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: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/18/2014
Purpose: Trail Rehab
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Mike Hupko, Greg Kramer, Pat Loven, Eric Middlemas, Joe Morris, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart, Jack Tarlin
Summary: We did some larger remaining rehabs between Indian Grave Gap and FS Rd 230. Old Timers had already done some major rehab near the gap. We removed some rooty sections, dug trail back on hill, buried roots with sidelogs, and installed some rock steps and cribbing. We cut several large dead leaners and cleaned the water diversions. This section is in reasonably good shape going into the winter.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 11/18/2014
Purpose: Provide input to Pisgah National Forest Plan Revision
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: On behalf of TEHCC, comments were developed and provided on the proposed Pisgah National Forest Plan Revision. The plan is divided into Management Areas with stated components for Emphasis, Desired Condition, Goals, and Standards. Input was given for those adjacent to the A.T. between US Hwy 19W and Elk River designated for Roan Mountain, Appalachian Trail, Forest Habitat Diversity, Restoration and Connectivity, and Backcountry. Changes in the management standards can affect such aspects as roads, timber, and utility crossings. The comments provided were focused on protection of the natural resource and viewshed, while allowing low-impact recreation. The letter was sent to Kristin Bail, Forest Supervisor of National Forests in North Carolina.

Reporting: Steve Perri
Date: 12/16/2014
Purpose: AT Biennial Task Force Call
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Steve Perri
Summary: We had our first call last night among the assigned regional reps to begin planning for the 2017 biennial meeting to develop a recommendation of how the meeting can be structured to be more alligned with ATC's new strategic plan. We basically agreed we needed to conduct a survey to more fully assess what is important to members. Our major concern is that we tend to just attract attendance by clubs and members interested in hikes and workshops and therefore don’t get enough new members to attend. We believe there is an optimum survey length and Julie Judkins is helping get that info. So we have been asked to develop a list of potential survey questions which will then help direct some of the recommendations of what to consider changing or staffing differently.

Reporting: John Robbins
Date: 12/14/2014
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: John Robbins
Summary: Returned to remove two larger blow downs remaining from last maintenance. Cleared trail of other fallen limbs. Trail looks good.

Reporting: Jim Foster
Date: 12/13/2014
Purpose: Attend wilderness first aid class
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Jim Foster
Summary: I drove to Soak Ash Creek, which is on the edge of the GSMNP, and attended a Wilderness First Aid course to help improve my first aid skills on work trips especially with sawyers. It was a good class and I picked up a lot of new information.

Reporting: Bob Peoples
Date: 12/14/2014
Purpose: Remove blowdown
Section: 8: Wilbur Dam Road to US321
People: Bob Peoples, Jack Tarlin
Summary: Bob and Jack removed a couple of small blowdowns near Oliver Hollow Road. Blowdowns had brought down a lot of greenbrier and vines. They had insufficient bandaids for the greenbrier skin tears.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/11/2014
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Carl Fritz, Greg Kramer, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart, George Thorpe
Summary: We continued to try to repair the bad area along Laurel Fork. It is a major challenge with the steep sloping rocks with limited footholds and springs which bring water down the rock. We filled the large locust crib that we placed last time with rock plus crushed rock. We added another 24 foot long 12 inch locust as a second crib. Moving the locust required about three hours for five of us. We did get the locust pinned and back filled with mostly rock. Many more large rocks were moved carefully down the hill to the trail. We will need many more.

Reporting: Burts Compton
Date: 11/22/2014
Purpose: Remove trash
Section: 17: Iron Mountain Gap to FS230 switchback
People: Burts and Sam Compton
Summary: While waiting for pick-up after a previous section hike with BSA Troop 48, the large amount of trash down the steep hillside was observed. To complete service hours for the 50-Miler Award associated with a Philmont backpacking trip, Burts and Sam returned to this trailhead to pull out over a dozen large garbage bags of debris, eight tires, and a badly deteriorated and rusted bus seat - complete with springs, vinyl upholstery and seat belts. TDOT was contacted to haul away the trash pile from the parking area.

