Summary: Cleaned waterbars, lopped branches, cleared a few minor blowdowns & removed a moderate amount of trash from the barn & campsites. Made a preemptive strike on the briars with a swingblade. Drainage around the barn is still an issue as many springs are running. Dismantled numerous fire rings as they are starting to show up everywhere, including in the woods above the barn & several places on Little Hump. Saw only a few thru hikers but many section hikers & a Boy Scout group stayed in the barn. Despite the forecasted 100% chance of rain we had mostly blue skies & wildflowers were abundant.

Reporting: Gerald Scott
Date: 04/18/2015
Purpose: Spring maintenance
Section: 12b: Walnut Mountain Road to Sugar Hollow Creek
People: Terry Oldfield, Tim McClain, Harold Wexler, Gerald Scott
Summary: We repainted blazes, north and southbound, cleared water bars and steps, lopped rhododendrons and other woody growth, cleared and dug out drainage ways, and removed a couple of small blowdowns. Rehabbed a 10-foot section of trail that was sloughing off. Maintained shelter and tent camping area. Shelter needs a logbook and a shelve. There is a 14-16" blowdown leaning over the trail with about 5 feet clearance under it that needs to be removed with a chainsaw. It is located about 1.5 miles south of Walnut Mountain road. There are two other leaners with adequate clearance south of the shelter. Pictures were sent to Kim Peters and Carl Fritz.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/24/2015
Purpose: Review Old Ridge Road Relocation
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Carl Fritz, Tim Stewart
Summary: We reviewed with Reuben Potter the two relocations between Double Springs Shelter and campsite. We decided rather than have a switchback in upper relocation to extend the relocation until it hit the A.T. again.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/24/2015
Purpose: Site Visit with Konnarock Crew Leaders
Section: 1: TN/VA state line to Backbone Rock Trail
People: Carl Fritz
Summary: Leanna Joyner, Reuben Potter, the Konnarock Crew Leaders and I visited the next to highest relocation on Backbone Rock Trail. We determined that this relocation will be sufficient work for two weeks of Konnarock Crew time early this summer. We also visited their campsite.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/23/2015
Purpose: Prepare and Rehab Trail
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Daryel Anderson, Dean Baird, Paul Benfield, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Mike Hupko, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart
Summary: We cut up locust trees into sections and debarked many of them. We also rehabbed some trail north of Doll Flats

South of Doll Flats we mostly planned the necessary rehab and marked some crew sections.

More preparations are still required for Hard Core.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 04/21/2015
Purpose: To fix bridge
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Gayle Riddervold & Becky Kinder
Summary: The bridge right below the 19E trail head had some loose boards that needed to be fixed. Becky drilled nails into the boards to secure them down. We walked up to the campground and everything looked fine there. Upon returning to the parking area, we picked up a few pieces of trash.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 04/21/2015
Purpose: Flag relocations
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Kim Peters, Jim Foster
Summary: Kim and I flagged and GPS'd 6 sections of relocations heading south on the AT from Greasy Creek Gap. It was a cool windy day and the flagging was difficult, at least trying to figure out how to lay it out was difficult. We ran up against the clock and didn't quite finish. One more trip should do it, there are at least two or possibly three more heading south toward Iron Mtn. Gap.

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 04/17/2015
Purpose: Section maintenance
Section: 15a: Carvers Gap - Cloudland Hotel
People: Craig DeLoach and Joe DeLoach
Summary: We cut 10-12 blowdowns, a couple of which were bothersome to traverse, between Toll House Gap and Carvers Gap. Several steps need to be reset between Toll House Gap and Cloudland, summer project. It was quite wet and we improved drainage in numerous places. Placed register at the shelter and picked up trash, not too bad. Water has washed out the cribbed, boxed platform that is the first step descending into the woods at Carvers Gap. There is still some rock upon which to stand but not a lot, and it is at risk of further erosion.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 04/18/2015
Purpose: spring maintenance
Section: 12c: Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road
People: Ken Murray, John Robbins, Kayla Carter, Jim Floyd, Kim Peters
Summary: For this April 3rd Saturday - Hiking with Tools trip, we introduced Kayla to her newly adopted section. We performed general spring maintenance, cleaning out waterbars and steps, cutting back woody growth and painting blazes. We enjoyed lunch at Jones Falls. The trail to the falls could use a little rehabbing as it is sloughing off in a place or two. Also the sign indicating the trail to the falls is missing and needs to be replaced. We met lots of thru-hikers, all of whom thanked us for our work. The clouds moved in during the afternoon and it started raining on us as we got near the car at Campbell Hollow road. There is lots of recent evidence of a dirt bike riding on the trail in this area and we witnessed the rider crossing the trail in front of us near the road. Other than that, this section of trail is in good shape.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/17/2015
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Daryel Anderson, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Robin Dean, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Reuben Potter
Summary: We did more preparation for Hard Core north of Doll Flats. Primarily, we prepared some locusts for side logs and steps. We did some rehab. Four of the crew diligently repaired the access road by removing leaves and filling muddy areas with rock or crushed rock. It seemed like there were dozens of hikers. Most thanked us and as usual some complemented us in particular on the work from Cloudland to Hughes Gap.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 04/16/2015
Purpose: Scout relocations
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Jim Foster
Summary: I did some preliminary scouting of relocations from Iron Mountain Gap to Greasy Creek Gap and back. I identified 6 possible sites where relocations might be appropriate. I ran into many hikers and the section is open and free of obstructions.

