Virginia Regional

October 2017

Leave No Trace Hot Spot Revisited

Longtime readers of this newsletter may recall that in 2015, McAfee Knob was selected as a Leave No Trace Hot Spot. Mount Rogers was selected as a Hot Spot the following year.

Hot Spots are popular natural areas around the country facing heavy recreational use and consequently, the misuse of trails, parks and open space areas. The Hot Spot program, coordinated by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics aims to raise community awareness and identify solutions. Each Hot Spot receives a week-long visit from a team of two Subaru Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers.

This year, McAfee Knob was selected by the Leave No Trace Center for a Hot Spot Re-Visit. A Re-Visit only lasts 3 days, so Traveling Trainers Junaid and Amanda will be in the Roanoke and New River Valleys October 26-28. A.T. volunteers and partners are invited to a workshop focused on strategies to educate the general public October 26, and the general public is invited to a free Awareness Workshop on the rooftop deck of ATC's new office October 27.

We look forward to learning from the Traveling Trainers and bringing some energy and vision to one of Virginia's most beloved A.T. landmarks. For more information about the Hot Spot Re-Visit and ways to help protect McAfee Knob, contact Kathryn at kherndon@appalachiantrail.org.

Garlic Mustard Champions

Volunteers this past spring rallied around the 2017 Garlic Mustard Challenge, and far surpassed the established goal to remove 5,000 lbs of invasive garlic mustard. Trail-wide, A.T. volunteers pulled a whopping 6,267 lbs! Every volunteer who participated in the challenge this spring was crucial to reaching the goal!

Once again, our region (VARO) had an amazing year, pulling 2,868 lbs and out-competing all three of the other regions within ATC.Although VARO wins the Garlic Mustard trophy this year, the true champions are all the native plants that will thrive due to our collective efforts managing garlic mustard.

The credit for this accomplishment goes to our region's dedicated trail clubs. Special thanks goes out to the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club, who was the top puller in our region. Thank you to ODATC, TATC, NBATC, RATC, OCVT, PATH, and MRATC for continuing to protect native species by participating in the Garlic Mustard Challenge!
The ATC Garlic Mustard Challenge has now finished its third consecutive year. A.T. volunteers have pulled a total of 16,453 lbs over a three-year period. This is a remarkable feat that demonstrates how effective the 31 trail clubs can be when cohesively tackling a landscape-scale effort such as this. ATC has conducted this challenge for three consecutive years due to the large seed bank that garlic mustard leaves behind in the soil, requiring repeat visits to the same sites for several consecutive years. Although garlic mustard appears to have been eradicated from some sites and reduced in others, clubs are encouraged to continue visiting and managing garlic mustard in their sections.

If you have any questions about the 2017 Garlic Mustard Challenge or would like to get involved in other non-native invasive management projects, please contact Conner at cmcbane@appalachiantrail.org. ATC is thankful for everyone’s hard work in surpassing the 2017 challenge, and we look forward to seeing new and familiar faces this coming year as we continue to manage non-native invasive species!

"Old Field" Habitat Management at the Tilson Tract

The Tilson Tract is a beautiful old field nestled on the side of Big Walker Mountain near the Bland and Smyth County line. This tract was purchased to protect the Appalachian Trail corridor, but has also become one of the most unique bird habitats in Southwest Virginia. This old field habitat, also known as early-successional habitat, is home to two threatened birds: the Golden-winged Warbler and the Loggerhead Shrike.

Although the breeding season has passed, we want to ensure that Golden-winged Warblers can find suitable habitat at this tract again next year on their way from Central and South America. This habitat type requires continuous management to keep the mosaic of herbaceous, shrubby, mature trees at the correct ratio for successful breeding in the summer months. Without management, this tract will revert to forest ultimately causing the wildlife diversity at the tract to steeply decline.                                                       

Over the course of a week this fall, a diverse array of local stewards came together in this remote location to mange the habitat. With help from the Piedmont Appalachian Trail Hikers (PATH), the Blue Ridge Discovery Center, the U.S. Forest Service, RU Outdoors (Radford University), volunteers from the Celanese corporation, and ATC, the Tilson Tract will continue to provide superb habitat for an entire sweep of early-successional species including the Golden-winged Warbler, Loggerhead Shrike, and Ruffed Grouse.

