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: Ken Murray
Date: 09/26/2016
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Summary: Finished summer vegetation control near shelter. Ate lunch at shelter-very clean. Much better than last time. Met 3 SOBOs who were very glad spring at shelter was running well.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 09/24/2016
Purpose: Prep shelter for painting
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Kat Johnson, Kim Peters
Summary: The purpose of this trip was to scrape and clean the shelter prior to painting this week. We hiked out with wire brushes and scrapers and spent several hours cleaning off old paint and spiderwebs. This will allow the paint crew to start painting as soon as they arrive at the shelter and hopefully shorten an otherwise long day.
We met a southbounder planing on spending the night and he complained about all the blowdowns between Iron Mt. Shelter and Vandeventer. There were also many entries in the log book with similar complaints. One entry stated that it was the worst section of trail maintenance-wise that he had seen in 1700 miles. So while the work done by SAWS from the road to the shelter was phenomenal, there are still more problematic blowdowns out there from the storm in July.
There is water at the shelter, but the spring 3 miles north of Wilbur Dam Rd. is almost dry.
We met many hikers and backpackers out enjoying the fine weather.

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 09/25/2016
Purpose: Section Maintenance
Section: 15a: Carvers Gap - Cloudland Hotel
People: Joe DeLoach and Allyson Ross
Summary: Picked up trash (not bad) and placed a new register at the Roan High Knob Shelter. Whacked a few blackberries along the way.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 09/22/2016
Purpose: Inspect trail; remove trash
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Jennifer Baird, Emily Pons
Summary: Removed trash from campsites and parking area; noted no further trail damage around rock cribbing near creek.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/22/2016
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 15b: Cloudland Hotel - Hughes Gap
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Jim Chambers, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Brian Paley, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart
Summary: It was a day of mid 80's in lowland and highest it was here in the Roans was 60. We saw about ten section hikers. Some hikers are taking the old trail to cut some of the switchbacks and we brushed those in again. We placed rocks to define the trail where some steps were being avoided. We added a few steps especially at bottom of a staircase where many feet had compressed the soil and now the first step was eighteen inches. Overall, this section of trail is in very good shape.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 09/20/2016
Purpose: clear blowdowns
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Phyllis Cairnes, Kim Peters
Summary: On the last trip to this section, two blowdowns were found which were left for a later time. This trip was to clear those blowdowns. The first was just south of the shelter and consisted of a large dead tree which had pinned a rhododendron under it when it fell. We cut the limbs of the rhododendron and shifted the dead trunk enough to make the trail passable. We also cleaned up around the shelter, dismantling yet another fire pit in the camping area. The picnic table has again been moved to the middle of the camping area.
The second blowdown was mostly the top of an oak tree blocking the trail. Nine cuts of the 3-8" limbs were required to clear this obstruction, but 20 minutes later the trail was clear.
We only met one other hiker on this beautiful day.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 09/17/2016
Purpose: 3rd Saturday Hiking with Tools
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Ed Oliver, Phyllis Cairnes, Kayla Carter, Chloe Denton, Rolla Wade, Ken Murray, Chuck Klein, Tim Stewart, Kim Peters
Summary: What a great 3rd Saturday Hiking with Tools trip this was. We had a great turnout and the weather could not have been better. After the tortuous trek to Moreland Gap shelter, we split into two groups with Tim, Chloe and Chuck heading to the Canute place with loppers and swing blades to lop and weed that 2.4 mile section of trail while the rest of us cleaned up and painted the shelter inside and out. This graffiti filled shelter was cleaned and painted and the trash around the shelter was picked up. We met two section hikers who mentioned problems at the 19E crossing stating that the blazes had been painted over with red paint and signs removed to obscure the trail. After we got everyone back to their cars in Roan Mt. Ed and Kim headed to the trail crossing at 19E to check out the hiker's complaints. We could not find anything wrong and concluded that those hikers had lost the trail at 19E, perhaps because the weeds were so high at the road crossing and had walked up Buck Mt. Road, seeing red boundary markings on tress and interpreting them as painted over blazes.
All in all another great 3rd Saturday outing. A great big thanks to all participants, especially to the to first timers, Chloe and Chuck.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 09/16/2016
Purpose: Replace shelter log book and check on blowdowns/problems
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: I thought by mid-September the temperature might be at its 79F historical norm, but the day reached 91F and humid by the afternoon. Started at outfitter blue blaze heading north. Removed several small blowdowns with hand saw, but left three larger diameter ones which are easily stepped over or passed under. All three are before second bridge (less than 0.7 mile) on an easy walk if a club sawyer would like to clear them out.

