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

Reporting: Steve Wilson
Date: 02/20/2017
Purpose: Cutting Blowdowns, Cleaning Water Bars & Cutting Briars
Section: 3a: McQueen's Gap - Spring 2.3 miles N of Low Gap
People: Carl Belcher, Steve Wilson
Summary: Carl Belcher & I took advantage of a warm and sunny day to clear the section of trail from McQueens gap hiking south to the spring. We cut six blow downs, cleared several water bars and cut the briars. This section looks good for the thru hikers.

Reporting: Greg Kramer
Date: 02/18/2017
Purpose: Scout out invasive species near Temple Hill Gap
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Greg Kramer
Summary: Scouted the area for tree of heaven and prepare for treatment of trees on Tuesday 21st.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 02/17/2017
Purpose: general maintenance
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: No chainsaw work was required. Trail obstruction was cleared with a lopper and hand saw. The trail is in very good shape. Ran into several dayhikers on a pleasant day.

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 02/20/2017
Purpose: Section Maintenance
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Dan Firth
Summary: Surveyed the status of the water bars and steps as well as location for rare plant monitoring later in the year. Six water bars and one step needs replacing.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 02/20/2017
Purpose: TEHCC A.T. Committee Meeting
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Vic Hasler, Mike Hupko, Greg Kramer, Eric Middlemas, Ted Mowery, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart, Steve Perri (in person!), Steve Wilson and visitor Carl Belcher
Summary: The committee agenda had one full page of announcements which were read by the participants, but not formally discussed. The second page contained several topics which invoked serious conversation. A few points are being shared with the general club via the newsletter.
* Chainsaw recertifications will likely be conducted in March or April as USFS Reuben Potter’s schedule allows. Reuben is the only Class C Certifier in our area.
* Committee agreed to apply for ATC/LL Bean grant for a few more Silky-brand pruning saws including maybe a Katanaboy design – plus extra blades within what funding is provided.
* Bob People outlined how Elizabethton HS obtained a sizeable grant for their alternative education proposal. Cherry Gap Shelter renovation was suggested as a design project. Students will research and propose a design based on our basic requirements (number of people, must use existing footprint). A short review at Fall partnership in October in Unicoi would be appropriate.
* If the temporary closure of Watauga Lake Shelter because of bears has to become permanent, the club discussed possible campsite locations south of US321 and north of Wilbur Dam Road.
* Roan Mtn A.T. Community – Dedication set for 4/24 and celebration on 5/6. The club has been requested to have a booth at the latter event in the city park.
* The proposed A.T. rerouting across US321/Atwood property was extensively discussed. The primary decisions were to remove the 2019 Konnarock Crew from TEHCC plan and wait on the written report by TDOT on how US321 can be safely crossed. Better approach will be to delay rerouting the A.T. until the TDOT control features are first installed for the highway.
* Carl Belcher (who moved to the area from Colorado) shared how he and Steve Wilson met, then became involved with some trail maintenance activities. Say hi when you see him next!
* MRATC will again be hosting Hardcore in 2017. They need to borrow TEHCC tools and helmets for the event volunteers.

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 02/17/2017
Purpose: Prepare and Submit 2017 LL Bean Grant
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dan Firth
Summary: Prepared and submitted the 2017 LL Bean Grant requesting funding to purchase additional hand saws for use by trail maintainers.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 02/19/2017
Purpose: Trail Prep
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Connie Squires
Jim Chambers
Summary: Felled Locust and cut stakes in preparation for scheduled trail rehab this coming Thursday.

Reporting: Ken Buchanan
Date: 02/18/2017
Purpose: Routine maintenance and clear reported blowdown
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Ken Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
Diane Brewer
Anita Long
Linda Coulson
Summary: I enlisted several family members as willing workers . Three of us headed in from Low Gap to check the trail and clear a reported blowdown. The others came in from Cross Mountain.
Expecting a 6-8 inch blowdown I only took my axe. Cleared the blowdown but, on in about 1/4 mile north of the shelter, found a 30 inch Oak blocking the trail. Not having a week to spend with the axe, I left it for another day.
Did not see any hikers on the trail One runner.