The work weekincluded non-native invasive species management, thinning dense thickets of hawthorne and blackberry with a bush hog and bull dozer, native warm-season grass seeding, and some fruit tree release. Thank you to everyone who made another Tilson Tract work week so successful! We look forward to continuing this work next Fall.

Update on Proposed Pipelines

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission awarded a "Certificate of Public  Convenience and Necessity" for both the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipeline projects at 7:00pm on Friday the 13th. The 5-person Commission has two vacancies and only received 2 affirmative votes. In a rare move, a dissenting opinion was offered by commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. The document, availablehere, mentions the Appalachian Trail a few times. 

While both projects still face significant hurdles, the certificate is a step forward for both projects. The United States Forest Service has yet to issue it's final record of decision on the project or respond to the ATC's objection. Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina also have opportunities to halt the projects based on impacts to water quality. 

There will continue to be news and opportunities to get involved. Check the ATC's website for additional information. 

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In This Issue

Leave No Trace Hot Spot Re-Visit

Garlic Mustard Champions!

Update on Proposed Pipelines

"Old Field" Habitat Management on the Tilson Tract

Crumbsnatcher's Corner


Contact Our Clubs







Crumbsnatcher's Corner: Won't you Come Visit?

Crumbsnatcher the A.T. Shelter Mouse here, checking in from downtown Roanoke!  As you can see in the photo, I'm adjusting to the urban environment by camping out in a place of prominence in the new location for ATC's Regional Office. From this vantage point I can really keep an eye on Andrew, Josh, Kathryn, Conner and Molly despite my small stature.

What's all this about a new location? That's right, the ATC Regional Office for Central and Southwest Virginia has a new address! We're also still co-housed with Eric Giebelstein, Virginia's go-to guy for the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS).

Among other advantages, the new space is much more visible and accessible to the community. With a lot of help from me, the gang is about done unpacking and decorating, and ready to show it off!

We welcome visitors any time we're open, but especially from 3-6 pm on November 29 when we'll be hosting an Open House! Come for the refreshments and the grand tour, stay for the fellowship with Roanoke's outdoor community. I'll be standing by to polish off any spilled crumbs!

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Regional Partnership Committee Meeting on October 14th, and to the A.T. Community¬© of Nelson County for hosting! Also, cheers to Devil's  Backbone and Bold Rock for supplying post-meeting refreshments!

Volunteer of the Month

Judy McGuire - Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Potomac A.T. Club

Before her 2007 A.T. thru-hike, Judy McGuire only knew of ATC as the source of hiking maps. After her hike, she began volunteering, putting together map and guidebook sets. She then began working in the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Harpers Ferry visitor center, where she enjoys meeting “kindred spirits,” as well as introducing people to the A.T. and helping them find the right hike. 

Judy says she has the ideal volunteer job: “I'm working for a cause I'm passionate about, for an organization I respect and support, doing work I love, and working with terrific people.”

Judy volunteers weekly at the visitor center and is a trail maintainer for the Potomac A.T. Club. She is a hiking book editor, gives talks at local REI stores, works on A.T. events, and also is section-hiking the Trail. She served on ATC's Stewardship Council for seven years and chaired the Landscape and Resource Protection Committee.

Read More

Upcoming Events

*For more information, contact Kathryn Herndon atkherndon@appalachiantrail.org*
Leave No Trace Hot Spot

McAfee Knob, VA
-- October 26-28, 2017 -

eave No Trace Workshop for A.T. Volunteers and Partners
Salem, VA
-- October 26, 2017 -

Rooftop Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop 

Roanoke, VA
-- October 27, 2017 -

Hiker Happy Hour with NBATC
Amherst, VA
-- November 2, 2017 -

Blacksburg Hiker Happy Hour
Blacksburg, VA
-- November 7, 2017 -

Roanoke Hiker Happy Hour
Salem, VA
-- November 15, 2017 -

ATC-VARO Regional Office Open House
Roanoke, VA
-- November 29, 2017 -

Annual Holiday Celebration at ATC Headquarters

Harpers Ferry, WV
-- November 29, 2017 -

Hiker Happy Hour with NBATC

Bedford, VA
-- December 7, 2017 -

Southern Partnership Meeting
Marion, VA
-- March 9-11, 2018 -

Get Involved

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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:
Southwest and Central Virginia Regional Office
5162 Valleypointe Parkway
Roanoke VA 24013
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Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club (c). 
P.O. Box 25283 
Richmond, VA 23260-5283
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