Operations-Trail Building and Maintenance

The Maintenance Committee is responsible for managing the maintenance the approximately 425-450 miles of trail for which CMC has accepted responsibility, and for building new trail as required. The total mileage may vary based on our negotiated agreements.

CMC has responsibility for:

·      93 miles of the A.T., http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/_maps/sectionMap.cfm.   Our responsibility for maintaining this trail is defined in the MOU we signed with Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 1998 http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/342/page/Maintenance-Agreements.

·      142 miles of the MST, http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/_maps/sectionMap.cfm?sectionGroupID=4.  Our portion of the MST traverses land owned by the BRP, NC State Parks, PRD, the Nantahala Ranger District and The Nature Conservancy. We have agreements with three of these landowners defining our responsibilities and are in negotiations with the Nantahala Ranger District.  An agreement with NC State Parks is planned.

·      175 miles of trail in Pisgah Ranger District (PRD) see http://carolinamountainclub.org/data/Pisgah and Appalachian District Maintainers.pdf

·      25-50 miles of trail in Appalachian Ranger District (ARD).  The specific assignment of trails to the CMC will be defined in the agreement currently being negotiated with the District. 

During hunting season or in the winter, when maintenance on the trails listed above is either unadvisable or impossible, CMC also maintains trail in the

·      Carl Sandberg National Historic Site in Flat Rock;

·      Green River Game Lands near Hendersonville;

·      Johnson Farm, a historic farm owned by the Henderson County School system; and

·      Kellogg Center, a conference center owned by University of North Carolina-Asheville.

In addition, the CMC provides trail building and trail maintenance on selected lands where the CMLC has oversight.  (Florence Tract and Bearwallow Mountain)  CMC has an agreement with the CMLC covering building the Bearwallow Mountain trails but has no agreement to maintain trails overseen by the CMLC.

When requested and when crew time is available, CMC crews will maintain and/or build trails for other public organizations.

 

In addition to building and maintaining trails, the Maintenance Committee is responsible for:

·      Negotiating and maintaining agreements with land owners that establish the procedures to be used in building and maintaining trails on their land – agreements will be established only when CMC has undertaken a long-term commitment to maintaining a trail;

·      Making website support personnel – currently Tim Carrigan – aware when changes are needed to the functionality of the maintenance webpage;

o   Maintaining trail maintenance information on both the maintenance and main CMC web areas.  (i.e., Maintaining the currency of the list of Certified Sawyers)

·      Managing the CMC award system that recognizes trail maintainers who have achieved various levels of cumulative volunteer work hours

o   Notifying the Forest Service, ATC and FMST when CMC volunteers qualify for their awards

·      Organizing and holding an annual Trail Maintainers’ Picnic.

·      Obtaining and maintaining an inventory of tools required by the trail maintenance crews

o   Submission of grant requests for tools

·      Reporting volunteer work hours to CMC partners quarterly

·      Representing the CMC trail maintenance function to periodic meetings with partners (FS Districts, BRP, CMLC, FMST, ATC)

·      Ensuring that trail maintainers are properly trained and appropriately certified to operate mechanized equipment

·      Ensuring that trained Section Maintainers are assigned to all sections of the AT and MST.

·      Recruiting and retaining new volunteers

·      Operating within budgeted funds provided by the CMC for operating expenses, mileage re-imbursement, and picnic costs

 

Agreements

·      We have made long-term commitments to maintain trail on land owned by the

o   Pisgah Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest (PRD)

o   The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

o   The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP)

o   The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (Green River Gamelands)

o   The National Park Service through the ATC (Appalachian Trail)

·      These agreements may be found at http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/342/page/Maintenance-Agreements.

 

·      We are in the process of negotiating agreements with the Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest (ARD) and the Nantahala Ranger District of the Nantahala National Forest. These will be added to the Club’s website when they are finalized.