Other main purpose was to replace the CMG shelter logbook, which was full. For reference, the two 70-page logbooks provided will just cover a year being filled at an Aug-Aug page rate of 4-9-12-7-3-4-2-14-31-34-14-3-4 over the past year. (Replace next late March 2017.) The peak for this section is mid-April which appears to be a month in for NOBO thru-hikers. From what I can tell, at least 140 folks spent a night in the CMG shelter during the past year with eight being the largest group recorded. Poor weather or a NERO due to late start from the Erwin hostel are the common reasons for staying. This trail section has three routinely used campsites along the Jones Branch with better water supply than the shelter which was just a trickle flowing because of the hot, dry weather.

Two trail deficiencies were documented for the regular maintainers to possibly rehab over the winter (since lower elevation). First is just north of the second bridge where the Jones Branch and campers sliding down to the stream are eroding into the trail path. Ideas are welcomed, but formal rock or locust steps might be need to harden the trail edge and provide a defined path. The other problem is severely sloughing sidehill on the upper part of the steep ascent. Four 20-30’ sections were photographed for reference. Any improvement would be greatly appreciated.

An upcoming trip will need to bring a swing blade to knock back the dog hobble in several places along the trail in the bottomland, and the fire rings can be broken up for the year. Otherwise, this section is in very good condition.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/15/2016
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Brian Paley, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We finished the rehab to within a half mile of the summit. It was 72 here while lowlands were 92. We finished the rock step staircase. We added a number of water diversions above and below the steps. Also, we did a lot of trail smoothing and cribbing nearer FS230 road access.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 09/13/2016
Purpose: Mow Camping area
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed the camping area and weed eat the trails as needed. Limed the Privy and picked up trash.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 09/13/2016
Purpose: Mow Trail
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery4
Summary: Mowed and weed eat the accessible trail and the AT across the Osborne Farm as needed

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 09/10/2016
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Brian Schloff
Summary: Checked the trail for blowdowns (only found one small one) & used loppers & a swingblade to knock back the surprisingly few briars. Removed a moderate amount of trash from the barn. Dispersed the 2nd fire ring that has shown up at the rocks on Little Hump & the ever recurring fire ring on top of Little Hump. Yet another camping impact site is starting on the bald (in addition to the expansion noted last work trip). ATV's are still accessing the trail between Overmountain & Stan Murray - lots of use on the FS roads on the TN side. Lots of day hikers, overnight backpackers & dogs out for the nice weekend.

Reporting: Dean Baird
Date: 09/11/2016
Purpose: Inspect trail section
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Dean Baird
Summary: Removed trash and replaced some cribbing rocks at the section where trail has rock and log cribbing immediately beside creek. Someone had apparently removed some of the larger rocks and thrown them over the cribbing near or into the creek.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 08/28/2016
Purpose: clearing blowdowns
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Two trees were across the trail less than 1/4 mile south from the road. Three cuts. Quick work. The drive and the cutting were both electric (LEAF, Greenworks). No fossil fuels involved. just inconvenienced a few electrons.

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 09/08/2016
Purpose: weed cutting
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter
Summary: I finished cutting the weeds on the section, the last parts being slow work because quite a bit of limb & shrub lopping was also necessary. Also I placed a new shelter register & carried out some trash.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/08/2016
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Ed Oliver, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We continued the rehab effort south of Unaka Mtn. It sure seems that this trail should outlast most of us, because we are having to use so much rock. We only encountered one north bounder today. She was primarily looking for water and we were able to provide her some. There probably are four or five more work days in this general area. Some of us also checked out new foot bridge in Rock Creek Recreation Area.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 09/07/2016
Purpose: Sharpened saw
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Paul Benfield
Summary: Sharpened Carls trail maintenance saw

