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: Dan Firth
Date: 02/17/2020
Purpose: Cut blowdowns and clean water diversions
Section: 4a: US421 to Double Springs Shelter
People: Dan Firth
Summary: Cut numerous blowdowns on the way up and cleaned water diversions on the way back.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 02/15/2020
Purpose: Bridge repair, blowdown removal and trail rehab
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart
Summary: We removed all blowdowns ( about 15) with many being stepovers but inconvenient for about the first 3.5 miles north of Spivey Gap. The largest problem was a mass of blowdown with grape vine that had trail blocked for 25 feet. We replaced the entire hand rail and posts on lowest bridge on Oglesby Branch. Previous handrail had many of the boards broken by a blowdown. We also added new lathe to the deck. We rehabbed several areas and added some rock platform steps. We also straightened the slightly listing upper bridge.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 02/12/2020
Purpose: Check Trail
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Bob Peoples
Summary: Trail is in good shape. Bob lopped some rhodos. Water is too high below the falls so he posted signs to close that section of AT and direct them to high water trail.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 02/09/2020
Purpose: Blowdown removal
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Van Hovey
Summary: The first bridge coming up from Spivey Gap has been damaged by a blowdown. We cleared blowdown and made list of materials for repairs to bridge. Cleared other minor blowdowns.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 02/03/2020
Purpose: Cherry Gap Shelter Design
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Tony Messina
Summary: We obtained some critical Cherry Gap Shelter measurements for a redesign. We considered a possible trail relocation to get trail further from shelter. We removed several blowdowns with hand saws. Two of them were 12 inches.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 02/03/2020
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Gayle Riddervold and Becky Kinder
Summary: We hiked from the iron gate to Wilbur Dam sawing and removing 2 small trees from the trail, and cutting back thorny weeds and Rhododendren bushes.

Reporting: Tony Messina
Date: 01/31/2020
Purpose: Maintenance Patrol
Section: 3a: McQueen's Gap - Spring 2.3 miles N of Low Gap
People: Tony Messina
Renee Messina
Summary: Renee and I did an initial patrol of our new maintenance section, McQueens Gap to US421. There was an inch or two of snow in some places and we were even snowed on a little bit, though the temperature was near 40F. We encountered a number of blowdowns, several of which we cleared by hand and hand saw. Four remain which will require us to go back with a chain saw. All four are either simple step overs or easy duck unders. Water diversions are needed on steep sections at both ends of the section, more so on the north end.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/30/2020
Purpose: Rehab Trail
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Tyler Edwards, Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Tony Messina
Summary: We added two locust steps close to US 321.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/30/2020
Purpose: Debark Locust Logs
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Daryel Anderson, Paul Benfield, Tyler Edwards, Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Elzear Lemieux, Tony Messina, Ted Mowery, Bob Peoples, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart
Summary: We debarked all the locust logs that we harvested near Watauga Dam last year.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 01/30/2020
Purpose: blowdown removal
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Van Hovey
Summary: Removed blowdowns, cleaned shelter and fire ring.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 01/27/2020
Purpose: Discuss Roan Mountain 2020 Appalachian Trail Festival (HIKERPALOOZA)
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: TEHCC: Carl Fritz, Bob Peoples, Steve Wilson, Vic Hasler
Roan Mtn: Erik Anderson, Mike Hill, Dave Hill
Summary: Purpose of the meeting was to discuss TEHCC’s involvement with this year’s Roan Mountain HIKERPALOOZA. The main date has been moved to May 9th allowing of a progression of A.T. Community events through Hot Springs, Erwin, Roan Mountain, and Damascus on sequential weekends.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 01/24/2020
Purpose: Applachian RD Trails Transition
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Ranger Richard Thornburgh (PNF/Appalachian RD) is heading to Washington DC for a different position. This meeting was to transition current status of many projects with three partner groups: NC High Peaks Trails Association, TEHCC, and Carolina Mtn. Club. Michael Good (new Recreation/trails program) and Jason Herron (Zone Environmental Coordinator / NEPA) were in also in attendance for the USFS district. The first organization was formed in 2010 as a non-profit to maintain USFS trails on Black Mountain. In 2012, its role expanded to also become Friends of Mount Mitchell State Park. For TEHCC, conversation was mostly about projects in the Roan Highlands and Beauty Spot Gap. Many efforts need to be nudged along with a clear choice about what to implement on the ground. CMC has several projects needing the NEPA reviews to keep on overall multiyear planned schedule. We’ll see more of Michael Good at future meetings for the Appalachian Trail.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/23/2020
Purpose: Blowdown Removal and Brushing
Section: 2a: Backbone Rock Trail - Abingdon Gap Shelter
People: Dean Baird, Phyllis Cairnes, Dan Firth, Carl Fritz, Elzear Lemieux
Summary: Another hard working crew also tackled Backbone Rock Trail and headed south on AT as far as 3.5 miles. All blowdowns were cleared with hand saws and most of encroaching vegetation. All hiked 9.4 miles with Phyllis and Dan doing 12.4 miles. Trails are in good shape.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/23/2020
Purpose: Blowdown Removal and Brushing
Section: 1: TN/VA state line to Backbone Rock Trail
People: Richard Carter, Bruce Ellmaker, Greg Kramer, Joe Morris, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart
Summary: What a crew to do work. They cleared all blowdowns with hand saws and cut back encroaching vegetation on BackBone Rock Trail and everything to TN/VA line on AT. Shortes walk was 5.4 miles but most walked 7.6 miles

