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Local
05-24-2006, 12:46
We will be meeting frequently during the coming months to discuss Trail Days 2007. The group now working on the event was assigned the responsibility when the two men who were doing it dropped out due to being defeated in the May 2 election. This group hopes to have open discussions about ways to improve Trail Days, and to (personal opinion) move back to a more hiker-focused event. Below are some of the suggestions I've received from forums such as whiteblaze and trail talk. These suggestions can also be seen at http://www.traildays.info/nextyear.html

Suggestions, general:


1. Limit hiker parade to through-hikers. Question: should section hikers also be included?


2. Limit parade to trail-related groups. Take out the unrelated motorcycles, random individuls, etc. unless the event is related to Trail Days.


3. Consider lockable truck or pod for storage of backpacks. Let church or other group operate as fund-raiser.


4. Include at least three through-hikers on Trail Days Committee. (At least 14 live in Damascus.)


Suggestions, campground (Tent City):


1. Add large billboard with markers for maps, messages, location of groups and individuals.


2. Put slope on fire circle for drainage.


3. Clear out camping areas near creek and make available to groups and individuals, but no reservations.


4. Ditch and gravel areas which become muddy after rain.


5. Clear more parking space, including legal space outside the camping area.


6. Have volunteers on site Tuesday and Wednesday preceding and during opening for walk-ins.


7. Set up committee for naming campground, and include at least two through-hikers.


8. Clarify and monitor vendor parking.


9. Get bigger tent for police at entrance.


10. Have volunteers act as first contact at night with excessively noisy groups.


11. Have porta-johns pumped out frequently, and put foam padding on doors to reduce slamming noises.


Please criticize, modify, enhance, or whatever. These suggestions are just discussion points I will be presenting to the Trail Days Committee over the next few months. The more advice from hikers, the better. If you feel more comfortable e-mail me my address is grsmith03@yahoo.com

Frolicking Dinosaurs
05-24-2006, 13:52
1. Limit hiker parade to through-hikers. Question: should section hikers also be included? Personally, I think section hikers should be included in the parade with thru-hikers from the year they finish the AT.

2. Limit parade to trail-related groups. Take out the unrelated motorcycles, random individuls, etc. unless the event is related to Trail Days. Since this event makes a huge impact on the tiny town, I think it would be wise to continue to include things like the HS band, local clubs and organizations to promote goodwill between the hikers and community. I enjoyed seeing a bit more of what Damascus is made of and the locals watching with us learned a bit about the hiking community.

3. Consider lockable truck or pod for storage of backpacks. Let church or other group operate as fund-raiser. I doubt this would get much use - it just wouldn't work for hikers gear not to be with the hikers.

4. Include at least three through-hikers on Trail Days Committee. (At least 14 live in Damascus.) This has been needed for a while and it will help in your goal of making the event more about hiking.

Suggestions, campground (Tent City):


1. Add large billboard with markers for maps, messages, location of groups and individuals. A list of events similar to the one at the Rock School posted at the camp ground would be helpful.

2. Put slope on fire circle for drainage. Please do.

3. Clear out camping areas near creek and make available to groups and individuals, but no reservations. Excellent idea. I'm not sure if this is feasible, but getting rid of some of the poison ivy would be a blessing,

4. Ditch and gravel areas which become muddy after rain. The swamp got pretty gnarly this year.

5. Clear more parking space, including legal space outside the camping area. Many people park their vehicle for the weekend. It might be possible to allow people to drive in to set up and then park elsewhere by shuttling people from a remote lot to the campground to make more parking available.

9. Get bigger tent for police at entrance. I'm sure they would appreciate more protection and a way to stay warm - a kerosene heater perhaps? These folks aren't as used to dealing with the elements as the hikers. They were damp, freezing and miserable.

10. Have volunteers act as first contact at night with excessively noisy groups. Not sure what is being done now, but it isn't working. Perhaps volunteers from the hiking community could visit first and encourage them to respect the rights of the town folks and other campers to get some sleep.

11. Have porta-johns pumped out frequently, and put foam padding on doors to reduce slamming noises. The Porta-johns nearly overflowed in my area. They need to be pumped daily. I camped near one last year and the slamming kept me up all night, every night.

