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Virginia Regional

August. 2018

We hope you've been lucky enough to catch a few cool mountaintop breezes or splash down in a swimming hole along the A.T. this summer! Check out what's new in our region: 
Good News For the Birds & Bees 

This summer, thanks to a generous donation from Kubota Tractor Corporation, open areas along the A.T. are getting a big dose of TLC. Kubota has donated the rental of a skid steer with a mower deck, and this impressive machine has been hard at work since early June in some of the most beloved areas of Central and Southwest Virginia's Appalachian Trail. 

While our region has a few traditional southern balds, most of our open areas are former agricultural land which would quickly grow up into forest if not managed. Not only do these areas provide the wide, sweeping views hikers enjoy, they also provide critical habitat for wildlife, including many threatened species. Open areas can be managed through controlled fire or grazing - but mowing is often the most practical option. 
With support from U.S. Forest Service personnel and some very dedicated A.T. volunteers, ATC's Natural Resource Specialist Conner McBane has put in some long days in the Sinking Creek Valley, on Peters Mountain, near Dismal Falls and Wapiti Shelter, and in Miller Cove. Management activities focus on removing encroaching hardwoods such as locust and cherry trees, while preserving species that provide important food sources for pollinators and other wildlife, such as milkweed, blackhaw and dogwood.   

Conner and the skid steer will be traveling around the region into November, making the most of this generous donation for the benefit of wildlife and hikers. Big thanks go out to all the trail club and USFS partners who have helped with this project, especially George Annis of the Eastern Divide Ranger District. And of course, thank you Kubota! 
Mount Rogers Camping Closure

ALERT for A.T. hikers heading to the Mount Rogers/Grayson Highlands area of Southwest Virginia:

Due to heightened bear activity, approximately 17 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, Grayson Highlands State Park, and surrounding National Forest lands are closed to overnight camping until further notice.

This closure order affects the A.T. between Elk Garden/VA-600 and Fox Creek/VA-603, including the three A.T. shelters in those 17 miles: Thomas Knob Shelter, Wise Shelter and Old Orchard Shelter. For more detail and recommended alternatives for long distance hikers, see the Southwest Virginia of ATC's Trail Updates page at www.appalachiantrail.org/updates.

Three Cheers for the Konnarock Crew!

 Hip hip, hooray! By jove, they've done it again.

The Konnarock Volunteer Trail Crew has completed another safe, productive, and downright exuberant season of major trail construction projects. In 2018, the two crews worked on 11 rehab and relocation projects identified by 7 trail clubs from Georgia to Central Virginia.

This season was unusual in that Konnarock volunteers got to paint a lot of blazes and improvise ribbon-cutting ceremonies when they finished 4 relocations: at Highcock Knob in Central VA, Brown Fork
Gap in NC, and at Gooch Gap and Justus Mountain in Georgia.

Other highlights included some highly technical rock work on the Sinking Creek Mountain Relocation project and Highcock Knob, and three weeks of major trail rehab in the Mount Rogers High Country. For all the technical details, plus the fun stuff, check out the Konnarock Crew blog at konnarockcrew.blogspot.com.

A few accomplishments worth bragging about from 2018:

140 Konnarock volunteers gave 7,152 hours to build

338 rock steps
over 900 cubic feet of rock crib walls
70 log steps
1,665 feet of new sidehill trail

And more!

To the 2018 volunteers and all the trail club and agency partners who make the Konnarock program possible: we can't thank you enough! Congratulations on all the beautiful, durable, sustainable trail that was built this year.

How To Hike the A.T. Backpacking Course

 The ATC is currently accepting applications for novice hikers interested in an educational and informative experience to prepare them for a long-distance hike. This 3 day /2-night led backpacking course in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area will help new hikers feel prepared to successfully hike the A.T. while gaining an appreciation for the outdoors, knowledge of the A.T., and exposure to long-distance hiking culture. 

Course graduates should leave this program as competent, responsible hikers prepared to accomplish their version of a successful A.T. hike. Note that the courses will be spending the two nights backpacking, rain or shine. This course will run with no fewer than four participants. Courses are limited to six participants, and spots will be tentatively reserved on a first come, first serve basis. Pending review, applicants will be chosen by ATC staff.  Cost of courses are $375 per person, which includes food and course materials. To apply, click here.

Watch the final myATstory video of Season 2 

We are excited to present the next entry in the myATstory series:  "Stay Together." 

How do you teach the importance of teamwork? For Saint B enedict's Preparatory School in Newark, New Jersey, the answer was simple: every freshman must take part in a five-day Appalachian Trail hike. 

For many of these students, this will be the first time they have stepped into the backwoods. For all of them, it will be an unforgettable lesson in working together, pushing their limits, and experiencing the great outdoors. 

To watch "Stay Together" today, view behind the scenes photos, and read more about St. Benedict's A.T. program, visit  myATstory.org 

Thank You, Molly! 

Since 201 6, Molly Hagan has been an invaluable member of ATC's Central and Southwest Virginia Regional Office as our Office Administrator. Whether she was planning a meeting, working on a special project, or collaborating with Crumbsnatcher on this e-newsletter, Molly brought a rare blend of warmth and professionalism to her work with the A.T. partnership. 

