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.

Their two weeks of trail work on the Pisgah were varied and fruitful. After a one-day orientation and training session, they completed necessary drainage maintenance on the John Rock Loop, parts of Cat Gap Loop, Upper Avery Creek Trail, and the lower parts of Shining Creek. The clearing, maintenance, and improvement of drainage features on our Forest’s trails are always needed and are massively important to maintaining their integrity and good condition. The work never ends when it comes to these important tasks.

Avery Creek BEFORE construction

Above: Avery Creek Trail before construction

In addition, the crew helped us construct a significant turnpike and a new footbridge at a stream crossing on the Avery Creek trail. The section of trail had previously traveled parallel through the creek bed for 30 feet without an adequate crossing for hikers and bikers. By elevating the trail bed using a combination of cribbing and turnpiking techniques and installing a new nine-foot-long locust footbridge and abutments, we were able to effectively mitigate adverse impacts to this water source, including sedimentation and damage to stream banks. The improvements also allow a much better hiking and biking experience for our many avid trail users.

Avery Creek Turnpike footbridge in construction 3

Above: Avery Creek Trail Turnpike Footbridge Under Construction

Without the assistance of this highly motivated and eager crew, who gathered and crushed rock, transported and peeled locust logs, and topped the structure with soil from freshly dug drains, we could not have done it. A great and hearty thanks to the Americorps NCCC crew for their hard work and commitment!

Speaking of turnpikes, a volunteer group from Pisgah Area SORBA also completed an extremely beneficial turnpike project this month. The team elevated a 45-foot section of perennially boggy ridgetop trail on the upper end of Bennett Gap Trail, solving a muddy problem which will help in the long run to reduce resource damage and provide for a more pleasurable ride and hike. Next up, they’ll be working on an accompanying turnpike on the lower end of Bennett Gap.

Upper Bennett Turnpike PAS in construction 12 2020

Above: Upper Bennet Gap Trail Turnpike Under Construction

Thanks as always to our large group of trail volunteers for their many hours of work and for their dedication to the maintenance and improvement of our trails.

Thanks, too, to all of YOU for your continued support of The Pisgah Conservancy and the Pisgah Ranger District! Have a great holiday season, and see you next year!


To learn how you can volunteer with The Pisgah Conservancy, click here.