Clarke County Opens Expanded parking near A.T.

Star staff reports
May 14, 2018

berryville parking lotBERRYVILLE — After months of planning and waiting for appropriate conditions for construction, an expanded parking lot is now open in Clarke County near the Appalachian Trail, just in time for the busy hiking season. The parking lot is north of Va. 7 (Harry Byrd Highway) and east of the village of Pine Grove.

Previously, only about 10 cars could fit in a small, gravel parking lot off Route 679 at Raven Rocks, an access point to the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail. Construction of a much larger lot began in November 2017 and was completed on May 8. The larger lot can now accommodate 30 vehicles or more.

“We are really pleased to open an expanded parking lot for residents and visitors who want to enjoy the Appalachian Trail,” said Alison Teetor, natural resource planner for Clarke County who oversaw the project. “The Board of Supervisors recognized a need based on an increasingly dangerous situation and decided to fund the expansion.”

The 5.5-mile Raven Rocks stretch of the Appalachian Trail is popular with day hikers. But once the small lot was full, too many people parked their vehicles along the shoulders of Pine Grove Road (Route 679) and Va. 7. That practice is dangerous and — as indicated by numerous “No Parking” signs — illegal.

Solving the problem took money as well as collaboration between the Clarke County Board of Supervisors and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which is responsible for state-owned roads. The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club helped identify the boundaries for an expanded lot as it is the organization that cares for the trail in Maryland and West Virginia as well as parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia, including the 22 miles of trail in Clarke County.

Last year, VDOT engineers looked at the Raven Rocks area and determined there was enough existing right-of-way to create a lot that could accommodate between 25 and 35 vehicles. VDOT did not have funds in its budget to finance the parking lot expansion, but the Board of Supervisors was keen to improve parking and safety near the trail for everyone — hikers, residents and people driving through the area.

In November, the Clarke County Board of Supervisors approved a $7,100 expenditure to clear the land. The second phase — grading and gravel — waited until early spring. The supervisors approved an additional $8,200 bringing the total project cost to $15,300.

In January, the Board of Supervisors took another step to improve safety on county roads when it amended the Clarke County Code related to illegally parked vehicles. The supervisors began looking at the code last fall in response to concerns expressed by residents, visitors and the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office about dangerous parking situations along roads.

Now, the new code gives law enforcement officers the option of issuing citations or having vehicles towed when they are illegally parked. Previously, all law enforcement officers could do was call for tow trucks.

After the parking ordinance was amended, the supervisors asked VDOT to install more “No Parking” signs along roads such as Va. 7 near the Appalachian Trail as well as heavily traveled spots along U.S. 50, U.S. 340 and Lockes Mill Road.

Raven Rocks is one of four Appalachian Trail access points in Clarke County, where 22 miles of the AT run along the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2015, Clarke County was officially recognized as an Appalachian Trail Community by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The Appalachian Trail Community program helps communities generate awareness of the iconic trail as well as preserve and protect the AT.

The Appalachian Trail, which was conceived by forester Benton MacKaye in 1921, is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world.

Upper Valley Land Trust Preserves Norwich Parcel | Valley News

Norwich — “The Upper Valley Land Trust says it has acquired conservation easements to protect more than 70 acres of open space in the hilly terrain near the Norwich-Hartford town line, helping to expand a greenway of conserved land near the Appalachian Trail corridor.”

Source: Upper Valley Land Trust Preserves Norwich Parcel | Valley News

Next Gen Advice for the Trail

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Be a Stewardship Hero   *  Build Community     *   Inspire Future Adventures

Next Generation Advisory Council

The world-famous Appalachian Trail (A.T.), with its unparalleled scenic beauty and opportunities for adventure, can’t take care of itself. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) and the National Park Service are charged with protecting the Trail, now and for future generations. We need YOU to advise us on how to reach the next generation of Trail guardians and engage them in protecting this wondrous Trail.  Become a member of the Next Generation Advisory Council and help us build a powerful voice for the People’s Path: The Appalachian Trail!

What is the Next Generation Advisory Council?
The Next Generation Advisory Council, under the tutelage of the ATC Stewardship Council, helps to shape policies, campaigns, and strategies in order to safeguard the Appalachian Trail’s future as a recreational, environmental, historical, and wellness asset for the world.

Expectations
The Next Generation Advisory Council will create a mission, vision, governance structure, and descriptive role for current and future Council members to follow.

To support the goal of broader relevancy, a facet of ATC’s new Strategic Plan, the 10-member Council will:

  • Find pathways to increase youth involvement within ATC and on the Trail
  • Add and strengthen diverse participation in ATC’s management structure
  • Provide opportunities for youth to contribute to, experience, and learn from Trail managers and partners
  • Advise and inform ATC on partnership opportunities
  • Be ambassadors and leaders for A.T. stewardship in their communities
  • Infuse a younger and more diverse voice into ATC programs and policies designed to encourage membership, advocacy, and leadership

 Training

  • Council members will participate in a Training and Orientation workshop weekend which will include:
    • An introduction to the Cooperative Management System
    • Workshops on the conservation and stewardship concerns of the A.T.
    • Leave No Trace education and trail maintenance stewardship

Commitment and Qualifications

  • One year term commitment
  • Communicate quarterly via Skype meetings
  • Must be between the ages of 18-30
  • Attend training meeting (tentatively May 5-6), and -if funding allows- the Volunteer Leadership Meeting August 26-28.

