A.T. Trail Maintenance – Summer 2009

View from A.T.

Lenny and I have a 4.9 mile section of the Appalachian Trail to maintain. It’s a quiet section from Rice Gap to Devils Fork Gap. No great views, no shelter, just a typical section. It does however have a large variety of flowers in May. That’s the time to walk it.

Yesterday I went to clip the lush summer growth and pick up trash on the trail. Not much trash but a lot of growth. I found lots of invasives such as morning glories and dodder plant. The photo below is of dodder plant, a nuisance invasive that seems to choke out other plants.

Dodder plantSeveral years ago, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy decided to clear two views, one close to Frozen Knob and one further south. Yes, the views were beautiful for a while. Now the two areas have been invaded by morning glories,
dodder plant and lot of other stuff I can’t
identify. The shrubs and trees have already grown enough so
that the view is impeded. Hikers have created campfire rings right on the trail
to admire the view when there was one.

It is not realistic to pull out all that vine. And what do you do afterwards with it? Burn it? Carry it down in large plastic bags? And then do what with it? I haven’t figured out what to do with it.

This A.T. policy is stated  “Open areas and vistas are a particularly pleasing element of the A.T. 
Management activities needed to preserve these characteristics are encouraged,
so long as they reflect sensitivity to other Trail values.”  So obviously I’m not going to change this policy single handedly.

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