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  1. #61
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
    I would like to thank the ATC, GATC, US Forest Service and David Stelts for requesting/orchestrating volunteers to help in this HUGE project.

    I drove 9 hours to volunteer and am part of TATC and ALDHA . Volunteers (men and women) from PATC and Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club also drove many hours to be part of this project. Experts figured out how to manage larger amounts of hikers and came up with this plan. The side trail is at least an hour drive on gravel roads and at least a 45 min hike up and down several hills to get to so I do not expect hordes of party animals. There is not a big area of tent sites but as you walk down the side trail widely dispersed tent pads that are carved into steep slopes are all along the way so the first there get the close ones. The pads are 10 x 12 feet so several 1 man tents can fit or 2 larger tents. Widow makers were cut down so there is less chance of a tree falling on a site. Remember strong healthy trees can and do also fall. It took about 50 volunteers from the GATC to cut in the new trail, I along with others cut in 13 of 30 pads to be built. Most pads cannot see the other sites but in winter with colorful tents they may be visible. There will be a smoldering privy that will be HUGE about half way along the trail, at the end is a YEAR ROUND spring. These sites are grand and have a great view. With time and a bit of perfecting they will be flat, no rocks, no roots and not dished out mud puddles. Of course right now they are frozen dirt. Oh by the way it was 11 degrees and I do not think it got above 32. Millions of rocks were dug out and millions of roots were cut. 200 Army Rangers have also volunteered to bring in all the parts of the privy. Please join clubs and volunteer for projects like this and be a part of change.
    Wow, quite an undertaking. Sounds like a well planned and executed project. You all deserve a lot of thanks for your efforts.

  2. #62
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    I stayed at Hawk Mountain shelter (and several others south of Fontana) when it was not thru-hiker season. I was hiking with my then 10-year-old son. There were around 10 section hikers in the vicinity, some in the shelter, some not. The area was clean and everyone on site was kind and respectful. Too bad for all the generalizations, when there are (as usual) a few ruining it for the rest of us.


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
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  3. #63
    imscotty's Avatar
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    I view this as a positive development. It should discourage the unprepared and perhaps help disperse large groups of hikers. I suspect that this is an experiment that you may see expanded upon throughout the Georgia section.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    This......

    Besides Hawk Mountain doesn't exactly feel like wilderness when you're being lulled to sleep by nearby suppressive fire. (Not that I minded, I was perfectly happy to know that Army Rangers are nearby)
    On a good night at home, I am soothed and lulled to sleep by suppressive fire, indirect fire, and the sweet, sweet sounds of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft flying overhead (I live near Fort Bragg and my house is along a flight corridor).
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep."

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumpMaster Blaster View Post
    On a good night at home, I am soothed and lulled to sleep by suppressive fire, indirect fire, and the sweet, sweet sounds of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft flying overhead (I live near Fort Bragg and my house is along a flight corridor).

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... no wait, that's a different story ... I lived near Iron Mike and the club.
    76 HawkMtn w/Rangers
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    18-19 AT NOBO 1540.5

  6. #66

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    I think people are too glued to the shelter areas early on. When I did the GA section, I didn't spend one night in or around a shelter. There were so many wonderful camp spots all along the trail. I don't think I could walk more than 15 minutes without hitting one.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't--you're right--Henry Ford; The Journey Is The Destination

  7. #67
    Registered User FatMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imscotty View Post
    I view this as a positive development. It should discourage the unprepared and perhaps help disperse large groups of hikers. I suspect that this is an experiment that you may see expanded upon throughout the Georgia section.
    I do believe this was a major consideration in the decision making process. This now leaves only Stover Creek and Gooch Mtn in the first 25 miles. And Stover is too short for day one and Gooch is too long for most on day one. That leaves these new tent pads and tent pads at Justus Creek and all the non official trail side campsites. This pretty much makes night one without a shelter and will disperse the crowd first day.

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Tearing down shelters because of overuse!! The logical response would be to build more shelters.
    Or in this case tent pads. Seems silly to tear down the shelter which will concentrate the impact.

  9. #69
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    I hope that this dispersed tent pad idea works but I'm leery that it just spreads damage over a wider area. Personally I'd rather concentrate the damage and improve the area by adding tent row pads on the barren areas. As well, charge a nominal fee to cover the cost of a caretaker and keeping the shelter in shape.

  10. #70

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    The problem as I see it is the ideation that the trail needs to be hiked in one shot starting in March, April or May. Loose that style, solve many problems.