Reporting: Scotty Bowman
Date: 04/10/2015
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
Summary: It was about 50 degrees with a 60% chance of rain but I still went for it and it was well worth it. It was a good day to be in the woods.
I hiked in starting at Wilbur Dam Rd to Vandeventer for some routine maintenance there were a couple of small blow downs that I removed with handsaw. Also, there are two larger ones, one that is an easy duck under and the other is step over but each will require at least a single bucking saw to remove. Checked the shelter and all is good there. I replaced shelter journal with a new, cleaned up the fire ring and picked up trash around the shelter. Nothing major to report.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 04/13/2015
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Gayle Riddervold & Becky Kinder
Summary: We cut the weeds back that were growing just below the trail head and checked on the new camping area. Ran into a through hiker and his dog that were camping out and sitting next to a fire. Upon returning to the trail head, we picked up some trash.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/14/2015
Purpose: Bridge Designs
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Carl Fritz and Ed Oliver
Summary: We did field inspection with Lynn DiFiore from USFS of Shook Branch bridge and bridge just south of 19E. With slight realignment of bridges, 16 foot will be sufficient for Shook Branch and 20 foot will work for south of 19E. Lynn will work on detailed designs and we will apply for Tennessee License Plate grant. Ed also drew some detailed sketches of concrete pads built for Koonford bridge.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 04/14/2015
Purpose: Blow down removal
Section: 2a: Backbone Rock Trail - Abingdon Gap Shelter
People: Jim Chambers
"Shoe Lace"
Summary: I was able to con a thru-hiker into hiking up the Backbone Rock Trail with me today, so I was able to get the last 2 large blow downs on my section of trail. We also got 2 blow downs on the Backbone Rock Trail. The new sections of the Backbone Rock Trail that we've dug recently are settling and draining nicely. I handed out 1 TEHCC Volunteer patch, and 1 ALDHA Work Crew patch.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 04/13/2015
Purpose: Chainsaw Recertification
Section: 1: TN/VA state line to Backbone Rock Trail
People: Howard Guinn, Mike Hupko
Summary: Received chainsaw recertification at the USFS Unicoi Work Center

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 04/08/2015
Purpose: TEHCC/USFS/TVA/ATC Partnership
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: (TEHCC) Vic Hasler, Kim Peters, Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver, Jim Foster, Ted Mowery, Paul Benfield, Mike Hupko, Eric Middlemas
(TVA) Randy Short
(Pisgah NF, App.) Brandon Jones, David McFee
(Cherokee NF, Wat.) Keith Kelly, Alice Cohen, Reuben Potter
(ATC, SORO) Morgan Summerville, Leanne Joyner, John Odell
(CMC) Tom Weaver
Summary: These minutes are a summary of the discussion held among partners at USFS office in Unicoi, TN. If you desire further details, please contact anyone who attended. Unfortunately, Unaka District was unable to be there due to an active search and rescue operation. The club’s partner contact list was updated with request made to include Vic Hasler as new chair on communications.

Carl Fritz presented accomplishments of trail rehab near Laurel Fork Gorge and Chestoa bridge, relocation opened near Greasy Creek Gap, plus establishing campsites at Wilder Mine Hollow and Shook Branch (temporary). SAWS were rained out from opening Turkeypen Gap relo this week. 2015 efforts will include work at Doll Flats (HardCore) and Backbone Rock Trail (Konnarock) plus addressing some shelter roofing and graffiti. Several more projects are in the queue for future years, thus input for NEPA reviews to be assembled over next few months.

