The Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club

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. 

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NEWS FLASH!  Blue Ridge Parkway Closings in July.  Click here for details

Upcoming events


Help Wanted:  ODATC Section Maintainers and Section Maintainer Floaters

ODATC Section Maintainers are an elite group of individuals who have adopted a section of the AT or blue blaze trail between Rockfish Gap and Reeds Gap.  Being a section maintainer is an important and satisfying way of contributing personal time and effort in helping maintain and protect our wonderful trail resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations.  ODATC is looking for volunteers to help fill section maintainer vacancies or to be a section maintainer floater.  A floater would not have an assigned section but would be willing to go up and help the section maintainers.  Floaters would be added to the section maintainer email list to be made aware of maintenance opportunities.  If interested in any of these positions, please contact Lori Ando at lla040322@gmail.com.  

Your Help Needed Today on Mountain Valley Pipeline Proposal

The Mountain Valley Pipeline proposal is one of the greatest threats the A.T. has faced in decades.

On Friday, June 23, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will hit another milestone in the application process, as it will announce whether or not it approves of the current pipeline route and construction methods. Over the next week and a half, it is important that Virginia's A.T. clubs and supporting groups register their deep concerns about a proposal that, if approved, would cut down thousands of acres of forest, carving a corridor the width of a 12-lane highway that will be viewable from the A.T. for over 70 miles.

For your club's consideration, I have attached a template letter which can be modified: a commentary recently published in the Roanoke Times that provides good background information about the project and commentary from ATC's Virginia Regional Director Andrew Downs. Feel free to share these materials and encourage other groups to submit their own letters — even a short paragraph or two would be helpful. All letters should be sent directly to FERC Secretary Kimberly Bose

at kimberly.bose@FERC.gov.

In addition, please forward copies of your letters to Lynn Davis (ldavis@appalachiantrail.org) and Andrew Downs (adowns@appalachiantrail.org), as we will then send copies to Virginia's congressional members and other influential decision makers. Your support for the A.T. and its surrounding communities will help add to the growing voice against this misguided pipeline project and in support of America’s wild spaces and thoughtful energy infrastructure development.

Ron Tipton
President / CEO
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Andrew Downs Commentary

Template letter to FERC

Diane Christopulos Commentary

To Be or Not to Be an Old Woman Walking

By Lisa Bagby

I like to think that it began on Spruce Knob in West Virginia. Climbing the observation tower where we gazed over the miles of mountaintops was a prelude to what we would experience. My survey across the landscape included the ruffus-sided towhee, the temperature of the wind, and the realization that this was the beginning of a backpacking trip, but also an answer to a call that has echoed within me as long as I can remember.

If I may digress, my calling to ramble, trek or stride got underway with my first memories of walking everywhere our mother needed to go. Our homeland was a small town organized around a central square where streets radiate north, south, east and west in a fairly regular grid. Everywhere we needed to go was within walking distance. Our destinations included school, church, the grocery store, the telephone company, the library, shoe store, bakery, movie house and drug store. Though I longed for a bicycle, I didn’t long for a car. That was my mother’s issue, and rightly, an important one for her. I, being just a nymph, (the immature insect, not the mythological spirit) could not appreciate the real significance of this missing element. Our aunts would visit and we would go for rides. Their new cars were a source of much excitement. (We will never forget aunt Dolores’ Thunderbird.) Our mother’s sisters were proud of their cars. After all, a young woman owning her own car in the 1950’s, what a thought: young women plus freedom and financial success - really? But, for this little girl, the car was not essential, though in due course one of our own did sit in our driveway. In my childish world, we managed without shame or self-consciousness to take care of all of our needs without a vehicle. Besides, if I wanted speed, I had my roller skates.

Our trek from Spruce Knob began on the Huckleberry trail, a surprisingly beautiful encountered. We moved through a dense spruce forest. The sunlight that could penetrate was golden. The needles and leaves muffled our steps.  On the surface it was nothing extraordinary, but in my mind it was just that. I was doing this, walking with a pack on my back, into the backcountry of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.

Eventually our path carried us out of the shade of the spruce to dazzling meadows with dramatic views of steeply angled panels of flowering grasses crisscrossing against dark wooded ridges. There was also no mistaking that we were on the descent. An irregular narrow trench or ditch of a path lead us foot over foot across the brilliant fields. It was one of those times when just do-the-best-you-can, could be felt in the knees.

Perhaps being blinded by the brilliance of the meadows I started to think that this torturous line had not realized its potential. In fact, I thought that it had missed it true calling. And what would that calling be you ask? Why, art of course! Wouldn’t yards and yards of apricot colored voile billowing from a clothesline be lovely? Maybe, at each post, there would be wind chimes. Perhaps the trench could be spray-painted (bio-degradable of course) and become a bright fluorescent line along the mountainside. Would the trench support a Wall-of -China built from legos? Would it make the Guinness Book of World Records? It is a trail to play with for sure.

After our march across the two meadows we reached the campsite. My step on its soil  was like the first gulp of a cold beer after a summer afternoon of hard labor. (Did I mention that the trench was also very rocky?) Next to the campsite the coolness of Seneca Creek spilled all over itself with alacrity. Just a stone throws away Judy Spring gushed out of its own slab of stone. My knees and legs felt worthless but the campsite seemed priceless.

Over the next two days we put behind us many more miles of trails. There was never any want for gorgeous scenery. Our walk-out on the last day was through a tunnel of fir trees and when my boot hit the pavement of the parking lot it was with a jar. What once was a beginning had become an end. It was an end though with an abundance of goodness behind it.

The ODATC Mission

The construction and maintenance of foot trails for hikers, including the Appalachian Trail between Reids Gap and Rockfish Gap.

The provision of excursions on such trails or other areas. 

Offering educational activities related to the need for preserving the great outdoors. 

Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club (c). 
P.O. Box 25283 
Richmond, VA 23260-5283
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