It's a busy time of year in Virginia on the Appalachian Trail! Long distance hikers are passing through, Trail Club volunteers and the Konnarock Crew are hard at work, and A.T. Communities are celebrating the Trail. Read on to find out what's new!
Hardcore Hits the High Country
2017 Hardcore is a wrap, and we got a lot of work done. People Power! The 17th year of the program that enables current year thru-hikers to get out on the A.T. completing trail work was a success, even with less-than-perfect weather.
When the clouds part, it's hard to complain with the views from Buzzard Rocks, on the western slope of Whitetop Mountain. For the second year, MRATC hosted Hardcore on their section, with Konnarock trail crew alumni volunteers acting as deputy crew leaders to work with and alongside 2017 thru-hikers and previous Hardcore participants - completing sorely needed drainage and erosion-checking rehab projects.
With the help of 29 volunteers who contributed 608 volunteer hours, the crew:
Huge thanks to TEHCC (Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club), MRATC (Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club), Konnarock Trail crew volunteers, the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, andALDHA (Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association) - all of your support and help made this year's Hardcore a success!Next Gen Membership
- installed 78 rock steps and 6 rock waterbars
- crushed 51 sq ft of rock
- rehabbed over 400 ft of A.T
ATC is excited to introduce Next Gen Membership for those between the ages of 18-30. Next Gen Membership offers an opportunity to become an ATC Member at a reduced rate based on your age. The way this pay-your-age plan works is that for an annual membership, those between the ages of 18-30 would pay a rate equal to their age. If you're 25, your rate is $25, if you're 30, your rate is $30. This continues until you turn 31, when you’ll move to our standard membership fee of $45. It’s that simple.
Full benefits of Next Gen Membership include:
- Pay Your Age instead of the standard $45 membership fee
- Subscription to the electronic version of A.T. Journeys, our quarterly member magazine
- NextGen decal
- Premium 4-foot long Appalachian Trail map
- Discounts in the Ultimate Trail Store
- Access to the NextGen Facebook group
- Invitations to exclusive events, hikes and other activities
Best of all, you’ll know you are doing your part to protect an irreplaceable national treasure - the Appalachian Trail!
To become a Next Gen Member, Join or Renew.
For more information, contact the ATC Membership Department at email@example.com
Update on the Proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline
The following is an excerpt of an op-ed in the Roanoke Times by ATC's Virginia Regional Director, Andrew Downs. You can find the full op-ed here.
In less than seven weeks, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could give the nod to questionable plans Mountain Valley Pipeline has proposed. These plans have been rolled out in a way that prevents the public from adequately understanding the effect of major infrastructure on local communities and the world-famous Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
Like all pipeline proposals that traverse more than one state, Mountain Valley Pipeline is required to present a plan to FERC for public review and comment. FERC’s responsibility, in turn, is to evaluate the plan on need, safety considerations, community and environmental impacts, and other factors. FERC is also charged with addressing public concerns.
Visual Simulation of impacts from the Mountain Valley Pipeline
From the outset, when [Mountain Valley Pipeline] laid out plans to transport natural gas for more than 300 miles through Virginia and West Virginia, the problems with the routing were apparent and grievous because of inaccurate and incomplete information. What the company has since added to their plans is downright disrespectful to the legally-required public engagement and review process.
Therein lies the rub. Since September 2016, when MVP published its draft plan for a 90-day public review (which closed December 22), the company has added nearly 16,000 pages of additional information to their proposal. Sixteen thousand pages.
What all that added information means to the pipeline proposal is a mystery. The added information has not been entered in context, and there is little reference to what it all means. FERC can and should require the pipeline company to go back, sort out and integrate – not simply append – all the information it has added. That is essential to ensure good decisions and make certain that routing does not gravely damage private and public lands. Clear and accessible information about the impacts of this project is our public right.
The ATC invites your participation in requesting that FERC requires MVP submit a new document, a supplemental environmental impact statement, which puts more than 16,000 pages of information in context. When that new plan is submitted, we hope the company presents a plan that balances energy infrastructure needs with our mountain heritage, the preservation of our communities and the Appalachian Trail.Play, Clean, Go
More information on the ATC's position on the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline can be found here.
Although day hikers, backpackers, and maintainers may not all be directly involved in non-native invasive species (NNIS) management along the Appalachian Trail, everyone plays an integral role in the spread of invasives. The A.T. itself acts as a pathway for NNIS spread, and A.T. visitors and volunteers should be wary of the hitchhiking seeds that they are shuttling. NNIS seeds cling to boots, clothes, gear, tools, and vehicles--which allows invasive seeds to spread from trailheads to forest interiors. Please help protect native plants and animals by following these easy steps:
- REMOVE plants, animals & mud from boots, gear, pets, & vehicle.
- CLEAN your gear before entering & leaving a recreation site.
- STAY on designated roads & trails.
- USE CERTIFIED or local firewood & hay
To learn more about non-native invasive species on the A.T. and how you can get involved please visit http://appalachiantrail.org/ or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you so much for your help in protecting the unique biodiversity of Appalachian forests.
Introducing: Conservation Leadership Corps 2017
ATC's Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) is up and running for 2017! The CLC is a group of motivated, diverse young people interested in careers in conservation. 6 members were recruited through a partnership with Groundwork USA, a national network of organizations which offer young people in marginalized communities opportunities to improve their environment, serve their community and explore career opportunities in the environmental sector. Khidhar McKenzie, an ATC intern from the Conservation Trust of North Carolina, will also join the corps for much of the 12-week season.
2017 marks the second year for the CLC program. This year's corps will be led by CLC Coordinator Natrieifia Miller and Field Coordinator Jeremiah Roy--both of whom were part of last summer's inaugural CLC season. The Corps met up for the first time in late May and is busy with training, orientation and natural resource work in the Great Smoky Mountains. We'll be excited to welcome them to Virginia in July for a Leave No Trace Master Educator course and a week of working with the Konnarock Trail Crew!
Join us for Troutville Trail Days!
Troutville Trail Days: June 2-3
The 6th annual celebration will feature favorites such as live music, vendors from near and far, the Hiker Hustle 5K race, and plenty of food, fun, and services for long distance hikers and community members of all ages.
Crash! Boom! Lightning!
Whether you're heading out on the Trail for an afternoon picnic, a volunteer work day, or a 2000-mile journey, the chance of thunderstorms goes up in the summer. Click here for some tips from NOAA, and remember the 30/30 rule: if you see lightning and hear the thunderclaps follow in less than 30 seconds, take precautions immediately. Do not resume work or hiking in exposed area until 30 minutes after storm activity has passed.
An incomplete list of precautions to take on the Trail:
- Find a low spot away from tall trees, wire fences, utility lines or other elevated conductive objects. Make sure the place is not subject to flooding.
- If in the woods, move to an area with shorter trees.
- If only isolated trees are nearby, keep your distance twice the tree height.
- If in open country, crouch low, with feet together, minimizing contact with the ground.
- Don't group together with others, and don't stay on ridge tops, in wide open areas, or near ledges or rock outcroppings.