John Odell shared about efforts planned for both rare and invasive species. New leads included a rare grass which might merit a small trail relocation to avoid. Carter County has begun consideration to become an AT Community. The group discussed a follow-up topic about having a highway sign where the AT crosses US-19E, which needs to involve TNDOT. Lee Farese has been hired as 2015 Roan Highlands naturalist with weekends as a ridgerunner and weekdays on stewardship and open areas mapping. The position, starting mid-May, will be managed by SAHC. Location has been selected for the kiosk supporting Round Bald for ecology and AT/Leave No Trace. A mowing crew will be in Bradley Gap for eight days in June, and seeking alternative plans if inclement weather. Morgan Summerville shared that property along the AT near the Chestoa railroad bridge has become available, thus early assessment of interest and importance. Evaluation of Greasy Creek relocation for Konnarock desired by the Fall partnership meeting. Leanne Joyner is reviewing sawyer training needs, which USFS indicated is at capacity for limbing and bucking aspects. Recording for Leave No Trace videos is expected in Laurel Fork Gorge soon.

Randy Short shared about no tent camping around Watauga Lake. Campgrounds will be run by a third party which will have 24/7 on-site supervision. Construction of a short 0.2-0.3 mi connector trail from behind Watauga visitors’ center to the A.T. is proposed for FY2016.

Gate at FS230 road is open for turkey season, but the ditch work has not yet been completed. The group agreed the new Osborne Tract fence location has keep cattle off the trail. The group discussed balds management using grazing versus mechanical mowing, including areas able to address and cost. An event for cystic fibrosis is being held on 4/18 between Elk Park and Iron Mtn Gap.

The partners agreed the VIF agreement with TEHCC should be forest-wide. CMC and SAWS have similar efforts underway, thus should be reviewed as a starting pattern. TEHCC local management plan has been updated, thus seeking feedback from partners in time for formal approval at Fall RPC.

The next partner discussion was set for Wednesday, October 7 at the USFS Mars Hill office.

Reporting: John Robbins
Date: 04/12/2015
Purpose: Maintenance
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: John Robbins
Summary: Walked trail to spring. Cleared two small blow downs. Spring is clear and free flowing. Put in a new water bar. Cleaned up trash at both trail heads. Met a few thru-hikers.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/11/2015
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 14a: Doll Flats to Bradley Gap
People: Daryel Anderson, Dean Baird, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Kayla Carter, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, John Robbins, Randy Madigan "Solo", Alf Ressler
Summary: On a beautifully clear day with temperatures in 50's and 60's we enjoyed some great views from Doll Flats. We were really rehabbing trail on south side of Doll Flats because the trail had sloughed into the fence. We redug 600 feet of trail to put it back up the hillside where it belonged. This will allow us to better move materials for Hard Core further south. Alf, a German, visiting for several weeks in U.S. got to see some of our mountains. We did drop a large hazard tree in a gathering spot near Doll Flats.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 04/04/2015
Purpose: Check trail and shelter
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Phyllis Cairnes, Kim Peters
Summary: It was 39 deg when we got out at the parking lot with a cold wind blowing, but the forecast was for sun and high 50's so we headed out. The trail was in remarkably good shape and we only found a few small downed trees to move off the trail. We dismantled two old fire pits, one which was full of trash and were pleased to note that none of the ones removed last year had returned. The shelter was also in remarkably good shape, although the graffiti is proliferating. One hiker wrote "I don't have a name, but I was here". Why? We cleaned out the fire pit and left a new log book. We met lots of hikers, more than I could count and one turkey hunter who told us we should carry a pistol when we went into the woods.
Next trip out will be to do some lopping and to paint the blazes.

Reporting: Steve Perri
Date: 04/04/2015
Purpose: Spring MaintenanceTrip
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Jim Floyd and Steve Perri
Summary: Jim Floyd is interested in adopting this section since he lives in Shady Valley. We met at Low Gap and conducted a tail gate safety orientation then set out to clip annual growth, clean water bars, blaze and remove blowdowns. We removed three blowdowns that were partially obstructing the trail with a bow saw and cut other annual growth. We cleaned water bars hiking in and out. We blazed on the way out covering both directions. The 3 user defined camp sites were relatively free of garbage. Jim and I had different counts on water bars as I think there are more than 40 in this section. We met at least 6 thruhikers, a couple of day hikers and 2 slack packers. A father and son stayed in the shelter thru the heavy rain and indicated some of the roof screws may need some caulking.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 04/05/2015
Purpose: Remove Large Blowdowns
Section: 2a: Backbone Rock Trail - Abingdon Gap Shelter
People: Jim Chambers- 8 hours
Summary: I went ahead and tackled my larger blow downs with hand tools, a couple of motivated thru-hikers, and a big assist from our old friend gravity. I ended up breaking my hand saw, but I got all but 2 blow downs. I will get the last 2 blow downs next week when I return from the ALDHA Spring Meeting. I handed out two TEHCC Volunteer Patches to the two hikers who stopped to help me.

