TRAIL MAINTENANCE 2017
by Clyde Burnsworth
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Thurs, Nov 16: This week we went to Leatherwood Falls and one crew cleared the loop around the Falls, the other group went above the falls to the Rim trail's second crossing on the USFS road and worked down the trail to clear two large trees. Thanks to the USFS for clearing the access road before we got there. Thanks to Michael OBrien, Tom Shope and Don Weaver for clearing the loop, finish time at 11:00 AM. The second group was Gary Carter, Bill Cox and myself and we finished at 11:30.
Thurs Nov 2: We had a good turn out today and worked the Chunky Gal trail from Perry Gap to the USFS road crossing above Glade Gap, this had been prewalked the week earlier and there were plenty of trees down from IRMA. We had two groups clear the trail from either end today. You can see from the photo the colors were great. Thanks to Dave Richardson, Tom Sewell, Carolyn Sewell, Steve Dennison, Frank Retter, Rich Sullivan, Gary Eggers, and Gary Carter. We had a 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM day and cleared the trail for the club hike on Tues.
Thurs Oct 26: We had a big turnout for the annual "Coopers Creek Maint day" and picnic. 20 workers or so turned out, some just for the food I think. We covered all the trails in the coopers creek area that we maintain in one morning and got in lunch as well. A great fall day in the forest.
Thurs Oct 19: Today we got back to N.C. with a great crew to check out the rim trail after "Irma". We started at Bristol Camp and worked up to the Rim Trail, we turned right and went "down" to Leatherwood Falls. A couple of large oaks just missed the trail near Carver Gap but a large Pine top did get across the trail, we had the usual other trees, lopping, and brushcutting chores but no real extra damage to clear. Thanks to Steve Jersey, Jim Upchurch, Don Weaver, Gary Eggers and Bill Cox for the turnout on a very nice day to be in the forest. We had a 9:00AM to 2:00PM day.
Thurs, Oct 11: We had a big turnout and split into two groups, one group went to Miller Trek and cleaned up 5 spots that had trees down from IRMA. Thanks to Michael OBrien, Steve Dennison, Tom Shope, Jim Upchurch and Gary Carter for their work clearing Miller Trek. It was a 9:00AM to 12:30 day for them. The other group went to Cooper's creek area to tackle the blowdowns on the Eyes on wildlife trail, thanks to Steve Jersey, Tom Sewell, Frank Retter, Don Weaver, and Rich Sullivan for turning out. We got to the trail area and found the USFS had cleared the trail since yesterday morning. We then went on to check out the short trail at Sosebee cove and found no storm damage. We were back in Blairsville by 11:30 AM
Wed Sept 27: We had a good crew come out to beat the heat and clear Jack's Knob. We had a report of 8 blockages from last weeks club hike. See the pictures attached. We had a 8:00AM to 11:00PM workday and thanks to Bill Cox, Don Weaver, Gary Eggers, Tom Shope and M. OBrien the trail is clear.
Thurs Sept 21: We went to Desoto Falls with a big gang and work the trail to the small waterfall, good news the deck and rails were not damaged at the small falls unlike the deck at the large falls which took a big hit. Both trails are still closed at this time. We had three saws running today at times and did not quite finish but cut a lot of big trees. Thanks to Steve Dennison, Frank Retter, M. OBrien, Jim Upchurch, Don Weaver, Bill Cox, Steve Jersey, Gary Eggers, Tom Shope and Tom Sewell. We had a 8AM to 1PM day.
Thurs, Sept 7: It was a cool start on Brasstown Bald today, we worked the Wagon Train Trail and had plenty of work to do. A lot of lopping, swingblade work, waterbar clearing and a bit of sawing with the crosscut as well. Thanks to Rich Sullivan, Tom Shope, Gary Eggers, Gary Carter, Frank Retter, Steve Jersey, and Jim Upchurch for turning out. We had a 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM workday but the cooler weather was great.
Thurs Aug 24th: We had a crew of five to clear the Chunky Gal Trail from Perry Gap to Shooting Creek Bald today, it was not as hot as last week and we powered thru leftovers from last years fires. Thanks to Jim Upchurch, Gary Carter, Frank Retter, and Michael OBrien for turning out. We finished up at 1:30 PM without any issues.
Thurs Aug 17th: We went up in the fog this AM to Brasstown Bald and worked down Jacks Gap Trail to the highway. We had a good group and got to work the brushcutters, did some lopping and worked waterbars as well. Only a small bit of sawing was required. Thanks to Richard Sullivan, Tom Shope, Don Weaver, Bill Cox, Gary Eggers, Gary Carter, Jim Upchurch and Michael OBrien. We got back to Blairsville around noon just when it was starting to get hot.