 

·      Daily agreements are entered into with State Parks facilities when work is to be performed.  Entering into an umbrella agreement with the State of North Carolina Department of Parks and Recreation is planned.  Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) maintains a relationship with the Cherokee National Forest. A CMC agreement with the USFS covering the limited amount of work we do in this Forest does not seem necessary. ATC also maintains relationship with the Town of Hot Springs. A CMC agreement with the town covering the very limited amount of work we do within the town boundary does not seem necessary.

 

·      An agreement exists with the CMLC to build trail on Bearwallow Mountain.  http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/342/page/Maintenance-Agreements

 

Maintaining contact with these land owners and others involved in our maintenance efforts is a major task. Attachment 1 is a list of current contacts. The Chair of the Maintenance Committee or his/her designee is responsible for keeping the list up-to-date.

 

Types of Trail Maintenance

CMC members are involved in trail building and maintenance at three levels as:

·      Trail crew leaders and members,

·      AT/MST Section Maintainers

·      Participants in quarterly workdays.

We also receive trail-building support from ATC’s Konnarock Crew. Each part of CMC’s program is discussed below.

Trail Crews

The eight CMC work crews and their crew leaders are listed on the Club’s website at: http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/36/page/Trail-Work-Schedule.

The standards to which these crews work are defined in the agreements discussed above.

The first five of these crews:

1.     (Burnsville) Monday Crew

2.     Waynesville West Crew (Wednesday)

3.     Thursday Crew

4.     Asheville Friday Crew

5.     Pisgah Friday Crew

These meet weekly and are what most Club members think about when the topic of work crews is raised. Crew leaders (listed in Attachment J-1) are responsible for deciding what work the crew will perform each week. 

When selecting work, Crew Leaders start with their list of assigned trails – AT Sections, MST Sections, specific FS District or BRP trails, other organization trails.  Priority is given first to the AT, then the MST and then other assigned trails.  In the Spring, a complete “walk thru” of the AT and then the MST is performed by all the crews with each assigned to a specific portion of those trails.  It is expected that each crew will work on all its assigned trails at least once each year.

6.     Wilderness Crew - meets two Saturdays a month, and works in the two wilderness areas in the Pisgah Ranger District, Middle Prong and Shining Rock.  The crew must meet the standards for wilderness trail maintenance, which are defined in our agreement with the PRD.

7.    Quarterly Saturday Crew - actually meets five times a year and is discussed below under Quarterly Work Days.

In addition, a small crew of experienced maintainers has been established to work on short notice to resolve trail obstruction issues that are reported.

Trail crewmembers are largely recruited by word-of-mouth, but a standing invitation to join the trail crews and other maintenance activities is included on the CMC website at http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/36/page/Trail-Work-Schedule

CMC Membership by Crew Members

In the past, CMC’s Council had approved policies requiring trail crew members and Section Maintainers to be Club members. However, because individuals who were not Club members were making substantial contributions to our trail building and maintenance efforts, the Trail Crew Leaders refused to implement this policy.  In 2014, the Council recognized that the policy was inappropriate and passed a resolution (Attachment 2) rescinding it. CMC and the Crew Leaders still strongly encourage all trail maintainers to become members, but accepts that a small number will chose not to.

Section Maintainers

Section Maintainers commit to maintaining 2-5 miles of either the A.T. or MST. Their work is coordinated either by the A.T. Supervisor or one of the five Supervisors for the MST. Guidelines for A.T. section maintainers should be shown at http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/19/page/Maintainer---AT

The guidelines for MST section maintainers are shown at: http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/index.cfm/do/pages.view/id/16/page/Guidelines---MST.

The current lists of A.T. and MST Section Maintainers are shown at http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/_maps/maintainerLists.cfm?sectionGroupID=5, and http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/_maps/maintainerLists.cfm?sectionGroupID=4, respectively.

When encountering conditions on their section beyond their capability, Section Maintainers are expected to notify the appropriate trail crew to remediate the condition.