Reporting: John Robbins
Date: 04/05/2015
Purpose: General Maintenance
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: John Robbins
Joanne Robbins
Summary: Walked US 421 North to the spring. Cleaned out water bars, cut back branches, removed blow down reported by Phyllis Cairnes and a couple others. Cleaned up trash from the trail and the trail head. Spring and trail are in great shape. Met two thru-hikers, Chef and Bilbo. They both said the trail was clear south to 91.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 04/03/2015
Purpose: Trail Maintenance
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Cut blowdowns and cut several locusts on the ground to be used as side logs.

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 04/01/2015
Purpose: cutblowdown
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter
Summary: I walked the section, found & cut the reported blowdown, removed a few small blowdowns, replaced the shelter register & broom, and removed a bag of trash. I checked the spring, which is running well but needed cleaning, and dug out and rock ringed a pool.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 04/03/2015
Purpose: Blaze trail to Campground
Section: 9a: US321 to Pond Flats
People: Paul Benfield
Summary: Painted some white blazes and Blue blazed the trail to the campground. Painted out some directions painted on the road.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 04/01/2015
Purpose: Spring Maintenance
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: David Douthat, Bruce Darby, Wayne Jones, Daryl Loyd, Howard Guinn, Faye Guinn, Susan Peters, Janice Miller, Ernie Hartford, Eric Middlemas, Judy Middlemas, Lana Scott, Marsha Hupko, Mike Hupko
Summary: Removed 21 trees from the trail, the largest about 16 inches in diameter. Lopped, removed debris from the trail, and cleaned water bars. Cleaned around the Cherry Gap Shelter and removed about 100 pounds of trash from the shelter and replaced the shelter log book. The springs were flowing good. Picked up trash along the trail and at the Iron Mountain Gap trail head.

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 03/31/2015
Purpose: Propose viewshed improvement at Beauty Spot
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Joe DeLoach
Summary: The trees on the NC side of Beauty Spot have grown up over the years and obstruct some nice views of the Nolichucky River and the Black Mountains. During the open area management planning discussions, I proposed cutting some to open the view and that I could lead a crew to do so. Operations Forester David McFee and a colleague from the Pisgah National Forest, Zone Biologist Joe McGuiness from the Cherokee National Forest, and John Odell and two associates from ATC met at Beauty Spot to view the proposal. They not only accepted the proposal, they volunteered to do it! It will most likely be in the late summer. We picked up plenty of trash with everyone pitching in, and were joined by Mike and Marsha Hupko doing the same.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 04/01/2015
Purpose: Spring Maintenance
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Lamar Adcox, Tony Kozloski, Jeannine Edwards, John Parks, Jerry Jones
Summary: Removed 3 trees from the trail, the largest about 10 inches in diameter, lopped, cleaned over 30 water bars and picked up trash.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 03/31/2015
Purpose: Spring Maintenance
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Marsha Hupko, Mike Hupko
Summary: Cut one large tree and removed many small limbs from the trail, cut low overhanging limbs, lopped, picked up trash at Beauty Spot Gap and at the Beauty Spot parking area. Checked and cleaned area at Deep Gap spring.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/01/2015
Purpose: Remove blowdown
Section: 12c: Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road
People: Paul Benfield, Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Ted Mowery, George Thorpe
Summary: We removed a major tangle of about four 6 inch tree tops that had trail blocked. We also removed some other overhead dead falls that were weighing down the rhodos. We inventoried several bridges. And we met some of the north bounders we had seen on Hump Mountain.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/01/2015
Purpose: Scout rehab work
Section: 14a: Doll Flats to Bradley Gap
People: Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters
Summary: Part of Thursday Crew inspected rehab needs from Doll Flats to Hump Mtn. and there are many. This will probably be the first area tackled by Hard Core. There is a lack of locusts or rocks in much of the area needing rehabbed.

About a dozen hikers were encountered with one being a south bounder.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/01/2015
Purpose: Prepare for rehab
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery, Kevin Sedgwick, George Thorpe
Summary: Part of Thursday Crew worked doing some rehab just north of Doll Flats. Mostly, they prepared some locust side logs for extensive rehab in the future and maybe with Hard Core.

