The Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club (ODATC) is an organization of individuals and trail-related organizations who meet to recreate in the outdoors in various ways as well as act as stewards of a portion of the Appalachian Trail and the public lands it runs through. Our recreational endeavors focus on hiking in Virginia but includes biking, paddling and touring as well. While the majority of our events occur in Virginia our only true limits are what members wish to limit themselves to. Learn more
News Flash: A.T. ALERT FROM NFS PLEASE READ BELOW.
THE ODATC EXPERIENCE - CURRENT ISSUES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
ODATC Club Update For January 2021 From the President
I hope everyone’s holiday season and New Year went well. In this email to the membership, I want to provide an update from several of the board member positions from our last Board meeting. I have tried to keep everything concise and to the point and I hope you will find it useful.
Our plans are to have Zoom meeting programs for all the general membership in the months of February, March, April and May, and always on the second Tuesday of the month. Each zoom meeting will consist of a quick Club news update followed by an interesting speaker. Keep an eye on the calendar and look for future emails. If you have some good ideas on future club programs, please contact Janet Darden (email@example.com).
Trail maintenance will begin on the 3rd Saturday in March. Please report any trail damage on the ODATC section to Mark Heede (firstname.lastname@example.org). You are also reminded that if you’re doing any trail scouting please travel in pairs and have a check in and check out contact. Also, if you are interested in doing any trail maintenance please contact Mark Heede.
We have decided to continue day hikes for the present time. We just ask our club members to follow safety guidelines and use common sense. Hike leaders should also always consider the 10-person limit, but If more show up, just get creative. If you have any questions or interest in leading a hike please contact Art Ritter (email@example.com) or Alec Alexander (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Membership appears to be holding steady and the good news is that we picked up 43 new members. If you have questions about your membership, contact John Spindler (email@example.com). The club values our new club members and if any new or current members have any questions please do not hesitate to either ask either me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or our Vice President, Pat Doyle (email@example.com).
Our club is responsible for monitoring the property borders of our section of AT. The goal is to monitor the entire border on a two-year rotation. In spite of all the challenges last year brought, Karl Huber did a great job and got about half of it complete. Border monitoring can best be done during the winter months. If you like going off the trail and would like to help Karl, please contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Outreach and Branding
Club outreach was about nonexistent last year due to COVID-19, with a club presence at the Banff Film Festival the only event. The lack of events is allowing the board to re-evaluate the focus of our outreach and club branding which we believe needs some updating. This is where we need help from the club members. Outreach chair Theresa Duffey is seeking input and assistance from willing members to participate in brainstorming new approaches, social media, website, materials, audiences, and look at Club branding. There has been discussion of a need for a new club logo and developing a club patch. A wide range of creative opportunities exists. If you have some ideas, thoughts, or artistic talent that could help us with club branding, please contact Theresa Duffey (Taduffey2054@Comcast.Com).
Some final thoughts, please consider assisting with some of our volunteer activities. Hopefully by June, COVID-19 will be behind us and we can resume some group club activities again. I appreciate everyone’s patience and hanging in there with us. One last thing and this is not a club endorsement but from me personally. Please check out this cool website: thetrailhut.com which is run by one of our new board members, Evan Garrison. It is a consignment shop for trail gear in Richmond. What a cool idea.
President of ODATC
In the latest bid to lift the ban on mountain bikes in federally designated wilderness areas, the U.S. Senate is considering a bill to amend the Wilderness Act of 1964 which created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States and currently protects 109.5 million acres of federal land. Click here to read the full article.
Nelson County Parks & Recreation Announces Opening of New Trail
A New Book by
Is Now Available
Fellow ODATC member Leonard Adkins has a new book out for young readers, ages 9-13. Entitled All About the Appalachian Trail, the book is the very first one written for readers in grades 4 through 8 that provides a complete overview of the world's most famous hiking trail.
Leonard will donate a portion of the proceeds from each book sale to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
If your interested in learning more about the book or how to get a copy, please click here.
Remembering Hank Harman
Henry V. “Hank” Harman died on April 19, 2020 in Hyattsville, MD at the age of 94. He died peacefully in his sleep, no doubt dreaming of his beloved Appalachian Trail. Throughout his career as minister, anti-poverty program director, and public administrator, he always made time for hiking. To continuing the full obituary, please click here.
Updated COVID-19 Guidelines for A.T. Day & Overnight Hikers
While the Appalachian Trail Conservancy continues to recommend staying away from the Appalachian Trail, they understand that many individuals are considering hikes on the A.T. as their states' stay-at-home orders expire or shift to "safer at home" recommendations. In recognition of this highly dynamic situation, the Conservancy believes the scientific information has become clearer on how we can keep ourselves and those around us safe from COVID-19. Based on that science, the Conservancy is offering guidance that can be seen at their website. Please click here to follow the link to this information.
By MICHAEL MARTZ Richmond Times-Dispatch
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is dead. Abandoned by Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, the $8 billion project has reached a regulatory dead end.
The decision, announced Sunday, ends a six-year effort to build the 42-inch-wide natural gas pipeline through the heart of Virginia to connect gas shale fields in West Virginia with markets in southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina.
Click here to read the full article.
ATC Announces Voluntary Stewardship Agreement
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), The Conservation Fund, and Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC (MVP), announced a voluntary stewardship agreement that will advance the Conservancy’s mission to manage, protect and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. As part of the agreement, MVP has committed up to $19.5 million for use by the ATC to conserve land along the Trail corridor and support outdoor recreation-based economies in southeastern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. Through this agreement, the ATC and its partners will be able to enhance the A.T. hiking experience, protect thousands of acres of high-priority land, and provide support to local recreation-based economies in the region. Please click here to see the full news release.
It Pays to Increase Your Acronym Power
Have you ever sat at one of the ODATC meetings when the policy wonks are going full throttle throwing out acronyms as if they were born knowing them? Well, you too can be an acronym wizard! Please click here to see a comprehensive list of acronyms that you can use to simultaneously astound and numb the brains of everyone around you!
Last weekend (Feb. 20-21) was very busy with 2 Search and Rescue (SAR) operations on the A.T. in the Glenwood and Pedlar Ranger Districts, due to extremely hazardous icy conditions. Thankfully both rescues were successful with no major injuries. Both occurred near the James River, with one in the James River Face Wilderness and the other north of the river. As you can imagine, these SARs taxed the local fire and EMS personnel as both were all day operations.
As a result of these events, the National Forest Service in the North River and Lee Ranger Districts, will be posting signs at the main trailheads where there are known extremely hazardous trail conditions. The signs will be posted as of Saturday, February 27. See below. As you can imagine, the various counties that participated in the SAR’s this past weekend were pushed to capacity with the extractions that were conducted. They expressed concerns in regards to the conditions not only for the public, but for their volunteers that had to perform these rescues. The National Forest Service (NFS) would like to be proactive in order to minimize these dangerous situations until warmer weather and safer conditions return.
The NFS will be updating the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest (GWJ) website to educate the public on the conditions out there and would greatly appreciate anything the AT clubs and their members can do to help spread this message. The signs will read as follows:
Trail Conditions ahead may be Icy and Slippery
Even though there may not be snow and ice here, higher elevations and shaded sections of the trail may have hazardous conditions.
If you are unprepared for these conditions, then please turn back. For more information on hiking conditions or alternative recommendations, please call Glenwood and Pedlar Ranger Districts at:
(540) 291-2188; (Monday- Friday, 8:00 – 4:30)