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 09/07/2016
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Picked up trash at the trail head and cleared around all the water bars. At the first water bar there was a very long tree that had blown down on the trail. It took 2 separate cuts to remove it off the trail. We also cut some stinging nettle and thorny weeds.
Summary: All in all, the trail looks pretty good and the camp ground was clean as well.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 09/04/2016
Purpose: check shelter and trail
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Kat Johnson, Kim Peters
Summary: We hiked out to check the shelter and trail. We dismantled a few fire pits along the way and picked up associated trash. There is a blowdown which is mostly the top of a tree blocking the trail about 1.5 miles in with a well worn trail around it. Will save this for a later time. It can all be cut with a hand saw, but cutting all those small limbs would take a longer time than allotted for today. Picked up limited trash at the shelter and cleaned out the fire pit which was full of shot gun shell casings. Thankfully, someone had moved the picnic table back up to the shelter (it was out in the camping area). Dismantled several fire pits in the camping area and picked up trash. The water is flowing at the spring but there is a blowdown just south of the shelter which we also left for another day. It is easily negotiated and can also be taken out with a hand saw.
The offerings continue to grow at the Grindstaff Monument with beads, crosses, flags and now for some reason a large pile of kindling. Thankfully, no fire pit though.
It was a wonderful fall-like day to be out in the woods and we met many hikers and backpackers out enjoying the trail.

Reporting: Phyllis Cairnes
Date: 09/05/2016
Purpose: shelter maintenance
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Kim Peters, Rolla Wade, Phyllis Cairnes
Summary: We were pleased to find this recently painted shelter still looking nice. The graffiti board was written on but the walls were not; so far this is working. There were a couple of hikers at the shelter today and a fire going in the pit. We noticed a huge active hornet's nest hanging from a limb fairly close to the shelter. Smoke from the fire pit was probably keeping the hornets at bay. We picked up trash, broke up two nearby firepits, and checked the logbook (new one not needed). Kim's dog, Tigger, seemed to enjoy Labor Day on the trail as did the rest of us.

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 09/01/2016
Purpose: weed cutting
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Richard Carter
Summary: I cut weeds along most of the remainder of the section, so that one more trip to cut the rest should require just one more short day.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 08/27/2016
Purpose: ATC Volunteer Leadership Conference, August 26-28, 2016
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Kayla Carter
Dan Firth
Vic Hasler
Summary: APPA/ATC again provided fundamental training to the trail-maintaining clubs at the National Conservation Training Center (Shepherdstown, WV). The conference strengthens the skills of volunteer leaders through presentations, activities, and networking to learn the roles and how the various partners function and interact. Overall, TEHCC handles well its historic responsibilities of maintaining the Trail and facilities, monitoring the adjacent lands, and providing information regarding the Trail for ATC publications. During this conference, we also gathered some different best practices and insights for our club to consider.

A significant topic was ensuring relevance of the A.T. to a population with changing demographics in order to maintain continued support by future generations. This situation requires meeting them where they are in regard to interests. Commitment happens in phases: 1) Exposure, 2) Experiences that build connection, 3) Support to ensuring its future, and 4) Active engagement. TEHCC could benefit from having more upfront interaction with new members to find out their interests and how to link them to upcoming activities. Our involvement with college students will evolve away from large group events, but could continue through their outdoor clubs to handle some annual maintenance tasks and/or small projects. Communication outside the normal club recreation channels (maybe at outdoor stores, trailhead kiosks, local parks, newspapers) could inform the public about the regular maintenance opportunities to allow some area folks to join in because of their interest.

Another key topic for discussion among the trail-maintaining clubs was managing the trail experience in the face of increasing use, including human-animal interactions. How to address “hot spots” of extremely popular locations where overuse threatens the resource, such as the Roan Highlands.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 09/01/2016
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Ted Mowery, Brian Paley, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: Part of crew continued working trail south towards Deep Gap by rehabbing trail with rock and some locust. Part of crew went almost to Unaka Mountain peak on trail to redo a series of rock steps with larger rocks. With the thunder approaching about 2 PM, we retreated rapidly to vehicles. It was suggested that getting hit with lightning on the tallest mountain in the area would not demonstrate much wisdom.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 08/30/2016
Purpose: Maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed and weed eat the camping area and trails at the Shelter. Removed trash. The gravel road from the pavement to the locked gate was graded.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 08/30/2016
Purpose: Maintenance
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed and weed eat the AT and Accessible trail as needed. Cattle have been on the Accessible Trail recently. All cattle were removed and the fence had been repaired along the lane and the cattle were in the field at the lane now.