  11. #71
    Registered User Grampie's Avatar
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    The thought behind removing Hawk Mtn. shelter may be that if the beginning of the trail in Georgia is made a little less hiker friendly a lot of the mystique of being a thru-hiker would diminish the amount of hikers.
    Grampie-N->2001

  12. #72
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Split the AT into two paths from Springer to Davenport Gap - one following the modern routing, the other using parts of the BMT and original AT and/or some new trail. This could cut the impact in half all the way from Springer through GSMNP. Yeah, I know, BMT fans wouldn't be happy.

  13. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    Split the AT into two paths from Springer to Davenport Gap - one following the modern routing, the other using parts of the BMT and original AT and/or some new trail. This could cut the impact in half all the way from Springer through GSMNP. Yeah, I know, BMT fans wouldn't be happy.
    cool concept right here
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  14. #74
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Wonderful,
    So only 50 out of 1000 folks are gunna trash the trail. That's just about enough to fill every shelter in Georgia. The point to all of this is how to educate the 5%, and not just deal with it.
    Unfortunately, some of that 5% have no interested in being educated, they just want to do anything that gives them instant gratification and are also lazy to the bone. How do WBers think they should be dealt with?

    Lone Wolf's suggestion to put caretakers at each shelter in GA has merit, at least in the Spring. But is that enough?

  15. #75
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1234 View Post
    I would like to thank the ATC, GATC, US Forest Service and David Stelts for requesting/orchestrating volunteers to help in this HUGE project.

    I drove 9 hours to volunteer and am part of TATC and ALDHA . Volunteers (men and women) from PATC and Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club also drove many hours to be part of this project. Experts figured out how to manage larger amounts of hikers and came up with this plan. The side trail is at least an hour drive on gravel roads and at least a 45 min hike up and down several hills to get to so I do not expect hordes of party animals. There is not a big area of tent sites but as you walk down the side trail widely dispersed tent pads that are carved into steep slopes are all along the way so the first there get the close ones. The pads are 10 x 12 feet so several 1 man tents can fit or 2 larger tents. Widow makers were cut down so there is less chance of a tree falling on a site. Remember strong healthy trees can and do also fall. It took about 50 volunteers from the GATC to cut in the new trail, I along with others cut in 13 of 30 pads to be built. Most pads cannot see the other sites but in winter with colorful tents they may be visible. There will be a smoldering privy that will be HUGE about half way along the trail, at the end is a YEAR ROUND spring. These sites are grand and have a great view. With time and a bit of perfecting they will be flat, no rocks, no roots and not dished out mud puddles. Of course right now they are frozen dirt. Oh by the way it was 11 degrees and I do not think it got above 32. Millions of rocks were dug out and millions of roots were cut. 200 Army Rangers have also volunteered to bring in all the parts of the privy. Please join clubs and volunteer for projects like this and be a part of change.

    This sounds very much like what I wrote about in post #20 (page 1) of this thread. Glad to see this being done in a place that sorely needed it. Jeff Marion would be beaming!

    Just so you know: even a campus of tentsites like this, built into sidehill, will need occasional maintenance. Weather can cause erosion on the individual tentsites which should not be left unchecked. Plus the usual site cleanup and rehabbing of the moldering privy. But it shouldn't take more than two worktrips per year vs. many more for a shelter near the trail or worse yet also near a road.

  16. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampie View Post
    The thought behind removing Hawk Mtn. shelter may be that if the beginning of the trail in Georgia is made a little less hiker friendly a lot of the mystique of being a thru-hiker would diminish the amount of hikers.
    But no one is going to know that until they get there. Is the hope that people will get discouraged the first or second day out, then turn around and go home? I don't see that as being very likely. At least no more then usual.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  17. #77
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampie View Post
    The thought behind removing Hawk Mtn. shelter may be that if the beginning of the trail in Georgia is made a little less hiker friendly a lot of the mystique of being a thru-hiker would diminish the amount of hikers.
    No, not at all. Nobody wants to be unfriendly to hikers. Just the opposite, to have a privy that is open and not piled up to the seat, to have LEVEL cool tent sites. 30 tent sites - - a huge privy - - - dependable "spring" not creek, well away from the tent sites and privy. Last year March ~ 9th I stayed in Hawk shelter, just before dark only 1 other person was in the shelter, however the place was a campground of tents most on slopes in mud holes etc. late comers did fill up the shelter but the majority of hikers did not want to stay in the shelter for fear of whatever. The new setup is much more friendly to hikers.