Uncle Silly
05-24-2006, 16:59
My suggestion (for the Tent City):

#12: Organize volunteers to assist folks in parking, especially at high-traffic times (Friday, maybe Thursday and Saturday as well?). Perhaps use stakes and police-style tape to line out parking areas. The responsibility here is making sure folks park sanely, reduce double-parking, and keeping the roads clear so folks can get into and out of the camping area when needed. Perhaps segregate the small cars and the SUVs into separate sections -- such as a turn in the road, where parking an SUV there might block the road, but parking a 2-door compact wouldn't.

I agree with the Dinosaurs on #5 above -- setting up separate areas for park-and-leave-it and park-for-in-and-out is a good idea.

Jack Tarlin
05-24-2006, 17:23
1. The parade is about fun. Anyone that wants to march should do so. The
Trail isn't for thru-hikers only; neither is Trail Days, neither is the parade.
Anyone that wants to take part should be encouraged to do so.

2. A central mesage board is a good idea. In fact, I'd have several. The
campground is a good location; so is The Place.

3. Having more former thru-hikers on the Committee is an obvious and
eminently sensible idea.

4. Why provide more parking outside the camping area? The whole idea of
the Campground parking fee is to generate fees to help offset the cost
of the event to the town. If people can avoid this, they will, and it'll
cost the town money. A one-time fee (with identifying placard good for
the weekend) works fine. If people don't wanna pay to park at the
campsite, they can walk there. Anything else will cost the town money.

5. Better facilities for the town (and other contributing) police is a great
idea. They do a great job, and turning Damascus into the largest town
in SW Virginia for three days would be impossible without them.

6. Re. porta-johns, they need to be serviced more often, and there should
be more of them, especially downtown and in the park/vendor areas.
Other than a handful of restaurants and retail stores, there are basically
NO public toilet facilities downtown, and at Trail Days this is ridiculous.

7. Re. noisy or obnoxious groups, everything's working just fine....on one
night, I witnessed a town cop coming by, and very politely said "Guys, it's
too late and too loud, can you please tone it down." End of problem.
Volunteer do-gooder groups will cause MORE problems. When a uniformed
officer gives a warning or admonishment, it's followed. And if it isn't, well
to hell with 'em, let them get busted.

Final comment: Great weekend, great Trail Days. Thanks to everyone who lives in Damascus who made it happen, whether officially or informally.

Last thought.....for heaven's sake, return the talent show to Saturday AFTER the parade. It's a fun and popular event for hikers and town's folk alike, and having it shortly after parade's end insures there'll be tons of people in the area, which will improve the event, help the vendors, etc. This has always been one of the most popular events of Trail Days, and all that changing the time has done in the past few years is to cut the audience and hiker participation both. Move it back to fifteen minutes AFTER the parade ends on Saturday afternoon, and it'll make for a great time. It wasn't broke before, and the "fixin'" did nothing positive.

Uncle Silly
05-24-2006, 17:33
Gotta agree about the talent show being after the parade -- that's a knockout combo right there.

Was the uber-long auction necessary?

Local
05-24-2006, 18:13
I've incorporated many of your ideas into the list on http://www.traildays.info/nextyear.html There will be ongoing discussions, I'm sure, but some things like moving the talent show until after the parade have very strong support. Ms. Janet brought this up earlier and I got no response from the two guys running the show, but now they are gone, no comment. There's a new sheriff in town, literally. Through-hiker Sheriff who runs the Baja along with Becky is on the committee. But they're opening a new Baja in a nearby town and will be busy so we need more through-hikers. Thanks for the ideas and I will include any others that appear here.

Local
05-24-2006, 18:16
Is there a website for Bob Peoples and Kincora and/or Hardcore? I find lots of references but no website. I want to do a feature on Bob for the Trail Days site.

Footslogger
05-24-2006, 18:22
Is there a website for Bob Peoples and Kincora and/or Hardcore? I find lots of references but no website. I want to do a feature on Bob for the Trail Days site.
========================
No ...Bob does not have a website. If want to speak with him you need to call Kincora.