Reporting: Phyllis Cairnes
Date: 04/01/2015
Purpose: shelter maintenance
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Rolla Wade
Phyllis Cairnes
Summary: Carried in new broom and trail journal. Picked up littler, shoveled out fire ring. Broke up two fire rings and picked up trash about 30 steps north of the shelter. Tried to observe reason for roof leak on left rear side (facing shelter). Suspect attaching nails are leaking---may need to investigate better sealant. Walking in from Low Gap about 5 minutes north there is a multi-branched tree across the trail (approx. 7" diameter) which could probably be cut with a hand saw (we did not have one.)
Met at least 6 northbound hikers and 2 dogs. One hiker began at Springer March 5 and was averaging 17.5 mi/day.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 03/31/2015
Purpose: Bridge Discussions with Watauga RD
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Carl Fritz
Ted Mowery
Ed Oliver
Summary: We met with Lynn DiFiore, Matt Fusco, Reuben Potter, Alice Cohen and Keith Kelly to discuss some foot bridges.

We all believe bridge at Shook Branch needs replaced. Old center span of Koonford Bridge does not meet current engineering standards. More strength in beams are needed. We will do field inspection with Lynn to agree on bridge and pier designs. Beams could be constructed out of 2 by's or be solid beams depending upon our pier and span decisions.

Bridge just south of 19E needs replacing. A review in field is needed to settle on final design.

Two lower Laurel Fork bridges need to have the deck and hand rails replaced some time in future. We discussed some potential design concepts. More design work is needed and we will review access to those bridges.

We were complimented on Koonford Bridge completed last year. We need to provide Lynn some more details of especially pier design so she can approve that bridge.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 03/31/2015
Purpose: Cut down hazard tree
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Carl Fritz
Ted Mowery
Ed Oliver
Summary: We cut down a large pine that had broken ten feet up from ground and the top was suspended over first major campsite going north from Oliver Hollow Road. This was discovered by 3rd Saturday group. The campsite area looks as clean as we have ever seen it.

Reporting: Bob Peoples
Date: 03/26/2015
Purpose: Remove blowdowns
Section: 11a: Dennis Cove Road to Canute Place
People: Bob Peoples
Michael Scharhag "Moose"
Summary: Bob and "Moose" removed some blowdowns causing problems for the hikers.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 03/29/2015
Purpose: Blow Down Removal
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Jim Chambers
Gary "Guiseppe" Richards
Moose
Summary: Bob had gotten a report of a 30" Hemlock down over the trail just north of Watauga Lake Shelter, so we accessed the trail via Wilbur Dam Road and removed the large blow down. We also removed 3 other blow downs around the lake, as well as a good bit of lopping between Wilbur Dam Road and the dam.

Reporting: Steve Perri
Date: 03/29/2015
Purpose: ATC Southern Partnership Meeting
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Steve Perri, Vic Hasler
Summary: The ATC Southern Region Office, Virginia Regional Office, and associated trail maintaining clubs met in Arden, NC for the spring Regional Partnership Committee (RPC) meeting. This gathering brings each of the trail partners (ATC, clubs and land managers of USFS and NPS) together to brief each other on current events, review potential issues, and recommend decisions on issues and policies affecting the trail.

Policies and Business
The RPC Principles for Governance document was approved by the committee. The proposed policy for Pipeline Crossings was reviewed and approved by the committee. It is being fast tracked to the Stewardship Council and then will be presented to the Board of Directors (BoD). The Biennial Task Force presented a white paper on options for reorganizing, which will be presented to the BoD in May. The BoD approved the recommended policy on Group Use of Shelters. RPC’s will be developing a new policy on group campsites, clubs can develop recommendations on developing planned sites rather than user developed sites. We might see recommendations on proper use of hammocks as part of this policy.

Konnarock
Trail clubs presented proposals to the committee to review. We and a few other clubs didn’t have all the projects fully documented. The agency partners had some recent turnover and some proposals had not been signed off. This turnover was apparent in the audience as a show of hands indicated a third was there for the first time, so we had Pete Irvine explain the process and importance of adequate preparation. We discussed the issues of executing projects, including desire for some flexibility in getting projects done or making changes. The NPS process does not allow for project changes in the current year or two years out, but can accommodate some adjustments. In general, recommendation was to not introduce new projects in the window of less than three years and to not move projects up due to the impact on the funding. Trail clubs were encouraged to look for spill-over projects in case some are completed early - and to not attempt to finish proposed Konnarock projects early if they are in the five year plan. Clubs will need to be more proactive to review their project pipeline with partners annually.