Many hikers view being a Section Maintainer as a way of giving back, and ask for the opportunity. A.T. sections rarely remain open for an extended period of time. The same is less true of MST sections where remote portions of trail may be open for months. When a section does not have a Section Maintainer assigned, it becomes the responsibility of the trail crew with overall responsibility for it maintenance to perform all the necessary tasks.

AT and MST Section Maintainers are usually CMC members.

Quarterly Work Day

The quarterly workdays are designed to allow people who cannot commit to working as either a trail crewmember or a Section Maintainer, or who are new to trail maintenance, to become involved in CMC’s trail maintenance program.  Typically 25-30 people show up at these sessions, including many who are either crew members or Section Maintainers. The work is chosen to include all levels of skill and physical ability.  Lately the quarterly workdays have been devoted to building the remaining portion of the MST that the CMC is responsible for.   After gaining experience on Saturday workdays, many new trail maintainers go on to become Section Maintainers or trail crew members.

Konnarock Crew

ATC supports the trail-maintaining clubs in the Virginia and Deep South Regions with the Konnarock Crew, a volunteer trail-building crew that is active for eight weeks during the summer.  Volunteers typically work for a week, and their projects are broken into weeklong segments. This crew typically camps near its projects, and therefore is more suited to carrying out projects remote from trailheads (such as the relocation of the A.T. into the Rocky Fork Tract in 2014) than CMC’s trail crews, which would have to spend much of the day hiking into and from the work site.

The Konnarock Steering Committee sets Konnarock Crew’s priorities. It meets in conjunction with the Spring Partnership Meeting, a joint meeting of the Virginia Area and Deep South Regional Partnership Committees (RPCs). CMC has had representation on this committee for three out of five years. One of CMC’s RPC representatives should join the committee when CMC has a seat, and prepare to represent the club by discussing the club’s requests for support with the Maintenance Committee Chair.

The Virginia Area and Deep South Regional Directors solicit requests for work by the Konnarock Crew prior to the Steering Committee meeting. Konnarock’s work is initially planned five years in advance to comply with federal government budgeting practices. The Steering Committee prioritizes these requests and also adjusts Konnarock’s priorities for nearer term years, if needed.  Attachment 3 provides Konnarock planning background information supplied by ATC.

SORO meets with CMC trail maintenance leadership annually to review the contents of the five-year plan for major AT work.  During that meeting, work suggested for Konnarock is identified.  Smaller projects listed may be assigned to the CMC to complete.

Trail Maintenance Webpage and Databases

The trail maintenance webpage: http://www.carolinamountainclub.org/members/maintenance_menu.cfm contains the forms and reports that trail maintainers use to document their work, lists of A.T. and MST section maintainers, maps of these trails and of PRD and ARD; and other information that supports the Club’s maintenance efforts. The page includes two databases, one that is used to record maintenance hours worked, the other to record trail issues that need to be resolved. The hours worked database is linked to the membership database, so that the information about individual volunteers is the same in both places. Tim Carrigan, a CMC volunteer, provides support for this page and the databases.

Trail Maintainer Awards

A variety of awards are available to CMC trial maintainers based on volunteer hours worked. These are listed in Attachment 4.

Trail Maintainers’ Picnic

The Maintenance Committee holds an annual picnic, open to all Maintenance Crew members, AT/MST Section Maintainers, wives/significant others and children on the third Saturday in September.  It is currently being held at Lake Julian Park.  The Club provides grilled fare and drinks while attendees are requested to bring munchies, salads, casseroles and deserts.  Live music has been provided to date.

Job Descriptions

Attachment 5 contains the four job descriptions that have been written for Maintenance Committee responsibilities:

·      Councilor for Trail Maintenance/Chair of the Maintenance Committee

·      Trail Crew Leader

·      Trail Crew Member

·      Trails Facilities Manager