VHTRC Work Party 2004March 20, 2004
On March 20, the VHTRC held its annual work party on the trails in the Lee Ranger District of the George Washington National Forest. As usual, we cleared many miles of trail and had a good time at the same time. We had great weather. We should also note that we had several workers who were performing their required service for Western States, Wasatch, or Angeles Crest. I like to think that they all would have joined us even if they didn't have to!
We broke into several work teams. Here are reports of the activities of each team:
Team Corris: Tom Corris led a team over the Massanutten Trail (MT) over Short Mountain. This trail was not in bad shape. They cleared it. They also went to Short Mountain and found that Gary Knipling was telling the truth when he said that it "never looked better."
Team Scotty: Scott Mills led a large group on the Massanutten South Trail from the Visitors Center to the Bird Knob trail to the dirt road. They found the trail to be in good condition. They cut two blow downs and otherwise cleaned up minor debris.
Team Derrick: Derrick Carr and Mike Campbell cleared the Massanutten South Trail from Route 211 to the Visitor's Center. They also did the Waterfall Mountain Trail (now part of the MT). Here is Derrick's report:
Mike and I covered the trail from the visitiors center to 211 south. Along that section, we cut some green briar, removed a bunch of sticks and branches from the trail and cut one small log, which we then removed. There is a big tree down in the first section, after you make the "tricky" left turn on the trail. [I assume the turn is at the junction of the Wildflower Trail and the Massanutten Mt. South Trail. -AD] I believe it has been there for a year or two. It fell on a group of rocks and you can hop right over it. It's not really a problem.
For "extra" credit we went over Waterfall, down to the road and back. With the exception of a few branches and a little green briar, it looked great.
Team Stan: Stan Duobinis led a group that cleared the Massanutten Connector trail from Route 211 to the MT at the bottom of the Waterfall Mountain Trail. The group then followed the MT north to the Scothorn Gap Trail where they took that trail to the clearing at the top of Scothorn where the dirt road ends. They repaired a log bridge, sawed about seven trees, and put rocks across a muddy part of the trail. They left only two trees to be chainsawed and they are near the end of the dirt road section of the connector trail
Team Gernand: Carolyn Gernand lead a team on the MT north of Edinburg Gap. Her report is:
The trail, as of Saturday pm March 20, is immaculate from Edinburg Gap to the 7 Bar None trail (blue). We cut several logs (6 or 7) using hand tools, including one that was 11" or 12" diameter. We rolled a couple of others to parallel the trail rather than cross it. We trimmed a few branches and pulled out a few briars that were starting to sprout in the trail.. All else was in excellent shape.
Team Jean: Frank Probst led a team that met up with Jean Whitman who has a Forest Service card permitting her to use a chainsaw. They met at the Little Crease parking lot and covered a lot of ground. Frank's report:
Jean and her friend Zane met us at the parking lot and our crew of Paul, Bob, Russ, Kerry, Bill, James, Rebecca and I followed Zane the rest of the day. He certaily is at home in the mountains and climbs up a trail with pack or saw faster than the rest of us could walk. We did a large lasso from the parking lot up to the Veach gap shelter and then north to Sherman's Gap. That section had the most significant blow downs and most of the work. We then went right down the mountain on the OD 100 course trail to [route 613]. Right on the road to where MMT aid station 3 is located and back up to Veach Gap on the trail used by MMT and OD. From the top back down to the shelter, there were only had about four down trees to cut. There was a lot of work done on that section recently and many blow downs had been cleared before us. We left a bit after four. Amazing what you can do with a good chain saw. That entire section we covered is completely clear. Jean said she and Zane had already cleared the top from Veech to where you go down the Indian Grave Ridge trail.
Here is Jean's Report:
Additional details to Frank's report from our trail clearing this past Saturday. Our work party cleared the Veach Gap trail, starting at the west side and working our way up to the Little Crease Trail which connected up with Sherman Gap trail at the top of the mountain. Quite a few blow downs were still present from hurricane last fall but all are now clear. We then worked our way down the east side of Sherman to Rt 613 and beat back the brush there and cleared what blowdowns were on that side of the mountain (about 5 or 6 areas). This area does tend to get over grown with briars and what not near the top. We pruned these back, but am sure if someone with a weedwacker were available in late May, this would be a good area to concentrate their efforts. From the bottom of Sherman we hiked down the road to Veach Gap on the east side, cleared Veach Gap from Rt 613 over the mountain back to parking lot on west side. There were several blowdowns mainly on the east side of the gap, but all are now cleared.
What We Should Have Done: Mike Broderick was in a group that ran on the trails the next day. He reports:
...Tom, Kevin Black, Linda, and I ran from Moreland to Powell's Fort today. The trails are in very good shape from Moreland to Woodstock. Woodstock to Powell's is a very different matter. Someone has obviously chainsawed some big stuff there in the past month, but there is a lot of junk hanging down and across the trails over most of the distance.
Team Jalisco: At the end of a hard day's work, some of us repaired to the Super 8 Motel in Front Royal for some fluid replacement. Then we made our visit of Jaliscos to check out the margaritas.
Sunday Activities: Several participants went back out to run on the trails they had just cleared. A small group ran on the Dickey Ridge trail. A couple of participants went straight to a grease reload station, aka breakfast.
Overall, it was a great weekend. The trails are in good shape -- until the next storm goes through!
Workers at the Visitors Center