Reporting: Phyllis Cairnes
Date: 12/08/2014
Purpose: shelter maintenance
Section: 2b: Abingdon Gap Shelter to McQueen's Gap
People: Kim Peters
Phyllis Cairnes
Summary: Kim brought her handsaw and cut a small fallen tree so we could move it off the trail. We noted another one just south of McQueen's Gap about 8 inches in diameter that will require cutting with a larger saw. At the shelter we picked up trash and lots of Dr. Enuf bottles, cleaned the frozen mats of leaves out of the gutter, shoveled out the fire ring, and replaced the journal. It has been noted this shelter needs new guttering. Kim's dog, Chipper, accompanied us and seems to love picking up and moving small limbs and sticks. Good dog!

Reporting: Faye Guinn
Date: 11/09/2014
Purpose: clear trail
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Jeannine Edwards
Tim Shipley
Summary: Jeannine was leading a hike on this section on Monday and so she and Tim made a trip on Sunday with saw and loppers with the intend to be sure the trail was clean for her hike. They cut and removed several small blow downs.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 12/07/2014
Purpose: Update TEHCC Local Management Plan
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: The ATC Comprehensive Plan calls for development of Local Management Plans to capture the policies and procedures adopted by individual clubs to oversee their assigned trail section in cooperation with agency partners. The last revision of this document for TEHCC was made in 2006. Since October, an extensive update has been underway to provide the current trail status and vision to assist the club leadership. It is anticipated that further modifications will be made until the file is reviewed with the SORO RPC and agency partners in late March and early April. In subsequent years, a brief examination of the plan will hopefully be sufficient to maintain its relevance. Please contact me if you would like a chance to review and provide input.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 12/04/2014
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Pat Loven, Joe Morris, Ted Mowery, Bill Murdoch,Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart
Summary: We redug a switchback and added 100' of cribbing plus three steps. Also, we dug 60 feet of sloughing trail. We cut out a large blowdown and reviewed some planned relocations in area. It turned out to be a drizzly and wet day but temperatures were moderate.

Reporting: Gayle Riddervold
Date: 12/02/2014
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 13: US19E to Doll Flats
People: Gayle Riddervold & Becky Kinder
Summary: Today we went in about a mile to check the conditions of the trail. All the water bars were full of wet leaves. We cleaned out over 25 water bars, picked up numerous beer and soda bottles at the Trail Head, and sawed a few small stumps that were sticking out on the trail.

Reporting: scott alan
Date: 11/30/2014
Purpose: General maintenance
Section: 12a: Bitter End to Walnut Mountain Road
People: scott
Summary: cleaned campsites and picked up hiker trash, took out two blowdowns, cut overhanging low laurels. Placed rocks in trail where muddy and dug out sidehill bank along laurel fork creek. A nice warmer day to melt accumulated snow,

Reporting: Gerald Scott
Date: 11/22/2014
Purpose: Routine Fall Maintenance
Section: 12b: Walnut Mountain Road to Sugar Hollow Creek
People: Gerald Scott, Harold Wexler
Summary: Lopped back rhododendrons and removed several small blowdowns and lots of limbs brought down by the recent snow. Dug out steps and cleared water ways. Swept out shelter and carried out trash.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 11/29/2014
Purpose: Aggressively address rhododendron in Jones Branch
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler, Clark Hasler, Burts Compton, Sam Compton, Eric Layne, Alex Layne, Mike Callahan, Nick Chavez
Summary: Four parent/scout pairs were recruited from Troop 48 (primarily completing service hours for 50-Miler Award or Camping merit badge) to heavily trim the thick rhododendron and remove fallen logs from the trail in the Jones Branch bottomland. Per maintenance standards, the one and half foot of brush along each side of the open tread was mostly removed with loppers and hand saws to prevent future problems after winter storms or high wind. This aggressive removal will allow the two foot per year growth rate to fill out the edges by summer when the rhododendron is in bloom. While there is still another mile of trail north of the switchbacks to the shelter to be addressed, this section is mostly ready for the winter.