Reporting: Bob Peoples
Date: 02/18/2017
Purpose: Remove Rocks from Trail
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Bob Peoples
Summary: 5 large rocks had fallen early in week from railroad cut north of Koonford Bridge. They did not completely block trail but they impeded travel. Bob with a sledge and pick was able to make a 30" path. Additional rocks will fall from railroad cuts some day since there is a lot of fractured rock above.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 02/16/2017
Purpose: Trail Assessment
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Bob Peoples
Jim Chambers
Summary: Assessed section of side hill trail that has sloughed off thus creating an undefined treadway.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 02/16/2017
Purpose: Routine trail maintenance
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Dean Baird
Summary: Also removed some tree branches from trail; no major problems

Reporting: Bill Fuller
Date: 02/14/2017
Purpose: Shelter Assessment
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Bill Fuller
Summary: I hiked down the High Water Trail and made an assessment of the shelter while also cleaning up some trash in the fire ring. I will return soon with a shovel, broom, and log-book. The water source is good.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 02/14/2017
Purpose: Bridge Preparation
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Grant Dienes, Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, John Grills, Mike Hupko, Pat Loven, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: Grant, John B., JIm, Tim and Bob disassembled and removed Shook Branch bridge. They also did a great job of preparing the landings for the bridge pier and sill.

Everyone else worked at Work Center to cut and drill the wood for both the Shook Branch and Wildermine bridges. Our day consisted of tape measures, saws of various types and drills. Some holes were almost three feet deep! Everyone made the day successful.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 02/12/2017
Purpose: Create handbook for Roan Naturalist role
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: After four years of having a naturalist/ridge runner stationed in the Roan Highlands, agreement was reached with the partners to assemble a handbook of background information and best practices which would help in basic training of future personnel. From October 2016 thru February 2017, I took the lead role is gathering information from SAHC and other sources to create an extensive draft during my end-of-year holiday vacation. A couple of editing rounds by the partners now has a 39-page Roan Naturalist Handbook ready for use during the 2017 deployment.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 02/04/2017
Purpose: clearing blowdowns
Section: 9b: Pond Flats to Hampton trailhead
People: Craig Haire
James Price
Scott Thomsen
Helga Mitchell
Summary: This is a continuation of the previous report, doing the same work, as we hiked all of the Pond Mtn. Wilderness section. However, starting down from Pond Flats, we came to a good-sized tree too big for hand saws. We managed to clear it with a 47" crosscut saw.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 02/04/2017
Purpose: clearing trail
Section: 9a: US321 to Pond Flats
People: Craig Haire
James Price
Scott Thomsen
Summary: Using hand saws, we cut a few small trees that had fallen into the trail. Some we were able to pull off the trail without cutting. The day started off very cold, but it finally warmed up.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 01/25/2017
Purpose: clearing trail
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Checked trail condition on the first five switchbacks. Cut and removed rhodo branches hanging down into the trail, using a hand saw.

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 02/11/2017
Purpose: routine maintenance
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter
Summary: I walked the section & picked up/removed several dozen downed limbs, plus sawed & removed three fairly large (4"-6") blowdowns. I also cut a hanging blowdown which was constituting a hazard: I sawed through a narrow hinge, allowing the hanging trunk to drop to the ground in a much less tenuous position. It still is a little iffy and will probably need chain sawing fairly soon. I checked Stan Murray shelter, picked up a bag of trash, (& then realized I'd forgotten to bring the new shelter register). I checked & cleaned out the spring, which is running pretty well

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 02/11/2017
Purpose: routine maintenance
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter
Summary: I walked the section & picked up/removed several dozen downed limbs, plus sawed & removed three fairly large (4"-6") blowdowns. I also cut a hanging blowdown which was constituting a hazard: I sawed through a narrow hinge, allowing the hanging trunk to drop to the ground in a much less tenuous position. It still is a little iffy and will probably need chain sawing fairly soon. I checked Stan Murray shelter, picked up a bag of trash, (& then realized I'd forgotten to bring the new shelter register). I checked & cleaned out the spring, which is running pretty well

Reporting: Dan Firth
Date: 02/10/2017
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Dan Firth
Summary: Although the day started off cold, it warmed up nicely allowing for the cleaning of water diversions, clearing the smaller blow downs and branches from the trail, and picking up a small amount of trash including a coffee pot.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 02/10/2017
Purpose: Clear blowdown and water bars
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: Carl Belcher, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Bob Peoples, Steve Wilson
Summary: We removed a complex overhead blowdown. We also cleaned the water diversions and studied an old cabin structure within sight of trail.

Reporting: Scotty Bowman
Date: 02/10/2017
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
Summary: It was a very brisk day for my hike in. The high was going to be around 50 in town so much chillier in Big Laurel Branch. I removed two blowdowns of tree tops with multiple branches that were causing hikers to leave the trail to get through. I picked up trash at Vandeventer, not much but someone left a big sheet of plastic. No new graffiti, the graffiti board seems to working. Water flowing nicely at water source at Vandeventer and at spring 1.6 miles trail south toward Wilbur Dam Rd.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 02/08/2017
Purpose: Blow Downs
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Bob Peoples
Jim Chambers
Summary: Removed all recently reported blow downs, plus all other blow downs between Iron Mountain Gap and Greasy Creek Gap. Also removed all blow downs, and erected the fallen blaze post going to the water source at the Apple Orchard. Piped spring was running fine.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 02/06/2017
Purpose: Layout Trail Relocations
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Tim Stewart
Summary: We checked on proposed relocations between Weedy Gap and Greasy Creek Gap. Another day in field will be required to finalize the probable four relocations.