Reporting: Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards
Date: 08/21/2016
Purpose: Logging out
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Lauren D'Amato
Chris Robey
Sina Varshaneh
Matthew Baker
Emily Dishongh
Kathleen Murphy
Summary: The crew spent August 22nd to August 26th on the AT in Big Laurel Branch Wilderness clearing blow downs from the large storm in July 2016. The crew cleared 2 miles of trail from 1.5 miles south of Vandeventer shelter to .5 miles north of Vandeventer. They removed 23 trees and 15 crowns with crosscuts and axes.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 08/23/2016
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Club: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Jim Chambers, Mark Dibble, Greg Kramer, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Brian Paley, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe, "Seiko", Students: Derek Manger, Charles Baran, Graham Weaver, Brooke Waterman f, Jarod Landry, Jack McCabe, Patrick Graska, Bryn Harris f, Lea Kelty f, Alyssa Wallwey f, James Bakos, Sebastian Terrill, Austin Baker, Evan Wilson, Hannah Thompson f, Hiker Jim
Summary: Wright State University students continued their annual outing and joined the club for a day of vigorous trail rehab. Everyone did some real nice rock work to improve about 540 feet of trail. Jim Chambers and Seiko greeted, socialized and fed them supper at Kincora Hostel.

Reporting: Gerald Scott
Date: 08/20/2016
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 12b: Walnut Mountain Road to Sugar Hollow Creek
People: Kevin Sedgwick, Ken Murray, Harold Wexler, Gerald Scott
Summary: Because of the good turnout for the 3rd Saturday Hiking with Tools, we were fortunate to have the help of Kevin Sedgwick and Ken Murray. The Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road group that we teamed up with (see Kim’s report for Section 12c) let us out at Walnut Mt. Road and took our vehicle around to the other end of the section at the Elk River. Thanks to Ted Malone and Steve Wilson we found the section to be free of blowdowns except for a few new 4-6” blowdowns that were easily removed using the Silky saw. We cut the viny growth with a string trimmer, aggressively clipped back lots of rhododendrons and painted the blue blazes down to Mountaineer Falls. We found the shelter to be in relatively good shape accept for a toilet tissue nest left by a mouse and a plastic container of markers which we carried out. We cleared an attempt by campers to build a large fire at the upper tent camping area. When we got about a mile from the end of the section, the warm muggy day turned into heavy rain. We finished the trail in the rain and made it back to the car waiting at the river.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 08/29/2016
Purpose: Remove blowdowns
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: Mike Holingshead, Bruce Darby, Jim Foster
Summary: Mike, Bruce and I cleared two blowdowns between Hughes Gap and Clyde Smith Shelter. The largest one was left over from several weeks ago due to our Maine hike.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 08/27/2016
Purpose: clearing trailside overgrowth
Section: 20a: Nolichucky River to Temple Hill Gap
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Starting at the south end of Temple Hill ridge, I proceeded north, clearing the brushy trailside overgrowth with a string trimmer for about 1/2 mile or so. Small trees across the trail near the south end and north end of the section were cleared with a hand saw. There are 2 large trees near the road at the north end that I'll have to come back for with a chainsaw. Passed two south-bounders going from Damascus to Springer.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 08/27/2016
Purpose: Shelter Cleanup
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Lotta Murray
Sammy Willard
Summary: Cleanup up trash in fire pit and in shelter. The trash in fire pit and unburied toilet paper around were the worst we have seen. There must have been some very messy people recently.

Reporting: Tim Stewart
Date: 08/27/2016
Purpose: gps section and remove pin flags
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Tim Stewart
Summary: Hiked out to the relocation to make a GPS track and to remove excess pin flags. Did not notice any left behind tools.

Returned the Nature Conservancy key on Friday.

Reporting: Tim Stewart
Date: 08/20/2016
Purpose: check section and clear rhododendrons
Section: 11b: Canute Place to Bitter End
People: Tim Stewart
Summary: Hiked from Bitter End for about 3 hours lopping rhododendrons. The trail looked good.