Reporting: Steve Perri
Date: 11/18/2014
Purpose: AT Committee Meeting
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Steve Perri, Vic Hasler, Carl Fritz, Tim Stewart, Kim Peters, Ted Mowery, Paul Benfield, Ed Oliver
Summary: General Business.
Vic Hasler was elected new AT Committee Chair. Steve Perri is heading to Raleigh, NC for a two year assignment. Steve will stay as RPC rep – and keep his maintenance section. Relo projects for 2015: 1) Konnarock: 2015 location is likely the furthest remaining relocation south of TN 91 (on Iron Mt) using all four weeks. Steve and Carl will develop the paperwork to submit to ATC; 2) ASU: planning for south of TN 91 on Cross Mt relocations; 3) Hardcore: primarily rehab between power line below Doll Flats to Hump Mt. We will likely spend day 1 near Hump Mt and day 2 below Doll Flats; 4) Backbone Rock – lower priority, so it may possibly be a future Konnarock project. TEHCC Special projects: Wilder Mine camp sites and Laurel Fork bridge repair. NEPA paperwork might require survey in June-August timeframe for campsite, thus it may not be available for 2015 peak season. The design and purchase of materials for two Laurel Fork Bridges (no construction until 2016). We will participate in a Wilderness Review process to assess the scope and compatibility of potential changes to the bridge materials or design – we will coordinate with Alice Cohen for this. 3rd Saturdays – general maintenance and possibly shelter repainting; perhaps consider scrubbing as a first test.

AT Trail Assessment.
Reviewed presentation created by Matt Robinson (NPS) for how the process works now and what might be done to improve estimates and funding. Steve Perri counter proposal is to submit a bridge, shelter, and a trail section. For Koonford bridge we know the purchase costs ~$6,500 and 2,631 hrs. Costs were a little higher than expected for Koonford due to additional pier support and other supplies. We will see if we can apply for funds from the ATLP to cover the additional material costs of about $1600. We discussed the ATC Strategic Plan Update. Reviewed one pager on AT.org website. Steve Perri is on a task force looking at the 2017 biennial and general approach given the new focus areas of the ATC strategic plan.

Local Management Plan update.
Vic has tackled updating the LMP since the 1987 official release and 2006 last partial revision. The following topics were discussed: A) Trail Campsite List for Group Sites and/or Multiple Tent Sites. Committee recommends we not adopt a policy for group sites. We will however maintain a list of locations that accommodate options for overnights stays with space for more than 1 tent site. B) Committee confirmed the official name of “Mountaineer Falls” Shelter, thus ATC information (data and guide books, interactive map) will be updated in future publications. C) Removed reference to “White Rocks Firetower” from shelter table as this location is not of interest due to being too close to roadway. D) Current format for Annual Maintenance Plan is the “TEHCC Major AT Projects” list assembled by Carl, thus most recent version can be referenced in the LMP. E) Bridges – A useful effort would be to gather good digital photographs and bridge size measurements into AT Committee SharePoint folder. F) Partner list was pulled out into two separate tables. The ATC Southern Region Directory is a good reference source. G) Still need to obtain more of the agencies agreements to make the LMP complete. Action plan continues to be developed with general policies/ideas to help guide ongoing leadership.

General Announcements.
• Pisgah National Forest Revision Plan & ATC Strategic Plan Update
• Roan Stewardship Meeting
• Status of “Just Jim” hike – The Steering Committee may discuss funding at end of year budget resolution
• B-310 Tool room – Need a responsible Eastman employee or retiree to maintain.

Reporting: George Thorpe
Date: 11/22/2014
Purpose: Wilderness First Aid Training
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: George Thorpe
Summary: ATC sponsored Wilderness First Aid Training Nov. 22 and 23 in Franklin, NC. George attended this two day training to be better prepared on AT maintenance outings.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 11/25/2014
Purpose: Remove half dozen blowdowns
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: John Beaudet
Vic Hasler
Summary: Several blowdowns were removed, including a pair of hanging 16-18” diameter trunks roughly mile north and south of Curley Maple Gap shelter. Fallen brush was also cleared between Indian Grave Gap and the outfitter. The half dozen waterbars and channels south of the shelter were cleaned. Only three backpackers were seen on the trail today.
After lunch, John went to work on his house, while Vic returned to finish lopping the remaining quarter mile south to finish the section from the outfitter to the river for this year. More very old trash was hauled out from around the campsite near the neighborhood.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/25/2014
Purpose: Flag Relocations and Do Trail Rehab
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Carl Fritz, Mike Hupko, Ed Oliver, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters
Summary: We covered much of the trail from the 230 switchback to Beauty Spot Gap. Two relocations are needed to eliminate very steep and rooty trail. Each adds a switchback but eliminates other trail turns. There is also a need to rehab especially just south of the 230 switchback. There is plenty of rock to move and for building steps and cribs. We did 220 feet of significant trail rehab at Beauty Spot Gap.

