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: Noah Naseri
Date: 05/28/2016
Purpose: Waterbars/Lopping
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Noah Naseri, Ed Carter
Summary: Cleaned water bars, cut back limbs and brush, picked up extraordinarily minimal trash.

Needs grass cut w/swizzle stick or swing blade, weed eater probably not necessary

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 05/28/2016
Purpose: Mow Camping area
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed and weed eat the camping area and all trails at the barn. Picked up the trash at the Shelter. There was a Church Group of about 40 that visited the shelter while we was there. Only 1 hiker seen.

Reporting: Kayla Carter
Date: 05/21/2016
Purpose: Weeds
Section: 12c: Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road
People: Kayla Carter
Summary: I was planning to have some recruits come help me, but they did not show up. I walked in from Elk River Falls with a swing blade. My sole purpose for this trip was to mitigate the weeds along the Elk River. I cut rhododendron on my way to the weedy area. It took the whole day to cut the weeds by myself with the swizzle stick, which broke about half way through. Rough day, but I got it done. Hope this will reduce tick-borne illness for the hikers that come through. I saw about four thru hikers and three day hikers. I plan to go back out after the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards Wilderness Skills Institute and my birthday (June 4) to maintain the rest of my section.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 05/26/2016
Purpose: Install fencing
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: George Thorpe
Pat Loven
Ed Oliver
Tim Stewart
Bob Peoples
Ken Buchanan
Kim Peters
Ted Mowery
Mark Dibble
Matthew Gilbert
Summary: Under threatening skies we continued fence installation on the Osborne farm. We completed attachment of all the woven wire today - approximately 900 feet. We also opened the four wildlife stiles. Ted mowed and trimmed
the trail across the farm.
We'll likely be able to complete the installation with one more workday. The trail was quite busy with hikers all day.

Reporting: Eric Middlemas
Date: 05/25/2016
Purpose: Spring AT maintenance
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Eric Middlemas
Judy Middlemas
Wayne Jones
Janice Miller
David Douthat
David Fay
Lana Scott
Mike Hupko
Marsha Hupko
Howard Guinn
Faye Guinn
Summary: Conducted routine trail maintenance. Removed trail debris, lopped overgrowth, cleaned out water bars, checked springs at Cherry Gap Shelter, and removed 6 blowdowns. Replaced the log book at Cherry Gap Shelter.

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 05/22/2016
Purpose: Section Maintenance
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Joe DeLoach
Summary: There was more than I bargained for on this trip. The fences heading through the woods climbing Round Bald have been cut in numerous places, and people making shortcuts through is more evident now that at any time since the relocation was first installed. I tied together what I could, but much more extensive work with some fresh fencing and a way to provide tension will be needed. I threw brush on the fence and along the volunteer paths which are being created. Volunteer paths paralleling the Trail are also becoming rampant in the open area on the Trail south side of Round Bald. I saw a not very tall acquaintance walking down to Carvers Gap, not using the gravel trail at all. When I asked her why, she said the steps were too high. Some of them are too high, through frost heaving, compaction, erosion, soil creep, not being installed deeply enough in the first place, or some combination thereof. They would be quite fine in a low use backcountry setting primarily used by avid hikers, but that's not Round Bald. The Trail north side has widened but is in better shape. The Round Bald sign is illegible. The Jane Bald sign which someone unbeknownst to us or any AT management partners installed was wobbly. The Grassy Ridge trail junction post is in solidly and in good shape. A campfire had escaped near the junction and burned a few acres. I scattered a fire ring and some wood near the junction. Hand clipped blackberry and brush between the junction and the summit, not beyond. There was actually a blowdown to contend with, a fir which had brought down some rhododendron.