'Slogger

Lone Wolf
05-24-2006, 18:22
I've incorporated many of your ideas into the list on http://www.traildays.info/nextyear.html There will be ongoing discussions, I'm sure, but some things like moving the talent show until after the parade have very strong support. Ms. Janet brought this up earlier and I got no response from the two guys running the show, but now they are gone, no comment. There's a new sheriff in town, literally. Through-hiker Sheriff who runs the Baja along with Becky is on the committee. But they're opening a new Baja in a nearby town and will be busy so we need more through-hikers. Thanks for the ideas and I will include any others that appear here.
I guess maybe I'll get somewhat involved. I've only been to 16 Trail Days.

Frosty
05-24-2006, 18:55
I guess maybe I'll get somewhat involved. Famous last words. First a commitee, then a town official, county, next thing you know you're a state representative. Within ten years you'll probably be a Congressman.....

You're embarking on the road to perdition, Wolf.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
05-24-2006, 19:06
I wasn't proposing a place for people to park to avoid the $15 fee, but a place away from the campground where cars (with placards) could be parked after people dropped their stuff off at their campsites. I didn't take the $15 fee to be a parking fee, but a fee for use of the camp facilities. I don't mind paying extra so the thru-hikers can stay free - they're what it's all about.

I'd vote for Wolf for president - he's a better man than any of the choices we've had in a decade or so....

Cookerhiker
05-24-2006, 19:24
First of all, much thanks to you and other Damascans for all your hard work to make Trail Days a success and so much fun, and I commend you for looking for ways to improve and seeking our input.

You have many good ideas already except I disagree with limiting the parade to thru-hikers only. All right, I'm a section hiker 2,000 miler myself but I've found at least on this forum that the vast majority of responders hold much respect for us "lowly" section hikers; in fact, they don't consider us lowly. I completed the Trail last year my finishing my 700 miles of "missing" sections, including the last 300 miles to Maine where I met many 2005 thrus. All of them respected my accomplishment and made me feel welcome.

One other suggestion: you may want to diversify some of the forums. There's no reason to limit forum/discussion leaders to old-hand alleged "experts" who often let pomposity and pretentiousness hamper their effectiveness. How about more forums led by recent and/or younger hikers? How about a discussion between a NOBO and SOBO comparing their challenges? Or getting the perspectives of a diversity of hikers by age and gender. Or a diversity by season, i.e. those who choose to attain their 2,000 miles in winter or other times off the "normal" season? Or diversity by gear and pack weight, comparing ultra light with non-light with old-style. The point is get creative with what forums you feature and who the presenters are.

Again, thanks for your efforts. Looking forward to Trail Days 2007!

Catsgoing
05-24-2006, 19:26
:sun I wasn't at Trail Days.

The pictures that have been posted showed a lot of big smiles.

To me it looked a bit confusing looking @ the pictures.

:sun You should have a sign in board and sign for White Blaze. And Volunteer's way before the next Trail Days should always be in place and one White Blaze Commander! For questions.

:sun It would crush the kids and all the others who walked the parade. They looked like they had a blast with squirt guns etc. So don't band hikers.

:sun I feel the parade should just be hikers... Carrying a sign of what you hiked. i.e. Section, Weekender's, Thru Hikers. I wouldn't but it by year it would make the parade very long..


Pass out squirt guns or beads as you go by so the spectators can be involved. They shouldn't be in parade.

Have a group to carry a Hammock Another for Tents That makes two more groups. Of course have a sign (Banner so the spectators know your a Hammock Hanger and The other group is Tenter's)
We had a Christmas Parade I am a Kayak and we planned how to go with the flow of the big yachts and so on..... Volunteers are so important and have to be willing to be at the post you feel they are needed......

Looked like a great city and nothing made the news of trouble in Florida News .........


Also have Rest Room Volunteer Posted @ The Potty. LOL

Just some thoughts....... From A WOMEN WHO WOULD HAVE LOVED TO BE WITH ALL OF YOU!

WalkinHome
05-24-2006, 20:44
What Jack said.