Reporting: Jim Chambers
Date: 02/05/2017
Purpose: Trail Maintenance
Section: 14a: Doll Flats to Bradley Gap
People: Connie Squires
Jim Chambers
Summary: Performed thorough assessment of newly assigned section of trail from Doll Flats to Bradley Gap. Removed blow downs and tried to cattle straighten fence on Hump Mountain. Will need to return asap with chainsaw to remove tangle of blow downs that are completely obstructing the trail.

Reporting: Steve Wilson
Date: 02/02/2017
Purpose: Cutting Blowdowns & Briars
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: Carl Belcher, Steve Wilson
Summary: Carl Belcher & I hiked trail-north on the AT from Low Gap to the spring to remove blowdown trees and cut briars. Most blowdowns were easy step overs, but we did find one significant entanglement roughly half a mile from the gap which may require further work due to being hung up in a tree. The trail is clear in this section, but the water bars need to be cleaned.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 02/01/2017
Purpose: Clear Blowdowns and Repair Shelter
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Richard Carter, Jim Chambers, Grant Dienes, Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Waylon Jenkins, Greg Kramer, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart
Summary: Thanks to Tim Schaefer for alerting us about a tangle of three trees and some root balls on trail near Laurel Falls. It took us over three hours to remove the trees especially the 18 inch oak pushing straight down hill. The root balls of smaller trees buried the rock steps in up to three feet of soil. All the rock steps underneath were still in good shape. Dan, Tim and Ted also repaired the back side roof and roof rafters on Laurel Fork Shelter. This was still from the damage of storm in July which put trees on the roof. The shelter and trail are in good shape.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 01/24/2017
Purpose: Sharpen saw
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Paul Benfield
Summary: Cleaning, clean, and sharpened the clubs Crosscut Saw.

Reporting: Phyllis Cairnes
Date: 01/25/2017
Purpose: shelter maintenance
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Rolla Wade, Phyllis Cairnes
Summary: First we affixed a mileage sign to a tree on the trail south from Low Gap. Then we walked north toward Abingdon Gap shelter. Along the way we lopped back greenbriar, removed fallen limbs, and took photos of downed trees to report. At the shelter we did the usual maintenance: replaced the journal, shoveled out the fire ring, cleaned the gutter, swept the floor, and picked up trash. I'm happy to report the walls are still free of grafitti. Writing and drawing has been limited to the grafitti board. It was a gorgeous day to be outside.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/25/2017
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Paul Benfield, Richard Carter, Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Jimmy Mills, Ted Mowery, Kim Peters, George Thorpe
Summary: Trail condition from Wilbur Dam Rd to spring was very good. We improved several small areas that needed steps stabilized or sidehill redug. Several minor blowdowns and large limb hanging over kiosk were removed.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/25/2017
Purpose: Trail Rehab
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: John Beaudet, Jim Chambers, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart
Summary: Besides removing three blowdowns the crew improved a switchback, removed some rocks and rehabbed trail over Killer Hill. Ice in trees from fog pelted the maintainers as sun warmed to 60 degrees.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 01/25/2017
Purpose: clearing blowdowns
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Removed 20 trees between Indian Grave Gap and Beauty Spot, requiring 24 cuts with my 12" Greenworks electric chainsaw. Not knowing what to expect, I took my 16" saw also but didn't need it. Also didn't need my extra batteries, and there was 25% charge left in the battery I used. A nice, sunny day after the morning chill. Saw no other hikers. As I drove there in my LEAF, no fossil fuels were needed for this maintenance. I only inconvenienced a few electrons.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/24/2017
Purpose: Bridge Materials
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Johnny Grills, Ed Oliver
Summary: We purchased the remaining lumber for hand rails, posts and piers for the Shook Branch and Wildermine bridges. We delivered it to Watauga Ranger District Work Center. We are ready to soon start the cutting and drilling of all the wood materials.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 01/21/2017
Purpose: Check for trail obstruction
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Jim Foster
Summary: What started as a walk ended up as a maintenance trip. The trail was full of debris and small blowdowns so I took care of them. I don't think Howard and Faye will mind. There's one large single tree blocking the trail that hikers will either have to go around or over. The rest of the section is open and in good shape.

