Trails Corner 4-13-22

April is here and spring is bursting forth on the Pisgah in its annual splendor. Warmer weather, morning birdsong, sprouting may apple and trillium, trout lily and bloodroot blooms: all signs of the grand biomass explosion of spring in the deciduous forests of the Southern Appalachians. Along with these cyclical, natural wonders, another tradition of spring is fast approaching. Pisgah Project Day is coming fast, less than two weeks away! Let’s give an update.

The project list is complete with more than 20 projects across the forest addressing key resource management goals including trail maintenance, trail bridge construction, non-native invasive plant removal, wildlife habitat improvement, trash and graffiti removal, watershed protection, and more. Central among these projects is the construction of a new 30-foot bridge on the Cat Gap trail from the Hatchery to John Rock. You may have seen photos of the old bridge being removed from Grogan Creek in last month’s newsletter. Over the past few weeks, TPC and Forest Service employees have been busy building and installing heavy-duty locust approaches and abutments for the new bridge, which will cross higher, span farther, and ultimately be more long-lasting and resilient than its predecessor. Large diameter, rot-resistant locust logs are ideal native materials for trail bridge abutments, providing a solid foundation and elevated approach that will hold up over time and high water.

Cat Gap Abutments 2

In other exciting news, and dear to my heart as a longtime trail worker, last week saw the delivery of a new piece of trail equipment for TPC, a Canycom BP419 track carrier. This is high-end trail building equipment, offering hauling access to more remote, rugged trails than typically accessible by UTV or wheelbarrow. With a payload of 660 pounds, heavy duty rubber tracks, and a narrow track width of just 26.5 inches, this will be an extremely valuable tool in our continuing work to improve the Pisgah trail system allowing us to transport large rock, gravel, fill dirt, and heavy tools (think griphoists and rigging set ups) deep into difficult-to-access sections of trail throughout the forest. Just in time for Pisgah Project Day…

TPC Canycom 1

Looking forward to seeing you out there on April 30th. Thanks to our many partners and sponsors helping to make this day possible. It is truly a team effort. And a great thanks, as always, to all of you for your continued support of the Pisgah Conservancy and Pisgah National Forest.