The hot, humid days, building thunderheads, and afternoon downpours of July have arrived in the Pisgah. Summer is in full swing with many visitors out there enjoying the trails, the rivers, and the open balds at high elevation offering massive views of our corner of the Southern Appalachians. All trails and most roads in the Forest are currently open, as are the majority of roadside recreation areas. Roadside camping is still prohibited, and closures are still in place for all back country shelters. The following roads are currently closed: Lickstone Road (#97), Courthouse Creek Road (#140), Yellow Gap (#1206), and Pilot Mountain (#229). Although currently closed at press time, the latter two roads, Yellow Gap and Pilot Mountain, will be reopening very soon. With the majority of the Forest open, many much-needed opportunities exist to get out of our homes and into the mountains among towering trees and tumbling cascades. Let us do so, but let us also remember to follow the practices necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Be safe and responsible out there!
Both volunteers and district employees have started to get out and perform trail work in the last month. Small group work with a focus on maintaining drainage, repairing tread, and brushing the trail corridor has allowed us to get back to work while incorporating the proper mitigations to keep us safe. Our volunteer groups continue to show their dedication to the trails of the Pisgah and their patience with the challenges of the current time. Our wilderness ranger is out in the Shining Rock and Middle Prong performing the day-to-day stewardship of a wilderness ranger while also collecting important trail conditions data that will help us prioritize future trail work to be performed in our wilderness areas. We are continuing to develop a more robust volunteer training program and, although it will still be a little while before we can implement it, this training component will be crucial to improving the capacity, skills, and knowledge-base of our volunteer trail crews.
Great thanks to all those out there in the Forest working hard under new and sometimes challenging conditions. Thanks also to all of you for your continued support of the Pisgah Conservancy and the Pisgah Ranger District.
Best! -- Jeff Maitz