Reporting: eloise kaeck
Date: 01/16/2017
Purpose:
Section: 15b: Cloudland Hotel - Hughes Gap
People: eloise kaeck
Summary: Hi, guys. I'm not a member of eastman (am Monday crew CMC); but I hike Hughes Gap to Ash Gap every now and then. Live nearby. Anyway, I went up MLK day with loppers and hand saw; and removed everything possible. Lots of branches and debris. Alerting you to about a dozen stepovers between Hughes and Ash. What is the new distance with the relo? There were 8 hikers, incl one woman thruhiker that day.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 01/19/2017
Purpose: Check trail and clean water bars
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: Bruce Darby, Mike Holingshead, Jim Foster
Summary: We cleaned all the water bars and cut out 8 mid- size blowdowns. We had to leave a large step over. We also cleaned around Shelter and noted it was dry inside. Thanks to those folks who worked on the roof and painted the Shelter, you did a great job! It was a beautiful day for mid January.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/19/2017
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Grant Dienes, Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We primarily did trail rehab by adding a lot of rock cribbing and rock steps. The areas on hill were mostly just sagging, narrow trail. We essentially completed all the critical areas. Late in afternoon and very tired, we decided to stay to complete so we would not have to hike in the 2.5 miles again. (I promised that everyone will collect time and a half). We cleared seven blowdowns to shelter with hand saws and pulaskis. Most of water diversions were cleaned and reemphasized. No hikers were encountered today.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 01/19/2017
Purpose: Clear blowdowns
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Ken Buchanan, Pat Buchanan, Pat Loven, Kim Peters
Summary: We set out to clear two large blowdowns that I had found previously, but ended up cutting 8 or more - we lost count. Actually, Pat Loven did all the cutting with his chainsaw - which Ken carried. We also removed lots of smaller branches from the trail, evidence of high winds in the area. Pat Buchanan carried the loppers and cut back rhodys and briars. Much thanks to my excellent help for getting this section into good shape. We met one other day hiker on this fine day to be out in the woods.

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 01/15/2017
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Dave Cook
Summary: Replaced the register & removed a large amount of trash from the barn, cleaned out the leaves from rolling dips & removed several small blowdowns. Found a handheld GPS on Little Hump - contacted Garmin & they are arranging to have it returned to the registered owner. Misty/rainy day to be out but still saw several day hikers & 2 backpackers.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/18/2017
Purpose: Bridge Materials
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Carl Fritz, Don Haas
Summary: Don Haas graciously provided his truck and 26 foot trailer to haul the bridge sills and beams from East TN Forestry Products in Mosheim to USFS Work Center at Watauga Lake. These beams and sills are for Shook Branch bridge and Wildermine bridge just south of 19E.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/17/2017
Purpose: Trail Relocation
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: USFS: Keith Kelley, Alice Cohen, Lynn DiFiore; ATC: Morgan Sommerville; TEHCC: Carl Fritz, Bob Peoples
Summary: There were three primary discussion topics: pre Trails Day party on Osborne tract, bear closure around Watauga Lake, trail relocation on Atwood property.
The natural lay over of north bounders on Osborne tract awaiting the opening of camping at Damascus has grown over last ten years. Now organizers are planning a two week party. USFS has decided that the gathering on AT is inappropriate. Organizers will be alerted and law enforcement will visit regularly.
The closure for bears was discussed as a permanent closure. USFS decided to do another temporary closure for 2017. Data will be collected from hostels and problems reported by hikers.
Next step for possible trail relocation on Atwood property is to request TDOT to do a study. With all the issues plus new NEPA process, any trail relocation is years off so TEHCC will proceed with Shook Branch bridge replacement.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/12/2017
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Dean Baird, Paul Benfield, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Ted Mowery, Kim Peters, Kevin Sedgwick, George Thorpe
Summary: We continued and essentially completed the trail rehab from Laurel Fork Shelter trail north to river. We added about 160 feet of rock cribbing and sidelogs. Than we back filled with crush and run topped with good mineral soil. We dropped a hazard tree. Greg and Kevin cut out a 32" oak blowdown along river closer to the falls. The immediate section of AT on both sides of shelter is in very good shape.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/12/2017
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 9b: Pond Flats to Hampton trailhead
People: John Beaudet, Jim Chambers, Grant Dienes, Joe Morris, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart
Summary: Crew added more rock cribbing and steps especially as the trail leaves railroad grade. With the help of rope pulley system, they moved some large rocks in hopes that this repair will last thirty years. Trail is in good shape from switchbacks installed by Hard Core to trail junction at blue blaze trail towards Hampton.