Appalachian Trail NP (APPA)
NPS Trail Assessment process was reviewed by Keith Stegall, who is on loan from Golden Gate NP. This data will be used to update the replacement value of the trail to help compete for NPS project funding. Current plan is to hire seasonal staff for each regional office to gather GPS/photo data on key assets, such as shelters and open areas. Clubs are being asked to provide data collection (no GPS/photos) for the treadway (main and side) features, such as drainage, steps, and signage using a field inventory form developed for the process. PATC is being the pilot section. The rest of the clubs will then be given training in late June to start their sections and can hopefully help the seasonal employees as well. This effort will be executed during 2015-2016. APPA completed their Foundation Document and Business Plan, which will be posted on their website after full approval. It has been concluded that the A.T. could be eligible for National Register of Historic Places, which would provide another level of protection from external threats. This effort is first pursuing registration with state level historic commissions; starting in Maine and working south. Next year (2016) is 100th Anniversary of the NPS. This centennial celebration is working on multiple outreach efforts, such as “Find Your Park” branding or “Every Kid in a Park” initiative to provide every fourth grader in the nation with a one year NPS pass. A professor at VA Tech is evaluating visitor experience and safety with potential improvement in signage and wayfinding along the Trail as an outcome. APPA has an intern considering outreach issues over a yearlong assignment.

ATC
Renovation of the 125 year old “rustic rural” ATC headquarters has been completed to provide upgraded office space. Annual budget for ATC will be $7.5M in 2015, an increase of 8%. ATC is hiring a new director position to focus on the landscape initiative (water/viewshed/culture) with a December 1-2 conference to discuss where the greatest opportunities to protect are. U.S. release date for Redford’s “A Walk in the Woods” movie is projected for Labor Day weekend with promotion beginning 90 days prior. It is expected to be popular with mature audiences as a comedy. Significant discussion around the potential increase in hikers occurred all three days. An increase similar to when the book was published would put roughly 96 folks per day starting during traditional March 1 to April 15 window, thus several mitigating actions are being considered. Self-registration (roughly 50% usage currently) would hopefully spread out the starting wave. Contacting hikers before arrival to manage expectations while providing basic training. Evaluate capacity of overnight sites in GA. Employ more ridgerunners and caretakers on the southern end. A seven year program of hang tags emphasizing each Leave No Trace principle has kicked off. These are obtained by self-registration on the ATC thru-hiker or from ridgerunner validating principles being use. The Stewardship Council has had some changes to better align with ATC’s new strategy. Several clubs are updating their local management plans. Process for review and approval is by the RPC chair, ATC regional director, and land managing partner. TEHCC will need to have Pisgah and Cherokee regional supervisors sign off. ATC will be conducting listening sessions with clubs as part of the higher engagement initiative. Teleconferences will be scheduling after May with a list of questions shared in advance. One use of this initiative is as a framework to develop a new MOU with clubs. NPS funding for open areas is expected to be at $35k plus another $7k from ATC for mowing. A seasonal employee will be hired to help with open areas. A hiker was fatally injured this year in MD from a hazard tree. Clubs should thoroughly inspect congregation areas (shelters, campsites, vistas and springs). We may see a future workshop on inspections and/or training as an emphasis for the VIF/VIP programs.

USFS
The USFS is also preparing their new strategies. The emphasis from Forest Supervisory of Region 8 is that they are working to become more engaged with the public and to also become more relevant. Clubs are also updating their volunteer agreements. We will be reviewing the new forms used by CMC as this approach is planned to be the preferred template across the region. Reuben Potter from the Watauga RD was awarded the Partner of the Year –Congratulations Reuben!

Other News
• ATC is piloting an AT Ambassador program to help educate and teach hikers Leave No Trace
• ATC is establishing a Youth Advisory Committee, likely to be represented by college students
• ATC is piloting a youth volunteer trail crew over July 4th week, which could be a future connection with Konnarock
• The Trail Communities program is holding a summit over Nov. 2-4 in Shepherdstown, WV
• The Trail to Every Classroom (TTEC) is establishing an Advisory Council to help link to teachers better and to have an RPC rep from every region
• Clubs were reminded to use the project form A1 to bring projects to the RPC after approved by the land managing partners
• Clubs will be asked about campsites listed in the databook. Whether current and what to keep?

Reporting: Steve Wilson
Date: 03/29/2015
Purpose: Removed blown down trees
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Ted Malone & Steve Wilson
Summary: We removed three blown down trees and three hazard trees with a chainsaw between McQueens gap and Abingdon Gap shelter. This Trail is in good shape and ready for thru hikers. We also put silicone sealant on the roofing nails that appeared to be leaking at Abingdon Gap shelter. The shelter has a good shovel, but needs a new broom.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 03/25/2015
Purpose: To clean water bars
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Gayle Riddervold & Becky Kinder
Summary: Today we cleaned out all the water bars and stopped briefly to talk with Carl Fritz and the maintenance crew to check out the new camp site at Wildermine. Upon returning to the trail head, we picked up trash.

