March Greetings All!
I am happy to be taking over the position of TPC Trail Specialist from Davis Wax and working to improve the trail system in the Pisgah Ranger District. Special thanks to Davis for all the hard work and many tangible accomplishments he has provided during his time with the Pisgah Conservancy, as well as his guidance as I have settled into the position. I also want to welcome Josh Reynolds, TPC’s new Trails and Recreation Technician, who is working in partnership with the United States Forest Service (USFS) as a field operative out there getting trail work done, as well as working closely with our volunteer trail crews. Previously working with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), Josh brings a lot of trail and volunteer work experience, which will be a great boon to our program here in the Pisgah.
This month we saw the completion of a long-planned 3-day project by the Carolina Mountain Club on the Barnett Branch trail in the Pink Beds. A total of 38 CMC volunteers took part in this project, which focused on repairing the boardwalk and bridge spanning the South Fork of Mills River. Due to a logjam, high water, and the inevitable toll of time on our trail structures in such a wet and dynamic climate, the bridge’s abutments had been damaged and the bridge itself knocked off of level. These hardworking volunteers were able to raise both ends of the bridge back to level and re-establish solid support cribbing structures beneath the bridge. In addition, they removed over 450 feet of rotted curbing, installed 198 feet of new raised curbing, replaced 79 rotted boardwalk tread boards, and repaired 2 rotted joists under the boardwalk. Along with Forest Service personnel, the log jam was cleared from beneath the bridge to help mitigate streambank erosion near the bridge abutments. In addition to the bridge and boardwalk work, I was able to teach CMC volunteer trail crew leaders how to construct a locust ladder staircase. Two of them were installed in a steep area with erosion issues. These useful, long-lasting trail structures do a great job of controlling trail erosion, maintaining tread, and providing for good footing. They will be a good replacement for simple check dams which fail relatively quickly under the stress of the heavy rainfall we receive here in Western North Carolina leaving steep, difficult to repair drop-offs in the trail tread. Always good to have a new tool in the tool belt.
Thanks to all the CMC volunteers who participated in this project! Your dedication and enthusiasm are greatly appreciated!
Have a great month and be sure to get out and enjoy the Pisgah!