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The Blaze

Page history last edited by Pat Hensley 1 month, 2 weeks ago

THE BLAZE

Newsletter of the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club

Winter 2020 

 

Newsletter in .pdf form

 

 

New Bog Bridge South of Dickey Gap

 

 

MRATC RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES REPORT

There have been many well attended Friday and Saturday fun hikes this fall, with as many as 14 people hiking. Some beautiful fall colors were seen. Some highlights include hikes to Brumley falls, Roan Mtn, the Channels, and hikes on the Iron Mtn Trail and the AT. The new Mendota trail was explored by Friday hikers and soon will be hiked on a Wednesday also. Thank-you to all hike leaders: Judith Foster, Ann Maio, Jim Warden, Bob Sherrill, Marcia Pruner, Terry Walker, Maria Salgado, Carol Broderson, and Sharon Trumbley.

 

While we have had no potlucks this fall, we did provide drinks and desserts and snacks for our November board meeting and Partnership meetings.

FALL 2019 MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR REPORT

 

As of Thanksgiving day 2019, MRATC has 188 members, including PR or agency partner members. More than half of our members are life members, for which we are thankful. However, that means nearly half of members renew their membership yearly, and it’s getting to be that time!

If you receive a membership form with your Blaze, it means you need to renew your membership. We look forward to hearing from you all!

 

TRAILS REPORT

The focus of activity during the most recent quarter remained bridge related. In cooperation with the ATC and Forest Service a reroute was put into place in September to avoid the trail section containing the recently condemned Comers Falls Bridge. Instead, the trail now routes (north to south) from Dickey Gap down FS650 toward Hurricane Campground and then up the Dickey Gap Trail back to the AT. The total distance of the reroute is a bit over 1 1⁄2 miles. The length of time this reroute will stay in place is unknown, but the next step will be to demolish the existing bridge. When and how that will happen is to be determined.

 

The bog bridge, which had been pre-constructed during the summer, was carried to the site and installed on November 17th. The Emory & Henry Outdoor Club provided the muscle and the bridge was installed in about 5 hours. A hearty thanks to all involved! While the portion of trail including this new bridge is closed due to the reroute, it will be ready and waiting when the trail opens once again and allowed the work to take place with no hiker traffic passing through the site.

 

On the bear box front, during the fall boxes were placed at Saunders shelter, Lost Mountain shelter and the Scales. At this point there are food storage boxes throughout our trail section and no immediate plans to place additional boxes. During the fall we did not experience any troublesome bear encounters.

 

In September the club made repairs to the picnic table in front of Old Orchard Shelter, replacing the bench and table surfaces. The materials were carried in by hand from Fox Creek. Jim Warden took the lead on this project and the results are a major upgrade.

 

NATURAL RESOURCES REPORT

The Natural Resources Committee had a good season with over 10 outings and 20 rare plant reports. On our last outing on the Mt. Rogers Trail we found over 75 plants of Roan Mountain Rattlesnake Root (Prenanthes roanensis), most of them in bloom. This was our first definite sighting of the plant, and we plan to explore the Mt. Rogers Trail in the future.

 

With the help of the Forest Service and Connor McBane of the ATC, we are trying to address the problem of the rare plants that are adjacent to parking at Elk Garden being mowed by VDOT. There are plans for a new parking area but no available funding yet. Be careful to avoid plants when you park at Elk Garden!

 

If you would like to join our rare plant searches, contact Carol Broderson mtrogersatc@gmail.com _____________________________________________________________________________________________

On November 19, MRATC members, Mary Davis and Janet Gibbons, presented a program to two 4-H groups at the Abingdon 4-H center. They spoke about the work of the club along the trail, presented a lesson on Leave No Trace ethics, and facilitated an active educational game on Wild Turkeys.

 

MRATC ANNUAL MEETING

February 29, 2020 will mark the 60th anniversary of our trail club, which was formed on Feb. 29, 1960. It is also the date for our Annual Membership Meeting this year. Come and share an anniversary cake to celebrate! See the Activity Schedule in this newsletter for time and location.

 

As well as voting on the slate of club officers and board members and recognizing club members for volunteer hours of work on the Appalachian Trail, we will be voting on a change in the club’s bylaws.

 

The club has been trying a new leadership structure for the last two years, with a steering committee instead of president and vice-president. The Board discussed success with this structure in November 2018 and again in 2019 and voted to take it to the club membership at the Annual Meeting for a vote and a change in the language of the club’s bylaws from “president” and “vice president” to the names and functions of the steering committee coordinators.

 

The steering committee structure spreads responsibilities for overseeing trail work, natural resource monitoring, outreach, club recreational activities and representation to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy among several people, rather than centralizing it with the club president.

 

A copy of the bylaws with the suggested changes will be sent to club members by email about two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. Members who cannot attend will be welcome to vote by email. Club members who need a paper copy can contact Anne Maio (trailsamkm@aol.com; 276-475-5114).

 

REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP COMMITTEE

Regional Partnership Committee (RPC): The (spring 2020) Southern Partnership Committee meeting will be held at Hungry Mother State Park on 13-15 March. This is an opportunity for additional club members to attend this meeting and get a (big picture) view of the complexities involved in maintaining and protecting The Appalachian Trail. Issues likely to be discussed: 1. Safety on the trail including check in and check out procedures for members doing trail maintenance. 2. Sawyer training and general safety and training for volunteers during trail work-days. 3. Management of large visitor numbers in popular areas such as the Virginia highlands. 4. Safe food storage on the trail. RPC representative: Gerald Davis

 

CLUB T-SHIRTS

For those of you who expressed interest, we are exploring the possibility of ordering more club T-shirts, but since we would need to change vendors from the last time, it will take a while longer to arrange. Stay tuned for more information on this, as well as cost, in the weekly club emails when we have it.

 

Club members who worked on new picnic table at Old Orchard Shelter: Doug Levin, Jim Warner, Gerry Davis and Marcia Pruner.

 

Emory & Henry Outdoor Club members working on new Bog Bridge


 

 

Emory and Henry Outdoor Club members carrying lumber to Bog Bridge Site


 

Fun Hike at Hidden Valley Lake - Hike led by Marcia Pruner


 

 

 

 

 

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