Reporting: Kevin Sedgwick
Date: 05/23/2016
Purpose: routine maintenance
Section: 12d: Campbell Hollow Road to US19E
People: Kevin Sedgwick, Gloria Sedgwick
Summary: Trail was very muddy after all the rain we have had. Met 16 thru hikers today. Broke apart a few campsites. Cleared lots of small/ med blow downs. As always pulled limbs across ATV path to block them from AT. Cut back mutiflora rose and berries.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 05/22/2016
Purpose: clearing trailside overgrowth, removing blowdowns
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Duchess Vixen
Summary: A cool, pleasant day. Several day-hikers and a few section- and thru-hikers. Removed a tree south of the 5 major switchbacks and 1 at the north end of switchback #1. Cleared trailside growth with my 4-cycle Husky weed whacker ("Destroyer of Worlds") between switchbacks #3 & #4, between switchbacks #4 & #5, and between switchback #5 and the ridge.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 05/21/2016
Purpose: clearing blowdowns
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Craig Haire
Scott Thomsen
Summary: Cut 3 trees across the trail. It was a wet, nasty day until it cleared up in early afternoon.

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 05/14/2016
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Lyndsey Smith
Brian Schloff
Summary: We made a preemptive strike on the briars along the trail - looks like it will be a banner year again as some were more than 8 ft tall! We lopped branches, cleared a few small blowdowns & dispersed another fire ring that showed up on the bald just beyond Little Hump. Removed a moderate amount of trash from the Bradley Gap campsites & a large amount of trash from the barn. All springs are running well. Only saw 1 thru hiker & many day/section hikers.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 05/19/2016
Purpose: Inspect trail; remove trash
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Curtis Baird, Jennifer Baird, Emily Pons
Summary: Inspected trail for blowdowns/damage and "powerline area" for vegetation growing over trail. Removed trash from campsite firepits and parking lot.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 05/19/2016
Purpose: Build cattle fence
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Daryel Anderson, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Carl Fritz, Danny Harper, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Bob Peoples, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, Matthew Gilbert, Reuben Potter
Summary: We were in the clouds all day today and had to stay working to keep warm. But we started stretching woven wire fencing and established some techniques. Over half of the fence is up now. A couple of more days should finish the fence.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 05/19/2016
Purpose: Check trail clean water bars trim annual growth
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: Bruce Darby, Jim Foster
Summary: Bruce and I cleaned, clipped, and sawed from one end of the section to the other. We also checked the shelter out and delivered a new broom. Someone left a pull cart (many for hauling game) at the shelter. Wonder if we could use it for hauling tin?

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 05/17/2016
Purpose: Roan Naturalist Orientation
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Joe DeLoach
Summary: This is the fourth year where a ridgerunner or naturalist will have a presence in the Roan Highlands from late May into early August. I met with Marquette Crockett from the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC), Amy Snyder from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), Reuben Potter from the Cherokee National Forest Watauga Ranger District, and 2016 Roan Naturalist Eric Rayfield for field orientation. We reviewed policies, guidelines, and some of the situations that have arisen in previous years. Eric's season starts this week. This year as well as last, he is employed by SAHC using A. T. license plate grant funding, but this is really a cooperative effort between both national forests, ATC, SAHC, and TEHCC. This will be the first year where a kiosk, in place just Trail north of Carvers Gap, will provide messenging for visitors which we hope will help the naturalist. Eric will focus most of his efforts between Overmountain Shelter and Cloudland, and has a distinct advantage over his predecessors by not starting on the very busy Memorial Day weekend.

Reporting: Steve Wilson
Date: 05/16/2016
Purpose: Cutting Locust Trees for Boy Scout Project
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Carl Belcher
Steve Wilson
Summary: The goal of this outing was to fell two dead locust trees near Abingdon gap shelter, and cut them into nine-foot logs. The logs will be used as water bars to improve the drainage for blue blaze trail leading to the shelter’s water source. We also used the chainsaw to cut down the almost dead locust tree next to the shelter which was a hazard tree. A new diamond shaped water sign was placed on another tree to indicate the water trail. We saw about twenty section & thru hikers which took great interest in observing the chainsaw work in the forest.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 05/13/2016
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 11a: Dennis Cove Road to Canute Place
People: Ken Buchanan
Pat Loven
Summary: First we drove on the jeep road to the top of White Rock. We walked a short distance to the power line crossing and cut back small trees and other vegetation 2-3 feet away from the trail. Hopefully this will prevent this crossing from becoming so overgrown during the summer. The recent wild fire had burned into the power line but new vegetation had already begun to sprout.
We then drove to Dennis Cove to address a similar overgrown area just south of the road crossing.
Only saw three hikers today. We guessed all the others were in Damascus.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 05/11/2016
Purpose: Build Cattle Fence
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe, Matthew Gilbert
Summary: We endured some heavy rains during the morning. After lunch the rains disappeared and we dried out quickly. We completed setting the locust posts and the t-posts. Also, after splitting more locusts we installed all the horizontal bracing and some of the diagonal bracing. Wire should start going up next time to create the cattle fence.

