By B.T. Fitzgerald and Bob Proudman
Trail Care 201
Compliance with Environmental Laws and Regulations
Among the federal laws that we rely on to help protect the Appalachian Trail are the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). These laws are triggered by projects that occur on federal lands, involve federal funding, or require a federal permit. So, they not only apply to development projects that may threaten the Trail, but to many Trail projects undertaken by ATC, the Trail clubs, and agency partners. A.T. sections located on state lands may have similar requirements under state laws.
Any activity with the potential to affect or change the natural environment or historic and cultural resources (even undiscovered resources) must be addressed. Activities requiring prior review include digging a new side trail or relocation, constructing a new shelter, privy, or campsite, or installing a new bridge. Basically, anything that changes the “footprint” of an existing facility or will cut into undisturbed soils should be reviewed.
ATC has tailored its policy on management plans and project approvals to aid clubs and regional partnership committees (RPCs) with this planning. Check with your ATC regional office for guidance; Conservancy staff has been trained in these laws and compliance obligations and will assist your club with project planning.
Brent Allen with the NPS Appalachian Trail Park Office and Bob Proudman have prepared this helpful Draft Trail Maintenance and Compliance Table. Comments are welcome—please send them to email@example.com.
Programmatic exclusions for trail and corridor-boundary maintenance that won’t require administrative review are being developed. Project planning instructions and a form to facilitate project approvals also are under development.
B.T. Fitzgerald is Chair of the ATC Stewardship Council
Bob Proudman is Director of Conservation Operations
Trail Management Policies
In May of this year, three revised policies were recommended by the ATC Stewardship Council and adopted by the Board of Directors: Review and Approval of Management Plans and Policies
, Stream Crossings and Bridges
, and Invasive Exotic Species
. ATC's Local Management Planning Guide
- a cornerstone of the cooperative management system - is being updated to include these revisions and will be posted online soon.
Be Seen - Be Safe
Wear blaze orange anytime you are out working or hiking on the Trail during hunting season. See ATC's 2011 Hunting Season Guide
, with summaries of hunting
seasons for the 14 Appalachian Trail states and links to regulations for each state. On state game lands in Pennsylvania, hunters and nonhunters are required to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, or a fluorescent orange hat, from Nov. 15–Dec.15 (except on Sundays). The orange material must be visible from all angles (360 degrees).
More information for hikers and hunters is found on ATC's Health and Safety
ATC Tells Families to Take a Hike!
ATC hosted its first Family Hiking Day this fall. Family hikes are an easy way for families to experience the A.T. and for Trail clubs to engage youth. Held on National Public Lands Day
and coordinating with the Let’s Move
initiative, the next Family Hiking Day will be on September 29, 2012.
Is your Trail club interested in promoting hiking to families? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To help plan family hikes, ATC has provided:
A list of hikes
(including easy to moderate hikes suitable for families)
Guidelines for planning a family hike
Games and activities
Land Protection Update
Carlen Emanuel, Alison Scheiderer, Ralph Protano, Stefan Shapiro, and crews from Frostburg State University and the American Hiking Society spent three weeks on boundaries in Maine this summer, getting rained on, slipping, sliding, and collecting bruises and scrapes, but all worthwhile because 15 miles of boundary were recovered. Alison, Ralph, and Stefan worked much of July and August training volunteers in New England and recovering boundaries in New Hampshire and Vermont. Carlen monitored easements and fee lands in Maryland and worked on a large encroachment on an ATC easement in Virginia.
Intern Scott Justice began developing a geodatabase for ATC-owned lands in Virginia, while intern Austin Keach drafted stewardship plans for two tracts of ATC lands in Virginia. The interns monitored two Virginia fee parcels and resolved an ownership issue through extensive courthouse research.
In September, Ralph and Stefan worked on boundary recovery with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. More recovery work with Trail clubs in the mid-Atlantic region continued in October.
More than Monuments
Alison facilitated a good collaboration for the NPS corridor lands program (a.k.a. the Boundary Program), working with one A.T. club having eager young volunteers, but no boundary, and another A.T. club that has boundary, but no eager young volunteers.
ATC and the NPS-Appalachian Trail Park Office are collaborating on National Environmental Protection Act requirements for boundary maintenance and defining boundary maintenance standards. We are working to develop programmatic exclusions for boundary work, streamlining the compliance process while protecting Trail corridor lands.
Carlen Emanuel, Land Protection Manager
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
P.O. Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
304-535-6331 ext. 102