Reporting: Steve Brooks - The Clinch Coalition
Date: 03/21/2015
Purpose: Clear Keokee Trail of downed trees, brush, etc.
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Forest Service recreation director Rick Meadows
Clinch Coalition members & friends: Patrick Withen, Dennis Spjut, Blake Lawson, Connor Stanley, Trevor Makal, Jay Velasco, David Li, Owen Barbour, Riley Grecol, Jim Taylor, Finnley Willow, Hunter Taylor & Steve Brooks
Summary: With 2 certified sawyers we were able to reopen the entire trail! All downed trees were removed and much overgrown rhododendron, brush, etc. was cut back. The Trail was blazed and trash picked up.

Reporting: Joe Morris
Date: 03/25/2015
Purpose: Remove Blowdown
Section: 9b: Pond Flats to Hampton trailhead
People: Joe Morris
Greg Kramer
Kevin Sedgwick
Moose
Summary: We removed a major blowdown near the top of Pond Mountain and did some trail rehab. This section continues to improve and is in pretty good shape for this season of NOBO's.

Reporting: Ken and Lotta Murray
Date: 03/25/2015
Purpose: Shelter Maintenance
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Lotta Murray
Jenny Eckenrode
Summary: Major task was installing 2x4s over the top edge of the hardware cloth screen which was installed this winter. The screen was coming loose and could catch on hikers and their equipment. The 2x4s will help hold the screen in place. Although this is not an ideal or permanent solution it should work for a few years.

Also replaced Shelter log book, picked up trash and clipped along the trail.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 03/25/2015
Purpose: Remove major blowdowns
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Jim Chambers, Pat Loven, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart
Summary: This crew went heavily loaded with tools to remove about 4 blowdowns just south of Canute Place. Some were multiple, some had their root balls pulled out and ready to slide down to trail. They safely removed all the blowdowns.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 03/25/2015
Purpose: Install new camping area
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Paul Benfield, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Pat Loven, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Reuben Potter, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe, Robert Torbert "Wayfarer"
Summary: We installed a new permanent campsite at Wilder mine just above old Apple House shelter site. We cleaned the area of multiflora rose, rocks and down trees. We built a new rock fire pit with rocks as seats surrounding it. Reuben demonstrated how to skillfully remove a hazard tree that was entangled with grapevine. The campsite is marked with a carsonite sign.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 03/25/2015
Purpose: Install temporary campsite
Section: 9a: US321 to Pond Flats
People: Paul Benfield, Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver, Kim Peters, Reuben Potter, George Thorpe, Robert Torbert "Wayfarer"
Summary: We primarily installed a new campsite about 0.2 miles south of US 321 and about 300 feet north of Wilderness boundary. This will be a temporary campsite during bear closure around Watauga Lake. It has no water source. Kim and Ed also collected some information on two bridges on north side of US321. Ed measured line of sight along US 321 for several road crossings.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 03/24/2015
Purpose: Spring Maintenance
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Faye Guinn, Howard Guinn, Judy Middlemas, Eric Middlemas, Wayne Jones, and Mike Hupko
Summary: Cut 13 trees on the trail, repaired about 20 feet of trail where one large tree fell, cleaned water bars, picked up trash, broke up an illegal fire ring, and checked the spring at the orchard which was flowing good.

Reporting: Tim Stewart
Date: 03/22/2015
Purpose: check section
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Tim Stewart
Summary: From Bitter End I hiked to Moreland Gap Shelter to check half of my section. The trail looked good. Did some lopping of rhodos, but not as much as anticipated.

Shovel, broom and rake were present at shelter. Placed new log book and some hand sanitzer and removed trash. Ashes in fire pit felt warm so was unable to disperse them. Saw 3 NOBOs and one section hiker at the shelter.

On the hike back to trailhead, removed 2 fire rings.

Reporting: Kevin Sedgwick
Date: 03/21/2015
Purpose: Trail Maintenance
Section: 12d: Campbell Hollow Road to US19E
People: Kevin Sedgwick, Gloria Sedgwick
Summary: Walk Thru of section. Broke apart 2 campsites. Cleared 2 minor blow downs. Cleared lots of small and medium size limbs. Reset 2 trail marker posts. Lopped rhododendron and multiflora rose. Rehabbed 23' of trail. Carried out 1 bad of trash. Met 3 early thru hikers and 1section hiker.

Reporting: Timbo Schaef
Date: 03/23/2015
Purpose: Testing form again
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Tim
Summary: Testing again. I put the submitter in the email subject since the from address will no longer be them.

If desired, I can put anything submitted in the subject if anyone has a preference. Contact me at tschaefer@eastman.com with requests.

