Virginia Regional

April 2017

Spring is flying by and we're absolutely loving it.  After plenty of reflection and planning over the winter, spring is the time for beginnings.  Project checks for Konnarock are underway, garlic mustard pulls have begun, Ridgerunner seasons have commenced, and there are lots of fun events coming up.  We hope you have lots of opportunities to be engaged with the A.T. this spring!Pesto Never Tasted So Good

As you may already know the Garlic Mustard Challenge for 2017 is well on its way. Spring came extra early this year, and so did the garlic mustard. The seven VARO Trail clubs, with the help of some student volunteers have already gotten off to a great start this season and pulled 1,719 lbs of Garlic Mustard.
The season for pulling Garlic Mustard is still not over! If you are interested in setting up your own Garlic Mustard pull along the A.T. please contact cmcbane@appalachiantrail.org. ATC still has several weeks of pulling before garlic mustard completely sets seed. Let’s win that trophy!

Thank you to all the volunteers who have been doing this work in years past and to those clubs that hit the Trail extra hard this spring and gave the garlic mustard a good ole wallop.A.T. CAMP Launches for Group Registrations

In recent years, ATC has used avoluntary Thru-Hiker Registrationsystem to help prospective thru-hikers share their start dates with others and plan their itinerary accordingly.  The newly launchedA.T.CAMP is a similar system designed to help groups plan their hikes.  Both systems work to help hikers avoid the social and ecological impacts of overcrowding on the Trail. 

The A.T.CAMP website, www.ATcamp.org, allows hikers to register a group of up to ten individuals, choose starting and ending locations for their intended hike, and select campsites along their chosen route. Groups will be able to see how many other campers have also registered for these locations and will receive an immediate notification if their group exceeds the quota for campsites they have selected.

While this system does not operate as a reservation system to guarantee space, it does make it possible for users to mitigate their impacts and plan around other users.  A.T.CAMP can also inform users of relevant trail updates and area-specific regulations to improve their experience and the experience of others.

The Trail Karma Initiative: Give More, Get More

The following is an excerpt of a blog post by our intern Jane Rice originally posted on The Trek, here.

The principle of karma is that life revolves around a system of cause and effect.  If one person does something good (no matter how big or small) they shall receive something good back...and vise versa for the bad.  Karma has given us a moral compass, sitting in the back of our heads, telling us to spread kindness and resist bad temptations.  This applies to all aspects of life, including Trail Karma on our very own long trails.

This year, the philosophy of Trail Karma is expanding with its very own grassroots initiative.  The message has been spread among hikers by word of mouth, social media and the website, educating the public on the best ways to take care of the trail.

All Appalachian Trail hikers--whether thru-hiking, section hiking, or day hiking--are encouraged to snap a photo of someone practicing good trail karma.  This can be someone (or you) picking up trash, a group trail maintenance project, or just a beautiful sunrise to share.  The more we protect and cherish the Trail, the less rules and regulations will have to be put in place.

Check out the Trail Karma websiteFacebook, and Instagram and use#trailkarma to help spread the word.

Southern Partnership Recap

The Southern Partnership Meeting is an annual gathering of the 12 southern A.T. Trail Clubs, ATC staff, and land management agency partners to discuss all the pressing trail issues of the day.  This year's meeting also incorporated the annual A.T. Community Summit, as a way to bring together A.T. Trail Clubs and their local A.T. Communities.  Hosted by ATC's Southern Regional Office (SORO), SPM 2017 was held in early March at the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Rock, NC. 

Beyond the productive plenary sessions, Konnarock Steering Committee, and Regional Partnership Committee meetings, there was also plenty of time for community building such as on the Partnership hike from Tanyard Gap to the Rich Mountain Lookout Tower.  There was even a surprise overnight snow shower!

Pictured Above (L to R): Steve Yonts, Sara Abbott, Jim Houck, Andrew Downs, Trudy Phillips

Annual awards were also presented at SPM. The Virginia clubs presented the Volunteer Partner of the Year to Jim Houck for his tireless efforts serving nearly 10 years as the President of PATH.  The Agency Partner of the Year was awarded to Ted Coffman, retiring Recreation Staff Officer on the GWJeff, for over 20 years of involvement in and support of the A.T. Cooperative Management System.

               Pictured Above (L to R):  Ted Coffman, Andrew Downs, Trudy Phillips
A.T. Community Spotlight: Pearis Mercantile

Have you ever seen this logo in a storefront? If so, you've seen a friendly A.T. Community™ Supporter in one of our region's designated A.T. Communities™! Supporters are non–profits, organizations, and businesses that provide support to the hiking community, the A.T., the local maintaining club and/or the ATC. We'll be highlighting one Supporter each month in this newsletter!

There are lots of good reasons to visit Pearisburg--a hike to Rice Field or Angels Rest or a float on the New River. While you're there, stop in the Pearis Mercantile to thank owner Ann Wheeler for all they do for the A.T. There are two parts of the store: on the left you'll find an eclectic collection of unique gifts from 30 artisan designers--everything from jewelry, stained glass and quilts to wood carvings.