    Some one needed to do something about 50 plus hikers concentrated in flat areas the first few days on the trail. I think the approach taken may work if not try try again. I am not sure where the rumor started about Hawk shelter coming down, I have not heard it was scheduled for demo, I think they just want to lessen the impact of the Hawk mt shelter area. Oh the new Hawk "campground" will have metal bear boxes, no cables. The bears figured out the cables (hikers use them incorrectly). OH and by the way there will be this year 5 overseers one to stay at Hawk and one for the campground. 24/7 during hiker season.

    Did you think about this? Most folks cook to much food night 1 and 2 on the trail so they dump it in the woods and privy and water source. Mice go into the privy to eat this food and walk all over the feces, they walk back to the shelter to climb all over you and your stuff.

  18. #78
    Registered User cneill13's Avatar
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    "I am not sure where the rumor started about Hawk shelter coming down, I have not heard it was scheduled for demo."

    I'll admit it, I spread the rumor that the Hawk Mountain Shelter was coming down. Only because that is what the trail maintainers who were working the project told me.

    But reading the link provided on page 1 about the Hawk Mountain project, it sounds like no formal decision about removing the shelter has been made.

    Sorry about the misinformation.

    Carl

  19. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    Unfortunately, some of that 5% have no interested in being educated, they just want to do anything that gives them instant gratification and are also lazy to the bone. How do WBers think they should be dealt with?

    Lone Wolf's suggestion to put caretakers at each shelter in GA has merit, at least in the Spring. But is that enough?
    Caretakers at shelters/ Eliminating GA shelters

    A "thru Hiker permit" with a price tag steep enough to make people think about it. Say $100? I don't think that everyone that starts would still start if they had to pay $100 bucks. (REQUIRE registration)

    Encourage a ban of trail magic south of the Smokies- (Rant warning shall follow) IMO besides completing Georgia as a state, getting thru the Smokies is the first big accolade for a hiker. I don't understand why people give a reward for something that doesn't deserve a reward? The result of less trail magic early on would take some hot air out of a lot of folks, over time dissolve the hopes of fresh hotdogs and cold beer "at the next road" and sweeten the pot for those that put the effort in. -Instead of Trail Magic ie giving out hotdogs, give out EDUCATION. Educate the hiker community on the dos and don'ts. Preach LNT and give out zip locks for trash, and have trash cans available.
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  20. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Caretakers at shelters/ Eliminating GA shelters

    A "thru Hiker permit" with a price tag steep enough to make people think about it. Say $100? I don't think that everyone that starts would still start if they had to pay $100 bucks. (REQUIRE registration)

    Encourage a ban of trail magic south of the Smokies- (Rant warning shall follow) IMO besides completing Georgia as a state, getting thru the Smokies is the first big accolade for a hiker. I don't understand why people give a reward for something that doesn't deserve a reward? The result of less trail magic early on would take some hot air out of a lot of folks, over time dissolve the hopes of fresh hotdogs and cold beer "at the next road" and sweeten the pot for those that put the effort in. -Instead of Trail Magic ie giving out hotdogs, give out EDUCATION. Educate the hiker community on the dos and don'ts. Preach LNT and give out zip locks for trash, and have trash cans available.
    Two comments:

    1. Your proposed $100 fee covers only Springer Mountain starts and only in the "busy" time of year, i.e. Feb. 20-April 15? Or are you also requiring it of SOBOs starting in July in Maine? What about flipfloppers and others who hike the alternates as suggested by the ATC? What about section hikers who start in Georgia in prime season (not hypothetical - I was one!) and only intend to hike to the Smokies or to Hiawassee or Damascus or.... Those hiking the trail and using the shelters include section hikers and even weekenders.

    Assuming resolution of the points above, enforcement of the fee would be costly. Those trails where permits are required - whether free or with a fee - are in areas with fewer access points than the AT like the JMT and Wonderland Trail. The Smokies have numerous side trail access points but only one road in the middle.

    In any case, I have no problem with the concept of a user fee - we - and of course the ATC and Forest Service - need to think it through.

    2. You don't ban "trail magic." You ban or restrict "hiker feeds." And since the word "ban" introduces or at least implies legalisms, how do you define hiker feed as to size/scope and location? I realize you said "encourage" but I question how much of a difference such "encouragement" will actually make.

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