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AT Section Maintainers/Co-maintainers Needed

We are currently in serious need of section maintainers/co-maintainers to give three sections (and a possible fourth coming up) the attention, regular maintenance, and TLC that they need. Having a section maintainer to keep up the routine maintenance is critical to the proper functioning of the Club's maintaining responsibility. If the routine maintenance is not done, then the club work trips (3rd Saturday of the month) have to be used to get it done, rather than working on other larger and often critical projects. There are written responsibilities and a checklist to assist with what section work needs to be done. Training is available as well as mentoring of new maintainers. Section maintaining is one of the most rewarding volunteer jobs you can have regarding keeping the AT in good shape for hiking – you are not only a key participant in taking care of the 19.1 miles of ODATC's AT responsibility, but you are also a part of the grand 2,000+ AT miles of volunteer effort. This volunteer work is not only very rewarding in terms of the satisfaction that comes with having a great section as part of the Club/total AT miles of trail, but also in the camaraderie and friendships established with the other maintainers and volunteers that you will meet and work with, plus …. we do have a LOT of fun! Please consider and volunteer to become a section maintainer/co-maintainer …... the AT needs your support!!

Note: If you would like to see what the club's maintainers do and see section pictures, go to the Rockfish to Reeds (Maintainer) Blog at http://rockfishtoreeds.blogspot.com. On the left sidebar, in the label cloud, you can click on the section number to see any work trips that have taken place on these particular sections or other stories related to them and also the “Section Page” with pictures. On the right sidebar, under 'Categories', you can click on “Trail Sections, Mileage, Features & Landmarks” to also get to the 'Section pages' that have pictures. The Rockfish to Reeds 19.1 miles of trail is divided into 12 sections. Each section has a dedicated maintainer, or overseer. This person (or persons .... some sections have co-maintainers) is responsible for making periodic trips to the section to check on the condition of the trail and to do routine work such as digging out water bars, keeping weeds cut back, snipping/clipping branches, brush, etc., cleaning off rock steps, closing off illegal shortcuts (from hikers cutting switchbacks), picking up and packing out litter, etc. The minimum number of trips is four per year, but maintainers often go more frequently, especially during 'weed season'. Any work that cannot be done or that is out of the comfort zone of the maintainer, or unsafe for the maintainer to do without more expertise, is reported to the Trail Maintenance Supervisor who will make arrangements to get the work on the monthly work trip schedule or get the additional assistance that is needed. Here are the AT sections needing Maintainer Attention.

Section 6 (northern AT intersection with Howardsville Turnpike to Bear Spring)

Mileage: 1.4 miles

Access: Easy hike down the blue-blazed Howardsville Turnpike (from HB Rocks Parking Lot) to the intersection with AT (about .2 of a mile). Section 6 begins there and continues south down the AT on the Howardsville Turnpike, then winds its way up the backside of Humpback Mountain via switchbacks to Bear Spring. Maintaining this section is typically an out-and-back situation.

Erosion Control: Waterbars on Howardsville to be kept clean, but few erosion issues on the non-Turnpike tread way.

Other features to maintain: Kyle and MacDougall steps kept clear.

Weeds/Brush: light to moderate if you keep up with the snipping/clipping of brush/branches, etc.

Section “Personality”: There are no overlooks on this section, but there is fabulous, historic rockwork along the Turnpike and the woods are beautiful with interesting, changing terrain. There are many nice rock projects, including the Kyle Steps and MacDougall steps. Deer are the most common wildlife spotted on this section although there has been the occasional black bear spotted, - the most recent was hiking from the section to the HB Rocks parking lot in October.

Overall difficulty rating: Easy to light moderate (this would be a great 'first' section if just getting into section maintaining)

Section 10 (from Dripping Rock on the BRP to Cripple Creek)

Mileage: 2.0

Access: Direct access from the pull-off parking at Dripping Rock on the BRP. Maintaining is usually an out-and-back situation.

Erosion Control: No waterbars, some seasonal water on one particular section of the trail during the spring runoff –generally you can't do anything about this.

Other features to maintain: Short approach trail to Little Raven's Roost overlook.

Weeds/brush: Heavy. This section gets afternoon sun and the nettle and poison ivy are “healthy.” This section requires weeding trips in May (to get the tender new weeds), late June, or early July, and usually around the middle/end of August to get anything so large it is hanging over the trail. Routine, aggressive weed whipping maintenance makes a noticeable difference in keeping weed growth from coming back as vigorously the next year. If you run into hikers while weed whipping, most all are very grateful for your efforts!

Section “Personality”: Cedar Cliffs is on this section – great views. The Cliffs need to be monitored for litter, trash, illegal camping. The AT is posted from Dripping Rock to well past Cedar Cliffs for 'no camping'. The cliff area vegetation is healing from past abuses. The Cliffs have the sweet-smelling Virginia Fringe trees on them (you can smell them well before the trail when blooming). This section also has the Little Raven's Roost overlook that is another great view and occasionally, there are fire rings that need to be broken up.

Wildlife: an occasional deer or turkey, bear will walk the trail and pull rocks out on occasion and there are owls that, if you hear them hooting, you can whistle and they will hoot back. This section of trail can generally be described as quite rocky.

Overall difficulty rating: Challenging! This section would make a great group project.

Section 11 (from Three Ridges Overlook on the BRP to Cripple Creek)

Mileage: 2.3

Access: Direct access from the parking area at Three Ridges Overlook on the BRP. Maintaining is usually an out and back situation.

Erosion Control: No or very few waterbars, some seasonal water on several sections of the trail during the spring runoff – generally you can't do anything about this.

Other features to maintain: Two sets of rock steps that leaf up and need to be kept cleaned off.

Weeds/brush: Heavy. This section gets afternoon sun and the nettle and poison ivy are “healthy.” This section requires weeding trips in May (to get the tender new weeds), late June, or early July, and usually around the middle/end of August to get anything so large it is hanging over the trail. Routine, aggressive weed whipping maintenance makes a noticeable difference in keeping weed growth from coming back as vigorously the next year. If you run into hikers while weed whipping, most all are very grateful for your efforts!

Section “Personality”: No overlooks on this section, but lots of interesting rocks, rock slides, cliff features, and beautiful woods. Trilliums bloom in the spring near the cliffs. Seasonal water can be found on several sections of the trail (spring runoff in particular, when water has been seen cascading off the cliffs – beautiful!).

Wildlife: an occasional deer or turkey, and bear will walk the trail and pull rocks out on occasion. This section is probably the rockiest section we maintain.

Overall difficulty rating: Challenging! This section would be maintained with an existing co-maintainer; however, the open co-maintaining position could be a good group project.

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