Molly is leaving ATC to focus on her thriving photography business. We'll miss Molly, but have no doubt we'll be seeing her out on the A.T. and other trails and rivers around Roanoke. Join us in thanking Molly for all her great work with ATC!

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In This Issue

Good News for the Birds & Bees

Mount Rogers Camping Closure

Three Cheers for the Konnarock Crew!

How To Hike the A.T. Course

myATstory: Stay Together

Thank You, Molly!

Crumbsnatcher's Corner


Contact Our Clubs







Crumbsnatcher's Corner: September is for Snackin'

Hi friends!  Crumbsnatcher  here. You know, I'm famously skilled at snatching up crumbs in A.T. shelters. But lately, there have been so many bear/human conflicts on the A.T. that I'm starting to understand why hikers should keep their food away from wildlife. 

I'm getting the word out to all my wildlife friends that there's lots of good stuff to eat that's less risky than hiker crumbs. Turns out, a lot of my favorite snacks are edible for humans, too! 

I thought I'd share some of my favorite things to eat along the trail in September. Remember humans, when foraging for wild edibles it's important to know local regulations. And while you can always go to the store for more food, we critters can't. Look for a big, healthy population of the plant you want to taste, and take just a little. Know what you're sampling, and if it's a rare or slow-growing plant, leave it be. 

Crumbie's Top 3:  

Shagbark hickory nut 

What are your favorite wild edibles? Let me know on my facebook page!

Volunteer of the Month

Kim Peters
Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club

Kim Peters has been a dedicated member of the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club since 2000. Since joining, Kim has volunteered for over 592 events and through those activities and other service has logged 4,764 hours working on and for the Appalachian Trail. Annually, Kim consistently contributes 400-500 hours each year. She has been the Maintenance Coordinator for the club since 2010 and worked to expand the volunteer base that is the heartbeat of the A.T.

Long-time TEHCC member Steve Perri explains, “TEHCC has a very active maintenance program with a crew of retired volunteers engaged weekly as well as a monthly outing to entice new members and working members to volunteer for maintenance activities. Kim has served as the contact person to facilitate gathering many different types of volunteers in her role as Maintenance Coordinator since 2010.” In an effort to attract new volunteers to the A.T., Kim started a monthly stewardship trip on Saturdays that makes it easier for people who work during the week to volunteer with the club. Steve continues, “Kim has really been an important contributor to organizational capacity for our club to be able to conduct activities with non-traditional volunteers that make up many volunteers outside our club roster. It’s is an important role for its importance of bringing many new volunteers to work on the A.T.”

Kim’s passion for trail maintenance began when she worked alongside the Konnarock Trail Crew to relocate Round Bald, one of her favorite section of the Trail. “I had noticed its deterioration as I continued to visit the area over the years, and as it was one of my favorite places, I volunteered to help,” Kim explains. “I guess you could say I was hooked on maintenance after that experience.”

Read More

Upcoming Events

*For more information, contact Kathryn Herndon-Powell at kherndon@appalachiantrail.org*

TATC's Lopper Festival 
Nelson County, VA
-- August 31-Sept.1, 2018 --

Mount Rogers Wednesday Work Hike 
Damascus, VA
-- September 5, 2018 --

NBATC Wednesday Work Hike 
Bedford County, VA
-- September 5, 2018 --

Hiker Happy Hour with NBATC 
Bedford, VA
-- September 5, 2018 --

Roanoke Valley Hike For Hospice
Explore Park, Roanoke, VA
-- September 9, 2018 --

Hiker Happy Hour w/OCVT 
Blacksburg, VA
-- September 10, 2018 --

Saunders Shelter Restoration
Damascus, VA
-- September 15, 2018 --

ODATC A.T. Work Day 
Humpback Rocks, VA
-- September 15, 2018 --

A.T. Art Exhibit 
Washington, D.C.
-- September 17-21, 2018 --

Roanoke Hiker Happy Hour
Salem, VA
-- September 19, 2018 --

Family Hiking Day 
-- September 22, 2018 --

National Public Lands Day Celebration 
Marion, VA
-- September 22, 2018 --

Mount Rogers Wednesday Work Hike 
Damascus, VA
-- September 26, 2018 --

TATC's A.T. Fall Walk-Through
Sherando Lake, VA
-- September 28-30, 2018 --

50th Anniversary of the Trail System Act - Two Sister Trails - One Celebration
-- October 2, 2018 --

TATC's Fall Maintenance Weekend 
Sherando Lake, VA
-- October 12-14, 2018 --

Go Outside Festival
Roanoke, VA
-- October 12-14, 2018 --

Mountain Day 
Buena Vista, VA
-- October 13, 2018 --

ODATC A.T. Work Day 
Humpback Rocks, VA
-- October 20, 2018 --

Regional Partnership Committee Meeting
Buena Vista, VA
-- October 20, 2018 --

How To Hike the A.T. Backpacking Course
Damascus, VA
-- November 2-4, 2018 --

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Appalachian Trail Conservancy 
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. To become a member, volunteer, or learn more, visit www.appalachiantrail.org. 

Our mailing address is: 
Appalachian Trail Conservancy 
Southwest and Central Virginia Regional Office 
416 Campbell Avenue SW, Suite 101 
Roanoke, Virginia 24016 
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Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club (c). 
P.O. Box 25283 
Richmond, VA 23260-5283
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