 Benefits

Next Generation Advisory Council members will join an organization that has worked cooperatively for more than 90 years with land managers and agencies, non-profits, communities, and thousands of volunteers. Professional development includes the opportunity to learn from ATC staff, as well as members of ATC’s Stewardship Council, Regional Partnership Committees, 31 Trail Maintaining Clubs, leaders in designated AT Communities, and agency partners.  Questions? Contact Julie Judkins jjudkins@appalachiantrail.org

Preview application here
Apply here

 

New Town Manager in Monson

The fact that Monson is a favorite destination for Appalachian Trail hikers was another factor in Butler’s decision to pursue a job in the community. “The AT is the town’s biggest asset,” he said. “So I’m going to do what I can to help bring new business to the community.” – Posted from Bangor Daily News article 

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Read more about the new Town Manager in the Bangor Daily News article here.

 

Hanover Shines!

“Not just stewards of this strip of land that runs through Norwich and Hanover, they are a caring community dedicated to creating the A.T. experience for others, whether they are through hikers trekking the whole length, section hikers tackling a section of the trail, or day hikers out for recreation.”

Hanover was featured in the latest issue of A.T. Journeys. Click here to read about the amazing volunteer efforts going on there!

2014 Warrior Hike Comes to Millinocket

                On Saturday, September 13, 2014 Sean Gobin, Marine combat veteran and founder of Warrior Hike, spoke at the Trails End Festival in Millinocket, Maine. Warrior Hike provides returning combat veterans a therapeutic experience to transition to civilian life and come to terms with their wartime experiences through thru-hiking a national scenic trail and connecting with the outdoors. Warrior Hike began in 2012 with Gobin’s thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail and has experienced significant growth.

This year marked the first year in the program’s history that Warrior hikers were on the Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. The growth of the program from the AT to other national scenic trails is an exciting development. Four Warrior Hikers who thru-hiked the AT were in attendance, having summited Katahdin the previous day, and represented each branch of the US military, with the exception of the Coast Guard.

Gobin also announced an expansion of Warrior Hike. Veterans, specifically those injured while serving and are unable to hike, expressed an interest in a similar opportunity to connect with the outdoors to help them heal mentally from their wartime experiences. The result will be Warrior Paddle, which will entail paddling the entire length of the Mississippi River.

                For more information on Warrior Hike or to learn how to support them, visit warriorhike.org

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See pictures on their Facebook Site: https://www.facebook.com/warriorhike

ATC Hiring a VISTA in Maine!

 

Position Title Appalachian Trail Community VISTA
Location Millinocket, Maine
Supervisors ATC Community Program Manager – Project SupervisorSite Supervisor – Maine Community Committee

All interested Candidates must send cover letter and resume including references to jjudkins@appalachiantrail.org ASAP.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) CONSERVATION DEPARTMENTAL MISSION

Permanent protection and sensitive stewardship of the Appalachian Trail footpath and associated resources through effective implementation of a cooperative management system involving ATC, Trail maintaining clubs, and public-agency partners.

More information on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy: www.appalachiantrail.org

Project Goal

The Appalachian Trail Community VISTA in Millinocket will develop programs to bring Appalachian Trail Communities together by fostering a regional identity around outdoor recreation based tourism, and promoting sustainable economic development. With a more deliberate and wider reach promoting the outdoor recreation opportunities, supporting local volunteer organizations through building capacity and volunteer opportunities around those recreation assets, the community can build on the economic advantage of the growing trend and get more youth to experience the community.

Focused VISTA Goals

  • Create opportunities for underserved populations, particularly at-risk youth to participate in experiential outdoor learning on public lands.  These educational opportunities will raise awareness of the economic opportunity presented by continued study, employment, and careers in conservation related fields.
  • Resource Development Grant Writing and Fundraising Strategies
  • Research, Strategic Planning, Community Engagement and Partnership Development

Job requirements

Bachelors degree, good communication skills, familiarity with computers, ability to work in a challenging and changing environment, flexibility and adaptability, self-motivation and a willingness to live in a rural Appalachian community.

GIS, environmental monitoring, community organizing, economic development and experience with the A.T. are desired.

Duration: VISTA is a year of service
Start Date:  Pre-Service Orientation training starts August 11; onsite in mid-August
Hours: Full Time (no external employment is permitted)

This position is not a staff position and does not include a salary; rather, it provides a living allowance of approximately $900 a month.  It includes health insurance, child care assistance, and an education award valued at or $5,645 or a cash stipend of $1,500 at the end of service.  Candidates relocating more than 50 miles for service are eligible for $550 relocation/settling in allowance.

DOI/VISTA – Department of the Interior Volunteer in Service to America. The VISTA program was started by President Johnson as the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps.  VISTA seeks to alleviate poverty and build the capacity of those trying to do so.

Training – There are two trainings per year to advance the professional development of its VISTA members and their supervisors.  These trainings help VISTA’s to utilize the Conservation Legacy network by meeting fellow VISTAs in person.  The spring training is for VISTAs only and the fall training brings Supervisors and VISTA Members together. DOI/VISTA sites will be expected to participate in training and all expenses are covered.

VISTA volunteers are placed in communities to build capacity, empower citizens and community volunteers, and create a network of support that otherwise would not exist among isolated, rural communities. We use national service as a local solution and bring measurable results to the communities we serve. VISTAs have been developing ad hoc committees and local collaborative groups with participation from concerned citizens, local businesses and political decision-makers, and agencies regionally and statewide to identify economic and environmental problems and their sources. Through these grassroots engagements, communities implement successful projects and develop citizen-driven solutions by working with leaders in the community who will support these projects in the long-term future. Striving for sustainability, the Teams build capacity by recruiting and training community volunteers who are invested locally and able to continue addressing recovery and revitalization in their own communities. To guide the Volunteers in their service, the Teams have developed 5 core goals:

  •  Build Local Capacity
  • Engage Economic Redevelopment
  • Promote Environmental Stewardship
  • Enhance Outreach and Education
  • Promote Professional Development