Reporting: John Robbins
Date: 11/22/2014
Purpose: Routine Maintenance
Section: 3b: Spring to US421
People: John Robbins
Summary: Cut out/removed many blow downs 4-8", cleared a lot of limbs that had fallen on the trail, and cleaned all waterbars. Spring is running well. Trail is in good shape. Picked up trash from both trail heads at 421.

Reporting: Bill Murdoch
Date: 11/21/2014
Purpose: Koonford Bridge Build
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Bill Murdoch
Summary: Bill added some needed cable clamps to tie individual major components in case the bridge is ever washed out. This should be the finishing touch to this bridge.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 11/21/2014
Purpose: More uphill side brush removal
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Brush trimming was completed on the center quarter mile of trail half way between the Nolichucky River bridge and outfitter during the sunny afternoon. This part of the trail could also use some rehab in short stretches to address sloughing debris, which was slightly challenging to walk upon under the bed of fallen leaves. Next work on this specific portion will approach from the south to address the rhododendron along the sidehill relocation.

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 11/21/2014
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Summary: Picked up a small amount of trash at the barn & replaced the register. Cut out 4 blow downs (8-10" size) & removed numerous limbs that had fallen on the trail. Cleaned all waterbars & rolling dips. Removed a new fire ring that had been constructed near Overmountain Trail. Trail was very muddy & slick, but overall in good condition. Still a good bit of snow on north slopes near Bradley Gap. All springs were running well. Met 3 SOBO hikers who were planning to stay at the barn.

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 11/21/2014
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Summary: Picked up a small amount of trash at the barn & replaced the register. Cut out 4 blow downs (8-10" size) & removed numerous limbs that had fallen on the trail. Cleaned all waterbars & rolling dips. Removed a new fire ring that had been constructed near Overmountain Trail. Trail was very muddy & slick, but overall in good condition. Still a good bit of snow on north slopes near Bradley Gap. All springs were running well. Met 3 SOBO hikers who were planning to stay at the barn.

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 10/09/2014
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Summary: Picked up a moderate amount of trash at the barn & Bradley Gap campsites, cleaned up blue blazes from barn to trail, blue blazed spring at Bradley Gap, removed limbs from trail. Saw numerous day & section hikers & 1 SOBO. All springs are running well.

Reporting: Lynn DiFiore
Date: 10/09/2014
Purpose: Routine maintenance
Section: 14b: Bradley Gap to Stan Murray Shelter
People: Lynn DiFiore
Summary: Picked up a moderate amount of trash at the barn & Bradley Gap campsites, cleaned up blue blazes from barn to trail, blue blazed spring at Bradley Gap, removed limbs from trail. Saw numerous day & section hikers & 1 SOBO. All springs are running well.

Reporting: Mike Hupko
Date: 11/21/2014
Purpose: Clear reported blow downs
Section: 18: FS230 switchback to Indian Grave Gap
People: Howard Guinn, Mike Hupko
Summary: We cleared two reported blow downs and removed four other trees partially blocking the trail which were not reported. Cut many low hanging branches over the trail and picked up trash at one campsite.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 11/21/2014
Purpose: Measure third trail relocation south of Little Rock Knob
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Yet another relocation was opened in this section on November 8, 2014 with assistance of the ASU Trail Crew. Measurements taken today found the new 1,385 ft. route addresses the tread erosion versus the prior 685 ft. path. The trail distance from Little Rock Knob highpoint to the Clyde Smith shelter sign is 1.2 miles, thus adding another 0.1 mile to the 0.2 mile previously reported back in August. Shelter was found in good condition with eight entries in November. A bit of trash was hauled out from there on a fast walk back to truck through inch snow.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/20/2014
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 10: Hampton trailhead to Dennis Cove Road
People: Paul Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Richard Carter, Carl Fritz, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Kim Peters, Tim Stewart, Lindsay Fleming
Summary: We continued our work on the sloping rocks beside Laurel Fork and before junction with AT. We gathered many rocks and locust side logs. More will be needed. With much sweat in cold weather, we significantly improved another 80 feet of trail.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/13/2014
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 9b: Pond Flats to Hampton trailhead
People: Paul, Benfield, Ken Buchanan, Carl Fritz, Ted Mowery, Kim Peters
Summary: We started rehabbing the trail on the sloping rocky area beside the stream before the intersection with the AT. With rock cribbing we made good progress on the end closest to Hampton. More remains to be done.