The right side of the store carries supplies and souvenirs for hikers. Pearis Mercantile carries many essential hiking supplies that used to be hard to find in Pearisburg--water treatments, stove fuel, backpacking food, maps and guidebooks, and even some tents, hammocks, and sleeping bags. This time of year, you're likely to meet long distance hikers picking up free postcards, getting their passports stamped and checking out the bulletin board and the "hiker box". Ann and her staff regularly help hikers find rides, lodging, even doctors and other services when needed. Their location nearby the post office and the center of town has made Pearis Mercantile a real hub of trail activity. Thanks for supporting Pearisburg and the A.T., Pearis Mercantile!Join us at an Upcoming Event

There are number of upcoming  opportunities to learn more about the Trail with ATC staff and volunteers.  We hope you can join us at one of these great events!

Pearisburg Community Pre GA.ME Trailfest: May 18
Pearisburg, Virginia

Hikers and Trail enthusiasts from near and far are invited to a festive celebration in the A.T. Community of Pearisburg, Virginia!  If you're on your way to Trail Days in Damascus, be sure to stop over in Pearisburg on Thursday, May 18.

Damascus Trail Days: May 19-21
Damascus, Virginia

The Appalachian Trail Days Festival is an annual event held in Trail Town USA: Damascus, Virginia!  This event celebrates hikers and trail enthusiasts with events, vendors, music and a Hiker Parade!  We hope you can join us for the 31st annual Trail Days this year.

Troutville Trail Days: June 2-3
Troutville, Virginia

The 6th annual celebration will feature favorites such as live music, vendors from near and far, the Hiker Hustle 5K race, and plenty of food, fun, and services for long distance hikers and community members of all ages.

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In This Issue

Pesto Never Tasted So Good

Registration Open for Trail Crew Volunteers

The Trail Karma Initiative

Southern Partnership Recap

Highlighting A.T. Community Supporters

Join us for an Upcoming Event

Crumbsnatcher's Corner

Contact Our Clubs

Crumbsnatcher's Corner: Support the Trail with an A.T. License Plate

When Konnarock Crew season rolls around, I always look forward to riding around in the big crew van with all the volunteers.  This year is even more exciting because there is a brand new Konnarock Trail Crew van for me to ride in, and it sure looks good!  My favorite part is the Virginia AT License Plate, what a great way to support the Trail!

Now, I don't just love these plates because they feature McAfee Knob on them. Funds from each plate purchase are applied to Trail projects by ATC's Virginia Regional Office in cooperation with a task force from the eight Trail Clubs  in Virginia. 

Past projects made possible by license plate funding include open area management in Shenandoah National Park, trail maintenance with the Konnarock Trail Crew, youth outreach, and bridge repair with the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club.  Read more here.

In addition to the A.T. specialty license plate in Virginia, plates are also available in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. Depending on the state, a portion of the cost of each plate (between $10 and $20) is returned to the ATC.

More photos from the
Southern Partnership Meeting:

Volunteer of the Month

​Fred Tutman
ATC Stewardship Council, Potomac A.T. Club

An avid kayaker, backpacker, and environmentalist, Fred Tutman lives near Maryland’s Patuxent River, where his family has farmed and fished for generations.

Since the late 1990s, Fred has volunteered on Appalachian Trail maintenance trips with the Potomac A.T. Club. In 2013, Fred was appointed to ATC’s Stewardship Council and serves on the Council’s Youth and Diversity committee. Council Chair Beth Critton says, “Fred is a champion of environmental justice, who brings to the Council, ATC, and PATC strong and diverse skill sets—a dedicated educator, Trail maintainer, enlightened riverkeeper—and a perspective that enriches us all.”

After more than 20 years as a clean water advocate and volunteer activist, in 2004 Fred became the founding Patuxent Riverkeeper and is currently the only African-American Riverkeeper in the country. Working on a wide range of issues and watershed problems, his organization was instrumental in successful efforts to change the state’s approach to regulating storm water runoff, creating new rules to assist citizens to attain standing in state courts, and obtaining a landmark consent decree with a wastewater utility.

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Upcoming Events

*For more information, contact Kathryn Herndon atkherndon@appalachiantrail.org*
Hiker Happy Hour with OCVT
Blacksburg, VA
-- May 2, 2017 --

Hiker Happy Hour with NBATC
Arrington, VA
-- May 3, 2017 --

Hiker Happy Hour with RATC
Salem, VA
-- May 17, 2017 --

Pearisburg Community Pre GA.ME Trailfest
Pearisburg, VA
-- May 18, 2017 -

31st Annual Trail Days
Damascus, VA
-- May 19-21, 2017 -

Troutville Trail Days
Troutville, VA
-- June 2-3, 2017 -

ATC Biennial
Colby College
Waterville, ME
-- August 4-11, 2017 -


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Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring 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:
Southwest and Central Virginia Regional Office
5162 Valleypointe Parkway
Roanoke VA 24013
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Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club (c). 
P.O. Box 25283 
Richmond, VA 23260-5283
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