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[nct-l] west MI thoughts

You must mean AT here.  The NCT doesn't go through VA.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ryan Bowles [mailto:bowles_ryan@hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2001 1:40 PM
To: nct-l@mailman.backcountry.net
Subject: Re: [nct-l] west MI thoughts

Here in Charlottesville, Virginia (a few miles from the NCT), we are 
building a 20-mile semi-wilderness trail surrounding the city.  The 
cooperation from landowners has been wonderful, and we find that we have

more trail to build than time to build it.  So, what we do is build the
trail we can with the limited time, with a plan that when we get a
we will go back to perfect the trail.  If some major problem comes up on
section, we take time out from the trail building to do needed trail 
rebuilding.  This system has worked out extremely well, and we have
several miles of new trail already this year, while taking care of two
trail rebuilding needs- one from erosion of the temporary steps to get
a culvert, the other from the destruction of switchbacks by an ATV.

I think that the WMi chapter (and other chapters) could follow a similar

plan- build the best trail you can now, which would involve two tracks,
plans to fix the trail in the future.  If you have the manpower to fix
trail now, do it, but otherwise leave it until the manpower is

BTW, this is essentially how the AT worked- originally it took the
easiest route, such as roads and straight-up-straight-down sections.
rerouting of the trail has now been ongoing for over 50 years.


>My partner and I went for a ramble on the Lowell section of the NCT
>to make up for the fact that we missed the mass parade on Trails Day.
>is often the case, as I walked this section I got to thinking about
>building strategies.
>A couple of things came to mind that I thought I would share with this
>list.  First, I am very proud of my fellow club members, especially
>and Doug Wilbur, for their work on this section.  It is a beautiful
>of trail.  We saw wild turkey, a nesting turtle, a profusion of wild
>flowers (the patches of purple phlox were amazing!), and a nice variety
>song birds.
>But we also found a high-impact campfire right on the trail, complete
>car tire tracks, a soiled t-shirt and nearly a dozen Bud and Bud Light
>cans within throwing distance of the fire pit (why is it that slobs
>drink Anheuser-Busch products?).  It was a real shame, but something I
>think can be easily solved by the hiking community.
>You see, the slobatorium was located on the only small section of the
>in the Lowell State Game Area where the trail follows an old two-track.
>Julie and I scattered the fire scar, covered its remains with duff, and
>picked up the beer cans and assorted dreck.  Then we talked about how
>trail could easily avoid the two-track.
>Why is it that we in Michigan (and elsewhere?) often chose to follow
>two-tracks with the NCT, even when on public lands like state game
>Doesn't this just welcome trouble (and slobs) to our trail?  Why would
>want to be affiliated with all the problems that two-tracks entail
>dumping, Anheuser-Busch slobs, illicit behavior, paint ball, target
>practice, deer entrails, snowmobiles, ORVs, etc.--activities prohibited
>state game areas, but widely practiced)?
>This is not to mention that two-tracks typically do not make for
>sustainable trail given their low footpath, compacted soil, and
>Just this past April I joined more than a dozen volunteers with the
>Michigan Chapter as we spent a morning barricading sections of our
trail in
>the Rogue River State Game Area that follow old two-tracks.  I heard
from a
>hiker recently that many of our barricades were already dismantled and
>the ORVs are freely roaming our footpath.
>I wonder how much the DNR ascribes these headaches incorrectly to the
>presence of the trail.  I can see people believing that it is the trail
>(and not the two-tracks) that attract the slobs.  Yet I rarely see such
>problems of this magnitude on our sections of trail that are 18-24'
>Perhaps a rogue bike rider, but nary the problems I see on old
>Would it be prudent to spend the effort to get our trail off of these
>two-tracks?  I know in the Lowell State Game Area it would only be a
>relo.  In the Rogue it would take significant work (but I suggest it
>also greatly improve the hiking experience there!).  And I'm sure there
>opportunities for improvement elsewhere.
>What do you think?  Is it worth the effort to move the NCT off of the
>two-tracks?  Would it improve the hiking experience?  What, other than
>labor, might be the obstacles?  Are there other obtacles of which I am
>I'd be interested in your thoughts, as I think these are critical
issues as
>our clubs complete the NCT trail building on public lands and move
>seeking easements across private lands.  I think those who neighbor
>public lands will look to them as a model of what trail on private land
>will be.  And I'm not so sure we've put our best foot forward yet.
>WMI Chapter
>ps- Hey Tate, you been to the PA Headquarters lately?
>NCT-L mailing list

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