Local
05-24-2006, 21:56
I've added a page of hiker comments, direct quotes, which I think the Trail Days committee needs to have. All of your comments are not on this page, but many of them are: http://www.traildays.info/tdcomments.html Later I'll review the suggestions and add things I've left out this time around.

attroll
05-25-2006, 01:49
Suggestions, general:

1. Limit hiker parade to through-hikers. Question: should section hikers also be included?
This is my out take on this and my opinion only.

I have never march in the Trail Days parade and I personally feel that that should be an honor left to a current thru hikers and thru hiker only and people who have completed the trail whether is be by sections, but have completed it.

If you start letting everyone that want to march in the parade then you would have a mile long line of hikers.

I think the hikers that have been marching in it are mostly thru hikers and I know that the day I do march in it that I will hold that as a high honor. I think you would take away that honor if you started letting every Tom, Dick and Henry and Jane march in it.

That is how I look at it.

Lone Wolf
05-25-2006, 06:52
The parade ain't broke. Don't fix it. Let it go on as usual. Thru-hikers ain't special. I don't watch it anymore so I really don't care.

SGT Rock
05-25-2006, 09:08
Suggestions, general:


1. Limit hiker parade to through-hikers. Question: should section hikers also be included?

2. Limit parade to trail-related groups. Take out the unrelated motorcycles, random individuls, etc. unless the event is related to Trail Days.

Naw, all hikers are hikers. Let anyone that hikes walk. Others that may want to go with them like their kids, or trail angel wife that supported them on the hike were just as important to the hiker as the friends on the trail. Besides, who would be able to enforce it or even try. Too easy to leave it as is.


3. Consider lockable truck or pod for storage of backpacks. Let church or other group operate as fund-raiser.

I don't know who would use it, but you could try it at the campsite and see if it is used by anyone. Something like that may be as easy as simply providing covered plastic storage bins and someone to watch them with a claim number for each bin - it wouldn't have to be anything fancy. So if a hiker wants to put their gear somewhere where is will stay watched and dry while they walk around at Trail Days, they can so so and have peace of mind. Then when he/she comes back to the campsite they can turn in a claim ticket and get their gear back - it could help cut down on petty theivery.



4. Include at least three through-hikers on Trail Days Committee. (At least 14 live in Damascus.)

Thru-Hikers on the board seems like a good idea. I bet you could get them to show up by just offering free food. Actually I am supprised this isn't normal policy


Suggestions, campground (Tent City):


1. Add large billboard with markers for maps, messages, location of groups and individuals.

That is a good idea. It would also help if the board did not allow advertisements that would only confuse it and clog it up


2. Put slope on fire circle for drainage.

Actually I would look into a few shallow tenches for drainage around the entire area and also rope off places where you do not want car traffic to cut down on people creating more erosion inside the camp area.



3. Clear out camping areas near creek and make available to groups and individuals, but no reservations.
Just my observation, but I don't like crowds and have avoided spending the night in the campsite because of this. I think it would be a good idea to have an area that is seperate from the main campsite where hikers that want to have some quiet time when they are done visiting can go to camp that is still resonably close to the sites that have groups. This way you don't have to worry about people beating drums at the fire circle keeping people awake. Just a thought, don't know how reasonable it is to do.



4. Ditch and gravel areas which become muddy after rain.
Agree, and (see above) limit car traffic to other areas inside the camp ground.



5. Clear more parking space, including legal space outside the camping area.Just me, but I would be willing to pay for the space outside the camp as well. The times I have been there in a car I have paid to get a pass, but don't want the hassle of driving in and trying to get back out sometimes. So if you do like Jack suggested and just had a parking pass system and extended the leagal spots to the outside of the camp it would be fine with me.


6. Have volunteers on site Tuesday and Wednesday preceding and during opening for walk-ins.


7. Set up committee for naming campground, and include at least two through-hikers.
It needs a name?

8. Clarify and monitor vendor parking.


9. Get bigger tent for police at entrance.
Outstanding idea. They deserve some conideration



10. Have volunteers act as first contact at night with excessively noisy groups.Just my opinion, but you are asking for trouble with this idea. There are people that think anyone without position of authority is trying to be Barney Fife (see other threads on WB) when they remind folks of the rules. Sure some people think a remider from the Cops are "hassleing" them, but they will get over it since the police are already there, are VERY polite in my experience, and do have authority. Honestly I love the way those guys do a professional job at keeping the peace while doing it peacfully.



