With the government reopening at the end of last month, February has proven to be a busy month so far! For one, the Pisgah Ranger District is hosting participants in the Conservative Anabaptist Service Program (CASP), a program which allows conscientious objectors of war to volunteer for federal service in another capacity if there were to be a draft. CASP recruits young men 18 – 25 years old, often from skilled backgrounds like carpentry or construction work, to serve federal lands and organizations all over the country, and we in Pisgah are lucky enough to have them for four weeks.
Fixing the Moore Cove Trail blowout near its 276 trailhead was the first priority on the Forest Service’s list for trail work. During the winter storm in early December, a sizable tree toppled over and ripped out over 30 feet of tread and wood steps, leaving a steep, eroded bank in its wake. The planned fix for this section was a substantial retaining wall using 6x6 lumber and gravel fill to bridge the gap.
Between the Forest Service, myself with TPC, and the CASP crew, we got to work planning out our retaining wall and moving materials up from the parking lot to the worksite across Looking Glass Creek. The work days involved measuring and cutting timber to fit into the wall, drilling and pinning the timber with rebar, and toting countless buckets of gravel up to the worksite for fill behind the wall.
The young volunteers with CASP made short work of the project, installing over 30’ of wood retaining wall that averaged four feet high across the length of the structure. The group also installed 30’ of railing, 6 new steps within the retaining wall, 8 new steps nearby on the trail, transplanted over 50’ of rhododendron to help reinforce the bank, and carried over 10 tons of gravel. With eleven of the volunteers working, they finished the project in two days – well before we had anticipated we could finish it. Thank you CASP crew for all your hard work and I look forward to working with you the rest of February!
Stay tuned to the Trails Corner as we begin working on our projects tied to the National Forest Foundation grant, namely the Art Loeb Bridge decking replacement and the Exercise Trail footbridge.