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 05/01/2016
Purpose: Rare Plant Monitoring
Section: 11a: Dennis Cove Road to Canute Place
People: Dan Firth
Summary: In off and on rain, monitored five rare plant populations.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 05/09/2016
Purpose: Trail Maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed and weedeat the campground at the Overmountain Shelter and weedeat all the trails as needed. Picked up trash.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 05/09/2016
Purpose: Trail Maintenance
Section: 1: TN/VA state line to Backbone Rock Trail
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed and weedeat whete possible along the AT and the Accessible Trail across the Osborne Farm. We were unable to mow about half of the field near the old house as there was near 30 tents with campers camped there. There was more by the time we left. All appeared to be enjoying themselves.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 05/07/2016
Purpose: Assess need for trail rehab
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Kim Peters and Carl Fritz
Summary: We assessed primarily the water trail at Abingdon Gap Shelter as a potential project for an upcoming Order of the Arrow Boy Scout outing. It looks like it will be a good project since some rock steps and some water bars would help preserve it and make it safer to walk. There are many section and thru hikers out. And many thru hikers are wanting to hold up for Trail Days.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 05/06/2016
Purpose: Build cattle fence
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Daryel Anderson, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Ted Mowery, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Reuben Potter, HIKERS Abe den Harder, Staton Parker, Aaron Grills and Stephanie Roane
Summary: It was in the 40's with a good wind chill, but we stayed busy to generate body heat. The Forest Service had dropped a couple of large locust trees which we skinned and split into posts and rails. We finished setting posts and started working on some of the bracing for the new cattle fence. What a beautiful place to work.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 05/05/2016
Purpose: Inspect trail section
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Dean Baird
Summary: Inspected trail and removed trash. Counted 14 tents; talked to a few NOBO hikers at campsites. They knew of no trail damage south of the trail.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 05/03/2016
Purpose: Blow Down Removal
Section: 2a: Backbone Rock Trail - Abingdon Gap Shelter
People: Jim Chambers
Mark "Blacktop" Dole
Summary: Removed all blow downs between Abingdon Gap Shelter and Backbone Rock Trail.

Reporting: Steve Wilson
Date: 04/19/2016
Purpose: Offset Project Field Review with USFS & ATC
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: Steve Wilson, Morgan Sommerville (ATC) & Matthew Fusco (USFS)
Summary: The Forest Service is planning an Offset Project in the Watauga Ranger District in Sullivan County. The project’s goals are to enhance the forest for more wild life diversity by removing select trees in selected places and to reduce the risks of wild fires by conducting a controlled burn. These plans are for forest areas just north of the AT in from Double Springs shelter to Abingdon Gap Shelter. As a part of the planning process a field review was conducted with representatives from the USFS, ATC and TEHCC. Matthew Fusco (USFS Forest Architect), Morgan Sommerville (ATC Southern Region Director), and myself hiked the nearest AT section (Hwy 421 trail north to spring) which might be affected by the plans, and reached the conclusion that the plans would not affect the views significantly.