Reporting: Tony Messina
Date: 01/19/2020
Purpose: Clear Hazard Tree
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Tony Messina
Renee Messina
Carl Fritz
Summary: We spent much of the chilly but sunny afternoon clearing a hazard tree that was precariously overhanging the AT about 0.1 Mile North of the gate at the Oliver Hollow Road access near Watauga Lake. We were able to pull it partially down with a rope winch, but ended up having to cut the tree three more times with a chainsaw to get it completely out of the way. A tall stable dead section of the tree remains wedged between the ground and other trees, but it is no longer above the trail and is not a danger.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 01/18/2020
Purpose: walk-through, check condition
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: The trail is in excellent condition. There was minimal debris in spite of the recent windy weather. The only cutting needed was with a hand saw, and I didn't need to use my new 50 mm "Samurai Saw."

Reporting: Tony Messina
Date: 01/17/2020
Purpose: Blowdowns
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Tony Messina
Renee Messina
Summary: Cleared double 10inch blowdown just north of former Watauga Lake Shelter. Also cleared a few dead protruding logs near the gate as requested by Becky and Gayle, the section maintainers.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 01/17/2020
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Gayle Riddervold and Becky Kinder
Summary: From Oliver Hollow Road, we hiked in almost to the Dam, cutting back thorny weeds, removing fallen sticks, and small branches. There was a big tree with 2 trunks lying in the trail. Upon our return trip, we encountered Renee and Tony who had just cut the blow down. Becky helped them roll the tree off the trail with the assistance of ropes.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/16/2020
Purpose: Cut Rhodos and Trail Rehab
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Renee Messina, Tony Messina, Bob Peoples, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart
Summary: We finished cutting rhodos on this section. We rehabbed several sloughing sections in first mile by adding locust side logs and back filling. We also added some rock steps. At end of day Kevin, Greg and Carl slipped over to S of Campbell Hollow Road to cut a couple of large blowdowns.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/15/2020
Purpose: Cherry Gap Shelter Design
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver
Summary: We reviewed shelter sketches from Elizabethton High School. Our interpretation of key features are: reuse concrete block, no provision for a footer, primarily 2x6 and 2x8 treated lumber, hemlock siding, metal roof, 20 person capacity, wood floor, four feet longer and four feet wider than current shelter with no provision for eating table. NEPA would probably be required. It is unlikely that students had input. We will draft a design similar to Curley Maple Gap Shelter and determine if students can be involved in later tasks.

Reporting: Phyllis Cairnes
Date: 01/13/2020
Purpose: scouting, shelter maintenance
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Rolla Wade
Phyllis Cairnes
Summary: Scouted trail for blowdowns between Low Gap north to Abingdon Gap shelter and sent pictures. Performed usual shelter maintenance: cleaned gutter, picked up trash, shoveled fire ring, replaced shelter log. Moved and tossed many smaller limbs and branches from trail as we walked.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 01/14/2020
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Gayle Riddervold and Becky Kinder
Summary: We sawed and removed the big blow down that was 300 feet from the 321 trailhead and cut back some weeds and small branches.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 01/13/2020
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Gayle Riddervold and Becky Kinder
Summary: We hiked about a mile and half in from the 321 parking lot, cutting down one small tree, removing various branches, and picking up trash. There is a mid-sized tree on the trail, very close to the Shook Branch parking lot that we think we can remove the next time we do trail maintenance.

Reporting: Tony Messina
Date: 01/11/2020
Purpose: Blowdowns
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Tony Messina
Renee Messina
Summary: A fine but breezy day to be outdoors! Temperature in the 60's! We cleared a 14inch blowdown 1 mile south of Double Springs Shelter. Someone had partially cleared it with a handsaw to make the trail passable but further clearing was definitely needed. We also cleared a large combination 18inch/8inch blowdown blocking the trail about 0.5 miles north of the shelter. On the way out to the Osborne Farm we lopped some Rhodos and cleared some dead leaners along the way.

Most fun part of the day was Renee finding a set of car keys on the trail about 2 miles south of the shelter on our way back out to Osborne Farm. At the trailhead, we found a car that matched, hid the keys under a nearby rock, and left a note on the car to call us. Signed....'Your Full Service AT Trail Maintainers'. Got the call about an hour after we left....lucky guy from Johnson City was very happy.

Hours include an aborted trip out there on the day before. The USFS lock was installed incorrectly on the gate chain. Carl had the USFS correct the situation that same day. We also found a similar problem on the Low Gap gate at US421 crossing.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/10/2020
Purpose: Cherry Gap Shelter Design
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Carl Fritz, Bob Peoples
Summary: There was a bit of breakthrough in students attempting to design a replacement shelter for Cherry Gap. An email to the superintendent this week got a meeting today with Alex Campbell and Dusty Duncan. And they have a draft of a proposed design and materials list that they did previously and did not communicate. TEHCC volunteers will review the design and determine what next step is appropriate. We have one person, Dusty, who is the communication link at the High School. They are interested in spear heading the shelter construction once it is approved.