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: 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.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/09/2020
Purpose: Check Trail
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Bob Peoples
Summary: Bob had a few small blowdowns that he could remove with a hand saw. One locust step needs replaced going from river north to shelter. Maybe need another step on staircase. Hardware cloth beneath sleeping platform is cut again. High water trail has two trees down but hikers can get around. It also needs some side logs. A couple of signs are needed and will be communicated to Steve Perri separately.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 01/09/2020
Purpose: Cut rhodos and blowdowns
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Phyllis Cairnes, Carl Fritz, John Jones, Greg Kramer, Elzear Lemieux, Pat Loven, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Kim Peters
Summary: With little snow to conflict, we tackled rhododendron and the few blowdowns. North of Moreland Gap Shelter were many dead rhodos and trees from the wildfire 3 years ago. We tried to cut many of those way back so they would not fall onto trail. We tried to also cut back the living rhodos but did not complete the last couple of miles north of Bitter End. We made a path through a major root ball that had buried most of the trail about 0.2 miles south of Canute Place. We met one south bounder. He is an Alaskan so he is enjoying the mild weather.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 12/29/2019
Purpose: First Aid-CPR-AED training
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dean Baird
Joe Morris
Summary: Joe and I completed an American Heart Association First Aid-CPR-AED training class. This was a very good class and also served as a prerequisite to ATC Chainsaw Certification.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/31/2019
Purpose: Rehab Shelter
Section: 3a: McQueen's Gap - Spring 2.3 miles N of Low Gap
People: Carl Fritz, Tony Messina
Summary: We cleaned several water diversions up the initial southern climb from McQueen's Gap. Fortunately, we only carried in the one piece of lumber, 4x6, that we ended up using. We had to make about three trips back to truck for more tools. We moved the right front corner in about two inches and lifted that corner some by putting rock supports under it. We planted the 4x6 about 18" deep and set it upright in the corner. Then we used long screws to fasten it to many of the logs. The shelter still has some life left in it.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 12/29/2019
Purpose: Check for blowdowns
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Lotta Murray
Summary: Removed blowdowns. Cut back Rhododendrons

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/27/2019
Purpose: Rehab Trail
Section: 15b: Cloudland Hotel - Hughes Gap
People: Paul Benfield, Carl Fritz, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart
Summary: Some of the locust steps close to Hughes Gap were moving because stakes had frost heaved out of place. We reset stakes and fastened them with screws to the logs. Trail as far as Beartown Mountain is still looking good. We redug several areas and added rock or log cribbing. We cut four small blowdowns and dropped a leaner that was taking out the trail. Water source is in good shape. We added a couple of water signs to make it more obvious. Wild hogs had been in the area of water as well as near the trail in a number of places.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 12/23/2019
Purpose: cover exposed trail
Section: 19a: Indian Grave Gap - Curley Maple Gap Shelter
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Did a club hike 12/21 from Chestoa to Indian Grave Gap and was pleased to find some excellent treadway rehab of 100 yards or so at the north end of the section. I was NOT pleased to find the work unfinished, as we trudged through sticky, nasty mud. So I came back with a fire rake to do what should have been done, covering the exposed mud with leaves and light duff, as we were trained to do on Konnarock & Rocky Top crews. Mother Nature would eventually do this, but not for 10-11 months.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/20/2019
Purpose: Cut blowdowns and rhodos plus rehab evaluation
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Tony Messina, Bill Murdoch, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart
Summary: Greg was aware that a number of mostly stepover blowdowns had collected. He must have cut 30. Some were quite large. We also cut back many of the encroaching rhododendron. We checked all water sources which are doing well. Greg cut out blowdowns on the water trail south of Iron Mountain Shelter. We evaluated the AT south of Iron Mountain Shelter for relocation or rehab. Rehab is the best choice and we found many rocks and locusts near.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/19/2019
Purpose: Rehab Trail
Section: 19a: Indian Grave Gap - Curley Maple Gap Shelter
People: Dean Baird, John Beaudet, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Van Hovey, Greg Kramer, Elzear Lemieux, Tony Messina, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kevin Sedgwick
Summary: With a half inch of snow and temperature eventually getting to 30 we were able to continue the trail rehab. We installed a number of rock steps, cut out some roots, or buried roots, busted up protruding rocks in rock field and buried some of those rock fragments with soil. We were able to remove an 18" limb by making one ten inch cut with a Katanaboy saw and maneuvering the pieces off trail. The two miles south of Indian Grave Gap is in pretty good condition now.

Reporting: Tony Messina
Date: 12/14/2019
Purpose: Evaluate Possible Accessible Trail Improvements
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Tony Messina
Summary: Over the past several months, at Carl’s request I have been researching improvements for the accessible trail section on Osborne Farm. I reviewed all of the articles he had accumulated on trail surface materials and dug around the internet to find others. The accessible treadway was installed in 2006 as a graveled surface with geotextile underlayment and much of the 0.5 miles has held up reasonably well. However, several problem erosion areas have also appeared. I consulted with Ted Mowery and Paul Benfield, who have mowed and repaired that section of trail and parking area for many years. I also consulted with Ed Cwirko, a retired civil engineer who is also a TEHCC member. A proposal was developed to concrete pave the problem areas of the trail and vehicle parking/entrance to prevent erosion and enhance safety and usability. It was also proposed to widen the remainder of the trail with gravel/geotextile to minimize the frequency of mowings. Carl has forwarded the proposal to the ATC and USFS for comment and to seek funding. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the coming months.

Reporting: Scotty Bowman
Date: 12/09/2019
Purpose: General maintenance
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
Summary: It started drizzly but cleared up and I was able to return to the car before the wind gusts picked up. I hiked in to clean out the 2 waterbars that are located about 2.75 miles in. Along the way, I cleared to blowdowns: a 24" and a 6".