Reporting: Faye Guinn
Date: 08/27/2016
Purpose: clean water bars--check trail
Section: 16b: Greasy Creek Gap to Iron Mountain Gap
People: Howard Guinn
Faye Guinn
Summary: Picked up trash at the trail head parking--looks like someone had a beer with his happy meal and then left the trash by the road.We cleaned out the 30 or so water bars--long overdue!!! and cut one 8 tree from the trail. Checked the spring --running very small stream of water--next time in we will have to remove the pipe and check it .A family was camping at top of hill just before the orchard--orchard too overgrown for camping. Howard spoke to the maybe 6 year old boy and he told us if we needed water there was a blue blazed trail on down the trail that if we followed would take us to water.We thanked him for the information.--Faye

Reporting: Scotty Bowman
Date: 08/22/2016
Purpose: Shelter Clean up and brushing
Section: 7: Vandeventer Shelter to Wilbur Dam Rd
People: Scotty Bowman
Summary: I hiked into Big Laurel Branch to do some brushing, clean up the shelter and replace shelter journal. SAWS had a crew in that was working on removing blow downs and this section should be clear now. The SAWS crews have done some great work on this section over the last month since the July storm.

I brushed out around a mile and half of trail, removed two smaller blow downs, cleaned out two water bars and brushed out around a couple of larger blow downs so the crew could come in and saw those out. The shelter was pretty clean and picked up minimal trash and cleaned out the fire ring. On the way out I removed a campsite and fire ring that was located pretty much on the trail.

I couldn't have picked a better day to do this, low humidity, no rain, temperature in the mid eighties and slight breeze. Not a bad day for a 10 miler.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 08/26/2016
Purpose: Continued revision of TEHCC Local Management Plan
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: The ATC Comprehensive Plan calls for the trail-maintaining clubs to have Local Management Plans to capture the policies and procedures adopted for stewardship of their assigned section in cooperation with agency partners. TEHCC made an extensive update in late 2014 which was circulated for review by the partners during the following year. Based on the feedback and further collection of relevant supporting documents, another revision has been generated for reference.

Reporting: Garry Luttrell
Date: 07/11/2016
Purpose: Cut weeds
Section: 15b: Cloudland Hotel - Hughes Gap
People: Janice and Garry Luttrell
Summary: The plan was for Janice to spot me at Cloudland then drive the van to Hugh's gap. After she saw the curvy road, she didn't want to drive on it.

Reporting: Garry Luttrelllo
Date: 08/22/2016
Purpose: Paint blazes
Section: 15b: Cloudland Hotel - Hughes Gap
People: Janice and Garry Luttrell
Summary: It was a great day to be on the Roan, after all the rain the previous week. We painted from top to bottom, and painted the blue blaze trail to water at Ash Gap.

Reporting: Bill Hodge
Date: 08/19/2016
Purpose: Evaluate and address several down or broken off trees at the Laurel Fork Shelter
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Bill Hodge, David Cohen
Summary: We removed four trees down around the Laurel Fork Shelter and across the trail near the shelter using a cross-cut saw. We also used a grip-hoist to bring down a broken hazard tree in front of the shelter. We studied and planned for a return trip to remove tree and large limb that are on top of the shelter. We were joined for the day by Watauga District Recreation Program Manager Alice Cohen.

Reporting: Ken Murray
Date: 08/22/2016
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 20b: Temple Hill Gap to Spivey Gap
People: Ken Murray
Lotta Murray
Summary: Routine summer vegetation maintenance

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 08/21/2016
Purpose: Section Maintenance
Section: 14a: Doll Flats to Bradley Gap
People: Joe DeLoach
Summary: Spent a long wet day whacking back stinging nettle and other annual growth between Doll Flats and the open area of Hump. The upper half towards Hump was particularly overgrown. Trail is now clear.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 08/20/2016
Purpose: Routine Maintanance
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Gayle Riddervold and Becky Kinder
Summary: We cut a small blow down close to the Dennis Cove Parking Lot and physically removed another small tree that was hanging across the trail. As we got near the trail that goes down to Laurel Falls, a tiny baby cub crossed our path and ran up the hill. Luckily we didn't need to use the bear spray because we never encountered the mother bear. We continued onto the blue trail where we spotted 2 blow downs that were too big for us to cut. Some thorny weeds and stinging nettle were trimmed back on the way to the shelter. When we got to the Laurel Falls Shelter there was still a big tree that had fallen on the back of the Shelter. As far as we could see, it did not cause any structural damage to the Shelter. Before returning to the parking lot we cleaned up trash from 2 fire pits.

