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.
With sound preparation, sustainable design, and superb technical execution, Josh has built a staircase that will carry countless feet for decades to come on their first steps onto the Art Loeb trail into the Pisgah. Many thanks, Josh! Happy trails, and best of luck on all your future endeavors. I am sure we will see you back here sometime soon.
Check out some pictures of Jeff's final project: the construction of a locust ladder staircase at the start of the Art Loeb trail just off the Eastatoe trail.
Spring Projects Update
Early to mid-May will see the start of a TPC-funded contract project for heavy maintenance on the Graveyard Ridge trail between its junction with the Mountains-to-Sea trail beneath Black Balsam and the Graveyard Ridge Connector trail above Graveyard Fields proper. This project, implemented by Black Diamond Designs, will focus on establishing drainage on this section of trail which, as an old railroad grade with established berms and significant entrenchment, currently flows like a river in rainy weather causing further resource and trail damage as well as an unpleasant hiking experience. This TPC-led project will supplement a Forest Service contract for similar work on the Graveyard Ridge trail between Ivestor Gap and the MST-Graveyard Ridge junction. When finished, these projects will tie together recent work completed on Ivestor Gap with the planned overhaul of the Graveyard Fields area-at-large. After completion, the entire 5.2 miles of trail from the Sam Knob Parking Lot to Ivestor Gap and down to the top of Graveyard Fields will have been treated to some much-needed heavy maintenance over the course of about a year.
In addition, work on the Horse Cove-Joel Branch Connector is due to begin this June. Funded by The Pisgah Conservancy, Transylvania County, the City of Brevard, and the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority, this new 1.3-mile hike/bike/horse trail built by Trail Dynamics will connect Joel Branch and Horse Cove roads. This will provide new connectivity in our trail system between downtown Brevard, Bracken Mountain, the Pisgah Ranger Station, and the Fish Hatchery and NC Wildlife Education Center. Thanks to all involved over the past few years in this exciting project as we approach its implementation date.
Welcome to Spring in the Southern Apps and a busy trail year on the Pisgah!
Thanks, as always, to your continued support of The Pisgah Conservancy and the Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest. Get out and enjoy!
Photo credit of wildflower with butterflies: Susan Stamey