Reporting: Wes Ford
Date: 04/29/2016
Purpose: trail condition
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: Wes Ford
Summary: I hiked from Low Gap to Damascus. Several trees were down and I will be reporting locations to Jim and Carl. The trail was in good condition, water sources flowing good, and shelter was clean. I picked up trash along the way and moved some small trees from trail. I came across 6 northbound hikers, 3 section and 3 thru hikers. Beautiful day to hike.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/29/2016
Purpose: Build Cattle Fence
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Daryel Anderson, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Danny Harper, Karen Loven, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Mike Price, Ed Speer, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe, Reuben Potter
Summary: We are building a fence to allow cattle to graze an open but steep hillside that cannot be mowed with a tractor. Without grazing the area will grow trees and block the magnificent vistas. USFS had drilled wood post holes except several places they hit rock. We set many of wood posts and t-posts. What a beautiful place to work. It will take another work day to finish the posts and bracing.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/25/2016
Purpose: Blowdown Report
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Aaron Grills and Stephanie Roane f
Summary: Aaron and Stephanie are north bound thru hikers. Ed Oliver knows Aaron well and asked them to record blowdowns. They just got off the trail to attend a wedding in Mexico. Here is their report.
1.8 miles north of Chestoa 10” tree
2 miles north of Chestoa 8” tree
1 mile south of Curley Maple Shelter 12” tree
Need north bound blaze at Indian Grave Gap

Reporting: Tim Stewart
Date: 04/23/2016
Purpose: check fire status and rhodo removal
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Tim Stewart
Summary: The trail was open but fire crews were still busy containing the fire. I hiked out to Moreland Gap Shelter from Bitter End. There was no evidence of fire South of the shelter.

I lopped rhodos and removed several small blowdowns. I also identified several areas that could use some minor repairs, mostly places where the trail is dipping. Rake, shovel and broom were all present and accounted for at the shelter, as well as a little bit of trash, which I removed. I placed a bottle of hand sanitizer at the shelter.

Local USFS and Fire Crews seemed to have the fire under control and were informing hikers as required. Great job done by all!

Reporting: Greg Kramer
Date: 04/16/2016
Purpose: Garlic Mustard Challenge at Roan Mountain
Section: 15a: Carvers Gap - Cloudland Hotel
People: Greg Kramer, Serita Blankenbecler
Summary: 18 people showed up at the Roan Mountain State Park Conference Center, at 10 AM, for the Roan Mountain Garlic Mustard Challenge. After an introduction of people and what is garlic mustard, we had a warm up activity, the invasive species hop and then off to our respective areas to pull. Greg Kramer and Serita Blankenbecler represented TEHCC. Amy Snyder, Marquette Crockett, and 2 ATC interns went to the lower shaded portion of SR143 to pull. We six pulled 190 pounds and the other 12 also pulled 190 pounds.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 04/23/2016
Purpose: Garlic Mustard Challenge
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Vic Hasler
Dan Firth
Amy Snyder (ATC)
Phillip (ATC Intern)
Summary: Two invasive species were addressed today. The club pulled 163 pounds of Garlic Mustard (alliaria petiolate) from Devils Creek Gap area along the Appalachian Trail. It was clear that the treatment made last year to remove 130 pounds was effective in reducing the number of plants growing along the trail, forest service roads, and an open area. However, continued diligence will be needed to complete the eradication. The other invasive removed today was 17 pounds of Litter (species: trashae humanous) mostly in the form of empty beverage containers. The day was cool and cloudy which was good for working in long sleeves around the briars also growing along the edges. Many section and thru hikers (with a couple of dogs) were observed going in both directions.
Another invasive (autumn olive) was seen along the edge of the open area, thus next year’s effort could be expanded to cut and treat it with an approved herbicide.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 04/21/2016
Purpose: Inspect for blowdowns; remove trash
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Dean Baird
Summary: Checked trail for blowdowns or other damage; none found. Removed 2 bags of trash.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 04/21/2016
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Danny Harper, Pat Loven, Ted Mowery, Ken Murray, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We rehabbed trail N and S of No Business Knob Shelter. Mostly, we added locust side logs and rock cribbing to cover exposed roots. The graffiti board at shelter seems to be working well and is about full. We must have seen two dozen hikers.

We also did similar rehab south of USFS road 278.

The trail rehab on this section is probably done for the immediate future.