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Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Sidehill 
Behind the Scenes

By Bob Proudman

Questions:
1.a) About how many thru-hikers have been affected this season by Norovirus outbreaks (more common on cruise ships and in nursing homes than on the A.T.)?  
 b) Did any A.T. maintainers or day hikers succumb to this illness?
2. Have there been any substance abuse-related deaths along the Trail?
3. What types of encroachments occur on Appalachian Trail lands?
4. Where did three chartered buses off-load people—on the Trail—to go swimming this summer?
5. Who is the primary coordinating law enforcement officer for the Appalachian Trail?
 
Answers:
1. a) An estimated three dozen long-distance hikers were afflicted by the Norovirus in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.
b) No A.T. maintainers or day hikers are known to have succumbed. NPS and ATC have worked with public-health officials in those states and published prevention advice online and in A.T. Journeys magazine.
 
2. Two Trail users apparently suffered overdose deaths this year in towns near the Trail. One apparently asphyxiated after aspirating vomit while drunk; a second died of an overdose from chewing a stolen pain-medication patch.  
 
3. Among other activities, deer stands, trash dumping, logging, or constructing roads and structures without permits on National Park Service lands acquired for the Appalachian Trail are considered encroachments. 
 
4. Bulls Bridge along the Housatonic River in Connecticut, a Natural Heritage site with several state and federally endangered rare plant and animal species, has become popular with swimmers in summer, resulting in heavy, inappropriate, and hazardous use. Several drownings have occurred at the site in recent years. The NPS and local officials are collaborating on possible solutions, including closures.
 
5. It is the unique job responsibility of NPS-APPA Chief Ranger Todd Remaley, the "Lone Ranger” of the Appalachian Trail, to coordinate with law enforcement agencies and others in responding to A.T. incidents. The responsibilities of various A.T. partners are spelled out in state MOUs and other agreements. 
 
Appalachian National Scenic Trail Chief Ranger Remaley
points to illegal deer stand

NPS APPA Ranger points to illegal deer standAlthough currently supported by an NPS ranger on temporary detail, a team of ATC staff, seasonal ridgerunners and caretakers, and law-enforcement partners in the Forest Service and states and communities along America’s first National Scenic Trail, Ranger Remaley remains the supervising NPS ranger for more than 100,000 acres of park lands in nine separate eastern states, an immense responsibility.
 
Reporting incidents or suspicious behavior helps Ranger Remaley and other Trail management partners to become aware of criminal activity, vandalism, resource and facility damage, and possible threats to hiker safety on the Trail. Information on reporting incidents can be found at www.appalachiantrail.org/incidents. Reports or messages sent to incidents@appalachiantrail.org are routed to several ATC staff members and Ranger Remaley. While ATC and the Trail clubs do not become involved in law enforcement, A.T. managers, including club leaders and maintainers with their thorough knowledge of specific Trail sections, may be asked to respond to reports and to help allay problems and conditions that are discovered or brought to our attention. 
 
In addition to reports of incidents, Trail managers are often contacted by people who are concerned about an A.T. hiker or who need to reach a hiker due to a family illness or death. Trail club volunteers and ATC and agency staff respond compassionately and do their best to reassure family members and locate hikers when circumstances warrant.  
 
I encourage you to send me your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions regarding incidents and incident management along the Trail corridor. You can e-mail theregister@appalachiantrail.org, or contact me directly.
 
Bob Proudman is Director of Conservation Operations.
He can be reached at bproudman@appalachiantrail.org.


Meet ATC Executive Director Ron Tipton 

Ron Tipton (© NPCA/Benjamin C. Tankersley)Ron Tipton has been named executive director of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and will begin leading the organization in late August. He replaces Mark Wenger, who left ATC at the end of June.  

Since 1978, when he hiked the entire A.T., Ron has worked with several national nonprofit conservation organizations, most recently as senior vice president for policy at the National Parks Conservation Association. He helped found the Appalachian Long Distance Hiker’s Association and has been on the governing bodies of ATC, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC), and the Benton MacKaye Trail Association. Ron has served as a PATC volunteer for more than 25 years.


Volunteers honored for 25 and 50 years of service 

Dick Ketelle receives 50-year awardPhoto: NPS-APPA Superintendent Wendy Janssen and USFS R8 Recreation/Wilderness Director Ann Christensen present Dick Ketelle of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club with 50-year service award.

Forty-four Appalachian Trail volunteers were honored for 25 or 50 years of service on July 20 at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's 39th biennial conference in Cullowhee, NC . Nominated by their A.T. maintaining clubs, these exceptional volunteers were recognized by the National Park Service for their service to the Appalachian Trail. We salute their dedication and thank them for their hard work. See the list of honorees here.
 
Acclimate to help avoid heat illness 
USFS Heat Safety documentAdapted from USFS Heat Safety brochure
Gradual acclimation to working in the heat will help to prevent heat-related illnesses (heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke) while working outdoors. 
 
Becoming acclimated takes 5 to 10 days of heat exposure. The body increases sweat production, improves blood distribution, decreases the heart rate, and skin and core body temperatures are lowered. Outdoor workers should gradually increase the amount of time they work in the heat, taking care to replace fluids (as much as a quart/liter per hour), and rest in the shade as needed. Regular work or exercise in a hot environment will help maintain that acclimatization.