Thurs July 27th: Today without our fearless leader we headed out in the heat and high humidity to Miller Trek, to tackle some trees and brush that had been reported to us. We had a great group of 10 hard working folks, including Gary Carter, Steve Dennison, Gary Eggers, Steve Jersey, Michael O'Brien, Frank Retter, Tom Shope, Jim Upchurch, a new maintainer named Rebecca, and myself. We broke into 2 groups and were able to tackle all 6 miles of trail, cutting out 13 blowdowns and brushing out the whole thing. We were back to the Park and Ride at 1pm. Thanks to everyone who came out to work today.
Thurs, July 20: We had a big turnout on a warm summer day. We drove to Glade Gap and worked the first stream crossing area heading north on the Chunky Gal Trail. The creek was cool and we got most of the water off the trail. Thanks to Michael OBrien, Tom Shope, Frank Retter, Steve Dennison, Jim Upchurch, Gary Eggers, Bill Cox, and Gary Carter getting wet today. We had a 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM day and kept out of the heat as much as we could.
Thurs June 29th: We had a good crew turnout, and worked the rim trail at the second road crossing above Leatherwood falls back down to the falls area. It took a little road clearing past the gate but we got there and found a lot of brushcutting and lopping work to do. The rain and sunshine does make things grow. Thanks to Gary Carter, Steve Dennison, Rich Sullivan, Frank Retter, Jim Upchurch, Tom Shope, Steve Jersey and Bill Cox for turning out and spending another day on the trail. We worked an 8:00 AM to 2:30 PM day and no rain problems.
Thurs June 8th: It was a bridge rebuilding trip yesterday. With the USFS help the footbridge along the Coleman River Trail was rebuilt. Also some down trees across the trail were removed as well. See the before and after pics below. Thanks to Steve Jersey, Tom Shope, Rich Sullivan, Jim Upchurch, Don Weaver, Gary Eggers and Frank Retter. All back to Blairsville by 2:30 with fingers and toes intact.
Thurs May 25: We took on the Chunky Gal Trail today, a cool misty start and a ATV ride to the top of the trail near the AT. We missed last year's scheduled clearing of this section and a few portions were badly in need of work. We had 7 trail clearing professionals today and brushcut lopped and chainsawed our way back to Glade Gap. Thanks to Michael OBrien, Frank Retter, Tom Sewell, Gary Eggers, Gary Carter, and Tom Shope. Also thanks to the USFS for the ATV ride. We started at Hayesville at 8:00 AM and got back around 3:00 PM.
Thurs, May 18th: Today we had a great crew turn out for a long maintenance trip. There were 8 of us, Mike Bartell, Gary Carter, Gary Eggers, Bill Cox, Tom Shope, Don Weaver, Jim Underwood, and I. We set out to finish what the crew started last week, Phillips Ridge Trail in Fires Creek. With the excellent work they did last week, we were able to drive up the the blown out culvert and start working. 3.2 miles mostly up hill to Will King gap on the Fires Creek Rim trail. By the end of the day, the trail looked great, and we were back to the Ingles by 2:15pm. Thanks to everyone who came out for a great trip.
Thurs May 11 trail maintenance trip was working up the Phillips Ridge Trail in the Fires Creek area to the site of the culvert washout where Laurel Creek crosses the old road/trail. We started out expecting a warm day but were surprised by a cool morning with a few mild showers. The crew of five maintainers consisted of Steve Jersey, Don Weaver and Gary Eggers on loppers, Michael O'Brien on brush cutter (the entire way, up and down) and Tom Shope with chainsaw. The trail is ready for the next trip to finish the upper portion above the washout. We were back in Hayesville at 12:30 after an 8:00 a.m. start. Thanks to the crew for the good work.
Thurs April 20th: We had a big turnout today on a warm spring day, we split up and one group went up the Chunky Gal to the big Buckeye tree. The other went the other way toward Tusquitee Gap. Lopping and tree clearing and a little water crossing work was done by all. Thanks to Steve Jersey, Gary Carter, Tom Shope, Frank Retter, Don Weaver, Michael OBrien, Dave Richardson, Bill Cox, Rich Sullivan and Clive Poole. We got back to Hayesville around 1:00 PM after a 9:00 AM start. Next week is the annual ATV ride up near the AT to work the Chunky Gal Trail "down" to Glade Gap.
Thurs April 13th: We had a big turnout on a near summer like day. We split into two groups and went after the Miller trek Trail today. We had reports of trees down and found them right away. We worked down from the top and finished up around 12:30PM after a 9:00AM start. Thanks to Steve Dennison, Rich Sullivan, Frank Retter, Tom Shope, Michael Bartell, Michael OBrian, Don Muleman, Gary Eggers, Gary Carter, Clive Poole.