Available field tags:
[from_name]
[from_email]
[maintenance-date]
[purpose]
[section]
[location]
[number-of-people]
[total-hours-rounded-to-whole-hours]
[names-of-people]
[individual-hours-rounded-to-whole-hours]
[summary]

Reporting: Tim Schaefer
Date: 03/10/2015
Purpose: Testing form
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Tim
Summary: Testing changes to form. Email was getting swatted by some since the email from address was being "spoofed" (i.e. coming from tehcc.org but appearing to come from @yahoo.com or @aol.com). Some email providers were complying with instructions to not accept messages that arrive in that fashion from appearing to be from specifically Yahoo or AOL. Changed to appear always coming from webmaster@tehcc.org. Contacting will require you looking within the message.

Reporting: Steve Wilson
Date: 03/21/2015
Purpose: Cleared water bars and cut briars
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Steve Wilson
Summary: I cleared leaves and mud from the water bars from McQueen’s Gap to Abingdon Gap shelter. The shelter looks good, but may still have the water leak in the back left corner. The shovel is in good shape, but the broom is worn out and needs replaced. I found three significant blowdowns which will require a chainsaw to remove due to their sizes. The first one is a step over, and the other two blowdowns can be ducked under so they aren’t obstructing hikers. I plan to remove them next weekend.

Reporting: Terry Oldfield
Date: 03/17/2015
Purpose: Maintain Double Springs Shelter
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Kim Peters, Terry Oldfield
Summary: We hiked to Double Springs Shelter from TN 91, and back. We picked up trash at and near the shelter, cleaned the gutter, and left a new log book. We also broke up a few fire rings. On the way back, we cleaned out waterbars. The trail is in good shape, except for one 14" blowdown about 1 mile in from the edge of the woods. It can be stepped over, so cutting it out is not urgent.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 03/21/2015
Purpose: Clean up campsites
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Phyllis Cairnes, Rolla Wade, Bob Byrd, Jim Floyd, Brad Leath, Olivia Leath, Connor Leath, Anna Hackler, Andrew Scott, Terry Oldfield, Kim Peters
Summary: What a great turnout for the first Hiking with Tools trip in 2015! Eleven people showed up on a cool and cloudy morning prepared to help clean up the campsites around Watauga Lake. The sun came out after a few hours and it turned out to be a lovely sunny warm day to be out in the woods.
We split into two groups and equipped with shoves, rakes and trash bags we proceeded to break up the dozens of fire rings along the shore between Shook Branch and Watauga Lake Shelter. There were more fire rings than I could count and we hauled out at least 5 bags of trash but we left the area much nicer than we found it.
Many thanks to all the great volunteers.

Reporting: Faye Guinn
Date: 03/12/2015
Purpose: make trail passable
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Howard Guinn
Faye Guinn
Wayne Jones
Brigitte Koegel
Summary: We knew there were some blow downs to the big rock and we wanted to see if there were any pass there that needed a chain saw and with hand saw and loppers we hoped to make the trail passable until we could get a day to take in the chain saw. We cleared a lot of smaller things out of the trail but found we will need to take the chain saw all the way thru. We could not make the trail passable but will get in as quick as possible to do that with a chain saw, chain saw needed for 10 trees that are across the trail.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 03/18/2015
Purpose: Dig and Prepare Relocations
Section: 1: TN/VA state line to Backbone Rock Trail
People: Ken Buchanan, Kayla Carter f, Jim Chambers, Collin Edwards, Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Mike Hupko, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: Part of the crew finished digging the lower relocation closest to parking lot and opened it. Rest of crew reflagged the upper two relocations and cut out many of the wood obstructions. There is sufficient work prepared for Konnarock crew this year.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 03/16/2015
Purpose: Meet with Forest Service
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver, Ted Mowery
Summary: We had planned a large meeting with primarily Watauga Ranger District and some of regional Forest Service personnel. Unfortunately, we were confused on the time with FS thinking 10 AM and we were thinking 2 PM. We did discuss some business with Lynn DiFiore. Larger meeting will be rescheduled.

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 03/16/2015
Purpose: Chainsaw recertification
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Joe DeLoach and Steve Wilson
Summary: Thanks very much to Reuben Potter for extending this recertification training to Steve and Joe!

Reporting: Ken and Lotta Murray
Date: 03/16/2015
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Lotta Murray
Mike Barosso
Peggy Cantrell
Drew Cantrell
Summary: Routine clipping, removed small blowdowns, clean shelter firepit.

The shelter log we placed there last fall is full. We will take a new one up next week.

The new paint on the shelter looks good. The picnic table is a nice improvement. The wire mesh under the sleeping platform is problematic. It has already pulled away from the wood in one place. Someone has tried to hold it in place with Duct Tape. We will try to cover it with wood trim next week.