Because sweat evaporation is our primary cooling mechanism, higher humidity levels increase heat stress. Aerobic fitness, physical condition, and medications also play a role. Fit workers have a well-developed circulatory system and increased blood volume, both of which help to regulate body temperature. They begin to sweat sooner, so they work with a lower heart rate and body temperature, and they adjust to the heat more quickly. Being overweight increases susceptibility to heat illness, as does use of some medications, such as diuretics.

Even when acclimated, it's best to do the hardest work in the coolest parts of the day, rest frequently in the shade, and take care to replace fluids. Become familiar with the symptoms and treatments for heat illnesses. Take care of yourself and look out for your fellow workers.
 
Boundary Blurb 

The boundary program staff has been busy in the field this summer. Nicole Wooten has been enjoying becoming familiar with the Mid-Atlantic region, where she is working with all 12 clubs of that region.
 Below: Americorps NCCC volunteers in Maine

In New England, ten Americorps NCCC volunteers recently spent more than two-and-a-half rainy weeks working with Maine Appalachian Trail Club volunteers and ATC staff to saw and lop their way through six miles of exterior corridor boundary. The team recovered survey lines that had been badly damaged by the 1976–1985 spruce bud-worm epidemic. That project was the ATC boundary program’s first partnership with Americorps.
 
Nicole and I led two workshops at ATC's 2013 biennial conference in mid-July: an introduction to map and compass skills and a more in-depth discussion about the ATC boundary program. Many of you were able to join us, and we appreciated the opportunity to answer your questions and discuss corridor monitoring and maintenance. We look forward to more opportunities to meet and work with boundary volunteers.
 
ATC Land Protection Associate Alison Scheiderer
Alison Scheiderer
Land Protection Associate
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
New England Regional Office
 

Beth Critton - Stewardship Council Chair

Beth Critton of West Hartford, CT, was appointed chair of ATC's Stewardship Council at the biennial conference earlier this month. She has served on the council since 2011 and chaired the community outreach committee. 

Beginning in August, Beth will coauthor the Sidehill column of The Register with Director of Conservation Operations Bob Proudman.

Learn more about Beth and the other Stewardship Council members here.

Photo: Courtesy of Wildlands Conservancy, Inc.

Alpine Rose Victory

The former site of a proposed motor-sport tract in Pennsylvania (known as Alpine Rose) was recently acquired by the Wildlands Conservancy and turned over to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for management and to help in permanent protection of the Appalachian Trail. 
The facility would have included roads where members could drive high-performance cars up to 150 mph, garages, a car wash and gas station, a helipad, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, and athletic fields. 
 
ATC had worked with the local Blue Mountain Preservation Association and others to oppose the project since 2001. Initial concerns were of noise, but later grew to include impacts on Aquashicola Creek, home to the federally endangered bog turtle. 
 
A significant result of opposition to the project was the Pennsylvania State Legislature's  passage of Act 24 in 2008, amending the Pennsylvania A.T. Act to require municipalities through which the Appalachian Trail runs to adopt and implement zoning that protects it.
 
Funds to acquire the 354-acre tract and another 90-acre property came from a $21 million settlement for damages to natural resources at the Palmerton Zinc site, just to the west of Alpine Rose. A final restoration plan is available online at http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/Palmerton/Palmerton.cfm. More acquisitions and Lehigh River improvements are planned.

Stop immediately...

...at first signs of heat-related illness.  HEAT STROKE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY if a worker shows any signs of heat stroke, and take action while waiting for help. The table below lists symptoms and recommended actions for all types of heat illness.

Click on table to enlarge 


Volunteer Toolkit

A.T. club leaders, Trail volunteers, and others interested in Trail management will find a wealth of information at www.appalachiantrail.org/toolkit.

You'll find tips for maintainers, resources for club leaders, ATC policies, guidance on local management planning, sawyer certification workshops, corridor boundary resources,  and more.

Additional resources are being developed and will be announced in The Register.

Appalachian Trail Crews - Hard Work, Great People

Apply now for seasonal Trail crews!

ATC sponsored crews tackle projects from Maine to Georgia, including Trail relocations, erosion control, rock work, bridge construction, and more. The crews work in cooperation with A.T. maintaining clubs and agency partners. Join a crew and improve the Trail while you enjoy the comaraderie of people from across the country and overseas.

For information and to apply, go to 
www.appalachiantrail.org/crews.

Volunteer of the Month

Tip Ray moved to Asheville, NC, in 2012 and immediately approached ATC's Southern Regional Office staff about volunteering.

He spent three weeks surveying all campsites and recreational impacts on more than 21 miles of the A.T. in the Roan Highlands and has since spent countless hours processing and analyzing the data, which will be used to make recommendations for recreation management in the area. 
(Read more about Tip here)

2013 Meetings

Mid-Atlantic Regional Partnership Committee
October 26
Linglestown, PA

Central/Southwest Virginia Regional Partnership Committee
October 26
Buena Vista, VA

Southern Regional Partnership Committee
October 26
Asheville, NC

ATC Stewardship Council
October 31 - November 1
Shepherdstown, WV

ATC Board of Directors
November 1-2
Shepherdstown, WV

New England Regional Partnership Committee
November 23
Location TBD

The Register  is published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for the volunteers of the Appalachian Trail, their agency partners, and others interested in the stewardship of the Trail.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trailensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come. To become a member, volunteer, or learn more, visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
 
Our mailing address is:
ATC Headquarters
799 Washington St, PO Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

Copyright © 2013  |  All rights reserved.