Reporting: Pat Loven
Date: 08/19/2016
Purpose: Return borrowed USFS helmets
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Pat Loven
Summary: Returned helmets to the USFS Work Center that the Club borrowed for the ASU outing on the 12th.

Reporting: Kim Peters
Date: 08/20/2016
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 12c: Sugar Hollow Creek to Campbell Hollow Road
People: Kayla Carter, Stacy LaBare, Phyllis Cairnes, Jordan Peters, Kim Peters
Summary: What a great turnout for this 3rd Saturday Hiking with tools trip. We were able to split into two groups and cover two sections (see Gerald's report for section12b). After a complicated scheme of getting the shuttles set up, this group started at the Elk River and worked towards Campbell Hollow Rd. We cut the weeds along the river using a string trimmer and removed a rather large blowdown at the stile. We clipped lots of rhododendron and dog hobble, cleaned steps and removed several smaller blowdowns along the way. We left two blowdowns that will require a larger saw, the first is a 10" diameter dead hemlock about 0.25 mile south of the stile that is sticking out into the trail just enough to cause hikers to walk on the outer edge of the trail causing damage to the treadway. It could probably be removed with a silky saw. The second is about 1 mile north of Campbell Hollow Rd. it is 12-14" in diameter and will require a chainsaw. It is passable, but again causing treadway damage as hikers climb around it.
A big welcome to the two first timers on this trip, Stacy LaBare who traveled from Greeneville to join us and Jordan Peters who willingly carried and used the string trimmer the whole way. Thanks for your hard work!

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 08/15/2016
Purpose: TEHCC A.T. Committee
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Dan Firth, Kim Peters, Bob Peoples, Carl Fritz, Tim Stewart, Ted Mowery, Vic Hasler, Steve Perri
Summary: The agenda and lively conversation filled the two-hour period to cover many topics relevant to regular maintenance, future projects, and club policy. This trip report summarizes a few for general sharing through the newsletter. Successful efforts have continued to improve the Backbone Rock access trail (with Konnarock Crew) plus the A.T. in the Old Ridge Road section (with 121 ASU students and staff!) and up on Unaka Mtn. Abingdon Gap shelter was painted. Ted Mowery recognized as volunteer of the month in The Register and on ATC website. Severe storm on July 9th storm caused many blowdowns across the A.T. Laurel Fork Shelter is closed because two oaks and a locust are resting on the roof with a hazard tree hanging overhead. Being a technically challenging situation in a wilderness area, USFS will have to address with their expertise using manual tools. SAWS dispatched two six-person crews to clear the trail in the Big Laurel Branch Wilderness, and will return in late August to continue working north. After some complaints were received regarding briars, the club sent crews to address trouble spots, particularly between the split to Grassy Ridge and Stan Murray Shelter. The privy at Overmountain Shelter will need to be moved again in Spring 2017. The accessible section at Osborne farm has been repaired, but will need further work to sustain, such better crusher rock and mechanical compaction. Virginia Creeper Trail might be able to provide some guidance. Jim Chambers agreed to be on the Roan Mtn A.T. Community panel, which is expected to submit their application soon. It was noted that Danny Harper, Wes Ford, Lori Mirrer, and Carl Belcher are new folks who have attended multiple maintenance events over the past year, thus thank them for their participation. Secret for recruiting has been having a direct contact. Local management plan will be updated to reference SAWS and Old Timers Hiking Club as partners with designated trail sections. Konnarock crew leadership did not provided written inventory updates which could be filed for the ongoing trail valuation. ALDHA is hosting an event on Columbus Day in October 2017 partnering with Virginia Highlands community college (no football conflicts!) and Damascus, which is an approach the ATC Vista (biennial) might want to consider. Inquiry about performing trail maintenance in Bays Mtn Park noted that our primary focus is on the Appalachian Trail. Club is not interested in being sole organizing force for events, but recommends that an assessment be done to determine top priorities within the park, which then specific projects could be developed to recruit volunteers from overall membership.