Thurs Mar 23: We had a very nice turnout on our first official spring work trip this year. We went to Sosebee Cove and did a little lopping and brushcutting, and then on to Helton Creek Falls and did the same. One crew (team one) then returned to Blairsville for the day but one crew (Team two) went on to Desoto Falls and checked out some possible repair work on some steps and one footbridge redecking. Thanks to Tom Shope, Bill Cox, Steve Dennison, Don Muhleman. (team one) Frank Retter, Carolyn Sewell and Tom Sewell ( team two) for turning out. Team one was back in town around 11:30 and team two returned by 1:00 PM. The Falls was looking good today.
Thurs Mar 16th: We cleared the trail today and took measurements of the large and small footbridges damaged by the fire last year. The small bridge was approx 7' 9" long and 3' 6" wide, it had 2X6 deck but just timbers underneath. Any 4X6 treated timber or ever 4X4 would probably do the job. The bigger bridge was partially burned and is just over 20 ft long and need a new stringer under one side it is currently a 6X6, some of the decking could be reused but all will have to be removed to get the new stringer into place. Under the old burnt stringer there is 2 supports resting on rock, one is a 2X4 and one is a 2X6 they are vert. under the stringer and could be reused. That is why the upper side of the bridge has not collapsed with the burned section missing. We could use two shorter sections of 6X6 and lap then under the bridge using the supports as they are now. This would be easier than carrying a 20' section of 6X6. We had a 3 man crew today Tom Shope, Michael OBrien and myself and left Blairsville at 9 and return at 12:30.
Thurs Mar 9th:
We had a big turnout on a amazing spring day today. Ten trail workers turned out to work the Chunky Gal trail and once again we split into two groups. One group went in at Tusquitee Gap and worked north toward the stairway at FS Road 6271A, the other group worked up the same FS road from SR 1307 and met the first group at the trail crossing. We all then continued for a mile on the Chunky Gal until we called it a day. Thanks to Steve Jersey, Michael OBrien, Don Weaver, Steve Dennison, Frank Retter, Don Muhleman, Michael Bartell, Rich Sullivan and Dave Richardson.
We got back to Hayesville by 1:30PM.
Thurs Mar 2: We had a large group today and split up and one group went to Jack's Knob Trail and worked down from the top, the other group went to Smith's Creek Trail and worked up from the State Park campground area to clear trees blocking the trail. Thanks to Steve Dennison, Rich Sullivan, Jim Upchurch, Michael Bartell, Dave Richardson, Gary Eggers, Michael OBrian, and Frank Retter for working the Jack's Knob Trail. More thanks to Don Weaver and Bill Cox for working with me on clearing Smith's Creek Trail. We all got back to Blairsville around 12:30PM after a 9:00AM start.
Thurs Feb 23: We had a small fast moving group today and went to the second road crossing of the rim trail above Leatherwood Falls and worked back down to the falls. We did some lopping and a bit of chainsaw work. Thanks to Steve Jersey, Rich Sullivan, Steve Dennison, and Frank Retter. A noon finish time on a very springlike day. The views are outstanding.
Thurs Feb 16: We had a great group of ten workers to go to Raven's Cliffs Trail to remove trees and repair the bridge damage. Thanks to Steve Dennison, Michael OBrian, Don Weaver, Tom and Carolyn Sewell, Rich Sullivan, Gary Eggers, Frank Retter, and Dave Richardson. Trees removed, deck and handrail replaced. Check out the before and after pics. We got back to Blairsville around noon after a 9:00 AM start.
Thurs Feb 2nd: We had a hearty but small group of workers out today, only 4, Tom Sewell, Frank Retter, Don Weaver, and I. I had planned on going up to Fires Creek to the 2nd road crossing of FS 6176 above Leatherwood falls, and working down, But the Forest Service had once again changed the lock to one we don't have a key for, so we hike up the trail a ways and cut out a large tree that was blocking the trail and then a few others lower down on the Falls loop. Thanks to all those who worked today. Next week will be a GA trip
Thursday, 1/26: Today we worked on the Chunky Gal trail from Tusquittee Gap to Tate Gap. We had a great crew, including Steve Dennison, Steve Jersy, Frank Retter, Dave Richardson, and I. We did quite a bit of lopping, and throwing limbs off the trail, and a little chainsaw work. At the end of the day, the trail looked great. Thanks to all who came out
Thurs 1/12: Today we worked the Lake Chatuge Trail, we had a great crew with Gary Carter, Gary Eggers, Michael O'Brien, Frank Retter, Tom Shope, Don Weaver, and myself. The trail was in pretty good shape, but we lopped and ran the brushcutters and got it fixed up nice. No work trip next week due to SEFTC conference in GSMNP
Thurs 1/05: We had a big turnout on a pretty nice winter day, we worked up from Bristol camp to the rim and one group went down Omphus Ridge Trail to the road and the other went down the rim trail to the road near Leatherwood falls. Mostly loping and some chainsaw work was required. Thanks to Don Weaver, Gary Eggers, Michael OBrien, Rich Sullivan, Steve Dennison, Frank Retter and Gary Carter for turning out. We finished up around 12:30.