11. Have porta-johns pumped out frequently, and put foam padding on doors to reduce slamming noises.
Well it makes sense, just don't get into trouble with a contractor providing the facilities by modifying their equipment.

Other thoughts...

Get Dots to open earlier on the weekend :D

Have the tallent contest on Saturday afternoon after the parade, folks love it. Sunday was bad because some of us cut out to go to places like Kincora for Hard Core on Sunday afternoon.

Other than that, I have a good time. It seems that whatever happens, the hikers still hang out with hikers and make it a hiker centered event for themselves. Keep up the good work.

Krewzer
05-25-2006, 10:59
1. Limit hiker parade to through-hikers. Question: should section hikers also be included?
It's a celebration, so everyone celebrates....no such thing as too big a parade.

2. Limit parade to trail-related groups. Take out the unrelated motorcycles, random individuls, etc. unless the event is related to Trail Days.
Same answer as #1.

3. Consider lockable truck or pod for storage of backpacks. Let church or other group operate as fund-raiser.
I don't think this would be practical.

4. Include at least three through-hikers on Trail Days Committee. (At least 14 live in Damascus.)
Good idea. Put some young folks on it also, especially the under 30 crowd if you can get them.

Suggestions, campground (Tent City):


1. Add large billboard with markers for maps, messages, location of groups and individuals.
Or several smaller ones.

2. Put slope on fire circle for drainage.
Good idea

3. Clear out camping areas near creek and make available to groups and individuals, but no reservations.
Is it possible to designate a quiet area somewhere?

4. Ditch and gravel areas which become muddy after rain.
Sounds like the first step toward "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot!"
Declare them "wetlands" have a bog bridge building workshop :-)

5. Clear more parking space, including legal space outside the camping area.
??? I like the parking outside the camp idea, mainly to get auto and foot traffic separated.

6. Have volunteers on site Tuesday and Wednesday preceding and during opening for walk-ins.
No opin.

7. Set up committee for naming campground, and include at least two through-hikers.
I'm not sure exactly what you're asking. A name just related to Trail Days or a name for the park itself. Since it belongs (I think) to the town of Damascus, it sounds like a local issue. The hiker community will probably call it what they want anyway during Trail Days. (I heard it was mostly called the Swamp this year.)

8. Clarify and monitor vendor parking.
No opinion

9. Get bigger tent for police at entrance.
Great idea

10. Have volunteers act as first contact at night with excessively noisy groups.
I wouldn't want to be that volunteer. Let the local authorities handle it when they think it needs to handled.

11. Have porta-johns pumped out frequently, and put foam padding on doors to reduce slamming noises.
YES!!!!

Touch of Grey
05-25-2006, 16:47
More dirt and grass seed for next year so that pitching a tent on the ground would not be such a hassle. Most of 'Tent City' has limited topsoil to pound stakes into (Stones and Bricks buried beneath the soil only the top inch is actually soil.). If it could be done, then a mounding and ditching of the area to facilitate runoff of rain would also help. Thursday night when the storm hit about 8PM quite a few people's tents blew away because they could not secure them adequately to the ground. Saturday morning no one was immune from waking to at least an inch of rain out the door of their tents.

Other than that, it was my first TDz and I enjoyed it. Looking forward to next year when I'll be thru-hiking. Now I just gotta figure out how I'm gonna get back south for TD weekend.

Lone Wolf
05-25-2006, 17:29
There is no top soil because toxic waste from the dye plant was dumped all over the campground site years ago. They removed most of the soil in the clean up effort.

Skidsteer
05-25-2006, 17:35
There is no top soil because toxic waste from the dye plant was dumped all over the campground site years ago. They removed most of the soil in the clean up effort.

That explains my double vision. :rolleyes:

Lone Wolf
05-25-2006, 17:46
Nah. That's from the shi**y moonshine that was going around.:cool:

Local
05-25-2006, 23:57
Here's a link to a story about Beaver Chemical Works:

http://www.colorantshistory.org/BeaverChemicalWorks.html

Excerpt: "The Damascus plant was located on a 55-acre tract within the corporate limits of Damascus, Virginia. The property fronted on Beaver Dam Creek for a distance of one mile, with property width varying up to a maximum of 875 feet. All manufacturing facilities were located on a 5-acre plot at the north end of the property."