Reporting: Joe DeLoach
Date: 08/18/2016
Purpose: Roan Naturalist year end review
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Joe DeLoach
Summary: Joined Keith Kelley and Alice Cohen from the Watauga Ranger District, National Forests in North Carolina Biologist Gary Kaufmann, Matt Drury from ATC, Marquette Crockett from SAHC, and 2016 Roan Naturalist Eric Rayfield for his year-end review. The Appalachian RD hosted the meeting but none of their personnel attended. In general over the last four years the Pisgah NF has had less interaction concerning the Roan Naturalist than has the Cherokee NF. Eric's season went well and he was given good marks for his positive interaction with visitors and messaging. Eric focused on the high use balds between Carvers Gap and Grassy Ridge, and though he frequently visited the shelters he did not make it a practice to visit each of the three shelters in the Roan Highlands every week. I supported him for this focus, and agreed to provide suggestions for areas in which to concentrate throughout the season next year. Use spikes around Memorial Day which has the highest number of backpackers for the season, and during the rhododendron bloom on the balds in mid- to late June. Eric's season started a week earlier than that of past ridgerunners, the weekend before Memorial Day, to give him a week of experience prior to the throngs of the holiday weekend. All agreed that this was desirable but the season did not need to start earlier than that. His bent avens surveys found the highest concentrations where the old AT crosses the relocation between Grassy Ridge and Stan Murray Shelter, with few plants very far off the Trail. Eric said in general that thru-hikers were considerably less impactful to the Trail than some overnighters and day hikers. For example, in his last week two idiots, evidently wife and husband, were observed carving their name with a Dremel into the rock at the summit of Grassy Ridge and when told that they were causing a permanent impact to a natural feature they replied "don't worry, we're almost done." Earlier a church camp picked a full bouquet of Gray's lilies because it was more important for them to have the rare flowers for one day than for the public to enjoy and for the plants to propagate. All agreed that the Round Bald relocation and the fee charged at the Roan Day Use Area had substantially increased visitor use and impact to the balds. Campfires, mainly from overnighters on the balds, continue to be impacts, with rare plants near rock outcrops being damaged. Addressing such impacts primarily falls to the Appalachian RD and their lack of participation in the meeting limited discussion and possibility for action.

Reporting: Richard Carter
Date: 08/18/2016
Purpose: cut weeds
Section: 14c: Stan Murray Shelter to Carvers Gap
People: Kim Peters, Kevin Sedgwick, Carl Fritz, Richard Carter
Summary: We cut weeds and briars, mostly between the junction with Grassy Ridge Trail and about a quarter mile south of Stan Murray Shelter, and did a little identification work on one of our rare and endangered plants, geum geniculatum.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 08/18/2016
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: John Beaudet, Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Jim Chambers, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: The crew continued some good rehab work adding 17 steps and a lot of sidehill. They alertly were watching radar on cell phones and abandoned work site about fifteen minutes before the rain started.

Reporting: Brian Paley
Date: 08/17/2016
Purpose: Cut weeds
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Brian Paley
Summary: Cut back VERY overgrown weeds and multi-flora rose bushes between Shook Branch and Forest Service gate. Also cleared 4 blow downs around Watauga Lake.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 08/16/2016
Purpose: Trail Maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Paul Benfield. Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed and weed eat as needed of the camping area at Overmountain Shelter and trail to Privy and water source. Installed a post and water sign where some hikers were getting confused. Repainted all water blue blazes. Removed all trash. We feel the Privy needs to be replaced prior to the thru hikers coming thru next spring.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 08/16/2016
Purpose: Trail Maintenance
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Mowed and weed eat the Appalachian and Accessible trail across the Osborne Farm as needed. Forest Service got a good kill on the last spraying of the trail. There has been a good rain since we did the maintenance on the erosion at the stiles and they seemed to have held up good. Someone filled most of the gullies in the lane at and near the accessible parking area only one rut remains.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 08/16/2016
Purpose: Clean Hard Hats
Section: 4b: Double Springs Shelter to TN91
People: Carl Fritz, Ed Oliver, George Thorpe
Summary: We primarily cleaned hard hats from recent ASU outing.

Reporting: Craig Haire
Date: 07/12/2016
Purpose: clearing blowdowns
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Craig Haire
Summary: Cleared several medium to large blowdowns, leaving a very large one south of Laurel Fork shelter. Met several day hikers.