Reporting: Vic Hasler
Date: 11/14/2014
Purpose: Remove uphill woody growth
Section: 19b: Curley Maple Gap Shelter - Nolichucky River
People: Vic Hasler
Summary: Trail maintenance can be therapy – refreshing after several days of working through some frustrating paperwork. I completed a few yard jobs at home to “warm up” to the just below freezing temperatures, and then decided to go ahead with plans to work on the woody growth trail south of the outfitters. Removed anything uphill the loppers could reach, and then went back through to take out very small pines and two step-over blowdowns with a small axe so that the trail path centerline will be followed instead of walking on the lower edge. A knit cap under the hard hat was sufficiently warm – except when the hat fell off and bounced 150’ down the steep hillside to rest at the cliff edge. The forest blocked the cold breeze and spitting snow, so I was able to thoroughly cover the 0.5 mile distance to just past the 9” blowdown, which opened up the trail corridor. I’ll need another afternoon to address the 0.5 mile north of the railroad tracks, while BSA Troop 48 is scheduled to work the section from the outfitter to the shelter on Saturday, November 29th.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/13/2014
Purpose: Rehab trail
Section: 9b: Pond Flats to Hampton trailhead
People: Richard Carter, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Bob Peoples, Tim Stewart
Summary: The crew rehabbed about 120 feet of trail on south side of Pond Mountain to improve some very poor trail.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/11/2014
Purpose: Assess trail
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Bob Peoples, George Thorpe
Summary: We assessed trail condition from power line above Wildermine to open area on Hump Mt. There are many rooty and sloughing areas that need to be addressed by redigging or mostly installing locust logs and backfilling. There are several rocky areas that need improving. We removed some minor broken rhodos and other obstructions and we installed a missing step. The location of these problems have been recorded by GPS.

Reporting: Carl Fritz
Date: 11/08/2014
Purpose: Dig Relocation and Cut Blowdowns
Section: 16a: Hughes Gap to Greasy Creek Gap
People: John Beaudet, Jim Chambers, Robin Dean, Jim Foster, Carl Fritz, Joe Morris, Bill Murdoch, Rhee Patrick, Bob Peoples, Mike Price, John Robbins, Kevin Sedgwick, Tim Stewart, Jack Tarlin ASU TRAIL CREW Ben Banick, Hali Burbridge f, Jeremiah Bolick, Kati Jean VanElten f, Trevar Gagnon, Maggie Phipps f, Meghan Walker f, Walter Mingiedurff, Robert Alvis
Summary: A cool but sunny day to complete the last major relocation on this section. This was started by Konnarock, continued by Wright State University and completed by ASU Trail Crew. Six of the nine from ASU were first timers. And all stayed the evening at Kincora with a pasta dinner cooked by Baltimore Jack. We were able to do an excellent job of finishing this relocation and opening it. We were also able to cut all the blowdowns from Hughes Gap to Clyde Smith Shelter thanks to our sawyer, "Just Jim", who is leaving on his one year warrior hike. This section should be clear of blowdowns. A number of our tools were repaired and sharpened after much use recently.

Reporting: Steve Perri
Date: 11/10/2014
Purpose: Attend Roan Stewardship Meeting
Section: Other (Meetings/preparation/etc.)
People: Steve Perri
Summary: The meeting of the Roan Stewardship Council was held at the Pisgah USFS office in Mars Hill. This group meets twice a year to share info on activities and programs associated with the Roan Highlands. My report is focused on items pertaining to the AT to hit the highlights. Good news on acquisitions in that a new piece of property near Carvers Gap is being acquired and another is being donated. Another tract near Yellow Mt is also being acquired. Several monitoring programs are underway including: rare plants, flying squirel, golden-winged winged warblers, invasive plants, and feral hogs. John Odell reported the intent to have more signage trail north of Carvers Gap for improved hiker education and to reinforce LNT principles. There was general agreement to do this and to perhaps articulate the need to encourage use of only existing designated fire rings and to not create new ones. John Odell shared higher impact measures from expanded use at Roan High Knob. Possible confinement or containment can be achieved by iceburging or stringing areas. Next meeting is likely to be a whole day to cover topics in more detail next year.

Reporting: Paul Benfield
Date: 11/08/2014
Purpose: Dig trail
Section: 5: TN91 to Iron Mountain Shelter
People: Paul Benfield, Ted Mowery
Summary: Relocation completed except for blazing and tying in each end of the relo. Dug around 75 feet of sidehill and removed all deadfalls and fallen limbs from the new relo.