"The site was remediated in accordance with EPA regulations. Bayer gifted the site to the Town of Damascus in 1998."

Local
05-26-2006, 00:05
The group that was responsible for Trail Days this year met unofficially tonight and the leadership will be turned over to some veteran hikers and younger folks who also are into hiking. Three or four Damascus through-hikers will be invited to provide guidance and be on the committee.

Unofficially, the talent show is now moved until after the parade, and several other suggestions made by members of this whiteblaze group were adopted. After July 1 the new town council takes office and an official committee will be appointed, and then the changes can be made.

http://www.traildays.info/nextyear.html

attroll
05-26-2006, 00:37
Keep up the good work Local.

Jack Tarlin
05-26-2006, 11:12
Local---

Thanks for everything you do; also thanks for seeking out input from others and considering our suggestions!

Frolicking Dinosaurs
05-26-2006, 12:29
Another thank you for what you are doing and for soliciting input from the hikers and putting local thru-hikers on the committee.

Local
05-26-2006, 12:37
aattroll and Jack Tarlin, thanks, and in turn we appreciate the openness of this whiteblaze group. As I mentioned earlier, Trail Days was run by a couple of politicians who didn't let other volunteers get involved, and in the May 2 election they were defeated and refused to participate in any town activities. The group of volunteers I'm with was asked by the mayor to run Trail Days, this about 10 days before the event. It was an interesting time. In the future we will have several hikers, both through-hikers and others, on the committee. With this influence and whiteblaze and the ATC and others providing advice, we hope to emphasize more strongly the trail and hiker aspects of Appalachian Trail Days. This will be an ongoing processs, so please feel free to jump in any time. For example, we will be looking for younger presenters next year, and ideas for new presentations.

Local
05-26-2006, 12:39
Whoa, hey, Frolicking, we overlapped notes, so I thank you also. Plus I spelled your name incorrectly on my photo show but am not sure how to change it. Mea culpa. www.traildays.info/photos.html

Red Hat
05-29-2006, 11:53
At first I wasn't going to walk in the parade, since I didn't finish my hike yet. But almost all the hikers I knew from 05 said that I "had to" walk with them. When I signed the banner, I signed it "Red Hat 750 miles so far". Just being in the company of my friends was awesome! The bond of hiking together isn't cut because I didn't finish. If it offended anyone that I was there, I apologize.

Cookerhiker
06-03-2006, 21:18
aattroll and Jack Tarlin, thanks, and in turn we appreciate the openness of this whiteblaze group. As I mentioned earlier, Trail Days was run by a couple of politicians who didn't let other volunteers get involved, and in the May 2 election they were defeated and refused to participate in any town activities. The group of volunteers I'm with was asked by the mayor to run Trail Days, this about 10 days before the event. It was an interesting time. In the future we will have several hikers, both through-hikers and others, on the committee. With this influence and whiteblaze and the ATC and others providing advice, we hope to emphasize more strongly the trail and hiker aspects of Appalachian Trail Days. This will be an ongoing processs, so please feel free to jump in any time. For example, we will be looking for younger presenters next year, and ideas for new presentations.

Thanks again and best of luck to you.

bfitz
06-09-2006, 14:58
The parade should be anyone who wants to go down the road. It's always been a blast. Changing it now would be beyond pointless. Who'd enforce the rules, anyway?

Elsewise, I agree with Jacks post completely. If you managed to get hassled by the police during trail days you definitly deserved it.

bfitz
06-09-2006, 15:05
Trail days was great, and will be even better next year, I have no doubt.

Krewzer
06-09-2006, 17:02
Thanks for what all you folks do in Damascus. See you next year...if not sooner.

Lone Wolf
12-26-2006, 14:08
Hey Local, refrigerator on thebackpacker.com says you're allowing him and others to set up camp early in the campground this coming Trail Days. So is that offer good for everybody driving in? Seems fair if it is.