Trails Corner

With the equinox behind us, the weather warming, and buds springing forth, we are hurtling happily into springtime here in the Pisgah National Forest. It’s shaping up to be a busy and exciting season for trail projects on the Pisgah, with the combination of ongoing trail maintenance work by our volunteer, TPC, and district personnel and a number of contract projects due to start in the coming months.

A Heartfelt Thanks to Josh Reynolds

Before I share about our upcoming projects, I would like to give a heartfelt thanks and wish good luck to our TPC Trails/Recreation Technician Josh Reynolds as he leaves us and takes a National Park Service trails position at Sequoia National Park. I can’t thank Josh enough for all the good work he has envisioned and accomplished on the Pisgah Ranger District over the last year since he started in January 2020. Whether building bridges, turnpikes, and staircases, leading crews, digging drains, or developing Trail Academy website content, Josh has been a huge boon to the Pisgah Conservancy and the Pisgah Ranger District during his time here with us. Please check out some pictures of his final project: the construction of a locust ladder staircase at the start of the Art Loeb trail just off the Eastatoe trail.

Greetings All! Rather than my usual format of describing specific projects occurring on the Pisgah, this month I want to take the opportunity to provide some clarity on the specifics of how volunteering works with the Forest Service.

If you’ve ever considered volunteering for Pisgah, you may have some burning questions. What is required by the Forest Service for volunteer activities? How can I volunteer? What types of volunteer work are available? Who do I contact if I’m interested in volunteering? Where does The Pisgah Conservancy fit in?

Wonder no more! The information and infographic below will help shed light on the process and will give you the tools to bring your efforts and skills to bear in the most fitting and fulfilling way for both you and for Pisgah National Forest. 

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2021! Although our days are still short compared to warmer months, they’re slowly lengthening as we move toward spring. That, in addition to the cold, brisk, clear air of winter, open vistas, and the smaller crowds of the winter season make this a great time to get out and enjoy the Forest. 

Greetings and a happy close of the year to you all! Although we have not yet seen our first real dusting of snow, there has been a flurry of activity on the trails of Pisgah this past month.

December saw the arrival of an eight-member Americorps National Civilian Community Corps crew to the Pisgah Ranger District. Modeled on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), this group of 18- to 24-year-old interns has been traveling as a group across Forest Service units in the southern region since July, delivering much-needed assistance to Fire, Recreation, and Trails projects while gaining valuable work experience.

The last month has been a beautiful one in the mountains of the Pisgah Ranger District. We have seen long stretches of clear, cool, and sunny fall weather, with blue skies and multicolored foliage, punctuated by the warm, humid, rainy backwash of tropical systems coming in from the Gulf. As we begin transitioning to winter, sweeping vistas forgotten since last spring will emerge again through the naked branches of ridgetop trails and that sense of distance and scale, the true spread of the mountains, will become apparent once more on our Pisgah treks and rambles.  

Falling leaves will cover our trails and fill our drains — and our volunteer trail workers will be kept busy cleaning out these drains to prevent erosive damage to our trails. Getting and keeping water off our trails is the most important thing we can do for the prevention of trail damage and deterioration, and it requires constant hard work. Cutting down trees after storms and winds has also been a key part of our volunteers’ work this month. Thanks to all our volunteer groups for their continued efforts on the Forest. As always, your work is truly appreciated.

We’ve also been busy this month preparing to implement several contracted trail projects on the District in the coming year. This coming spring, we’ll be performing heavy maintenance on Graveyard Ridge trail between Ivestor Gap and its junction with the Mountains-to-Sea trail.