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  1. #41
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    From http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/gwj/alerts-notices/?aid=17599

    "AT Hikers Rerouted near Damascus from Washed-Out Footbridge Date(s): May 22, 2013
    Contact(s): Mount Rogers NRA (276) 783-5196
    A section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) near Straight Branch and US-58 east of Damascus, VA, has been rerouted indefinitely due to the complete washout of the Straight Branch A.T. Footbridge during a high water event in May 2013. The reroute (detour) follows portions of the Beech Grove Trail (#4552) and Virginia Creeper Trail (#4575). This detour is expected to be in place for the foreseeable future, as A.T. management partners plan for the construction of a replacement footbridge."

    Perhaps something like this occurred, and a couple years later it was decided to "repair" whatever damage.
    Who's to say that maybe in a couple years the
    A.T. management partners do come up with a reroute of the this section. In ten years later, will someone be investigating why that section was rerouted?

    V8



  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    Well, of course. Do you think that in a group of diverse stakeholders, you can find total agreement on any issue?

    Your original question, "I don't understand why such-and-such relocation is done, can anyone explain it?" is certainly a reasonable one - and I still believe that it has an entirely reasonable answer. (The answer may be more political than I'd like, but that's the real world.)

    The tone has grown increasingly polarized as the thread went on. It would be better if both sides of the discussion can make the assumption of good will - there was a good reason at the time, even if nobody remembers it (and, unfortunately, many such decisions aren't documented quite as well as they ought to be). If the answers so far have been unsatisfactory, perhaps go back to the questioning tone, "would the maintaining club entertain a proposal to place the white blazes on the height of land rather than the current hillside route?"

    Given humans' visceral attachment to the land that they inhabit, I don't expect that any decisions about land use will be entirely rational.
    Exactly. A reasonable question but then the polarizing and harsh judgments creep in. I used to routinely do the same thing analyzing landscape designs making harsh judgements about the architects or architectural firm while not knowing or understanding all of the parameters that were placed upon them during the design and construction phases when some aspects were sometimes out of their hands despite them making it known to clients the consequences of such restraints.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    Well, of course. Do you think that in a group of diverse stakeholders, you can find total agreement on any issue?

    my point being, that contrary to what several have seemingly implied, the reasoning, whatever it may be, very likely was not something cut and dry and obvious and above question, even by those who had direct input. several responses to my question, including in some part yours, have taken the "how dare you question..." tone as a response. my point is, im sure that even people within the groups responsible for these decisions have questioned them, and if they can, than we all can.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by V Eight View Post
    From http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/gwj/alerts-notices/?aid=17599

    "AT Hikers Rerouted near Damascus from Washed-Out Footbridge Date(s): May 22, 2013
    Contact(s): Mount Rogers NRA (276) 783-5196
    A section of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (A.T.) near Straight Branch and US-58 east of Damascus, VA, has been rerouted indefinitely due to the complete washout of the Straight Branch A.T. Footbridge during a high water event in May 2013. The reroute (detour) follows portions of the Beech Grove Trail (#4552) and Virginia Creeper Trail (#4575). This detour is expected to be in place for the foreseeable future, as A.T. management partners plan for the construction of a replacement footbridge."

    Perhaps something like this occurred, and a couple years later it was decided to "repair" whatever damage.
    Who's to say that maybe in a couple years the
    A.T. management partners do come up with a reroute of the this section. In ten years later, will someone be investigating why that section was rerouted?

    V8


    plausible. i'd like to think in such a case, that once the damage to the original trail is repaired, that someone will stop and think "hey, maybe we should go back to the old route now" but the truth is that probably no one would, and that, to me is in a sense an "arbitrary" decision in the fact that the possibility of a decision exists but no one has thought to make it, so it is decided by default with no rational basis behind it.

  5. #45
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    Still tracking this one down but found out a few interesting tidbits over my lunch - The AT was on that route as late as '74, maybe later, but the IMT was a multi-use trail (and still is at many points). Acquisition in that area was not completed until later in the 70's and 80's and once the acquisition occurred, adding value to the National Recreation Area, instead of kicking the horses off, they built a relo to provide for a footpath only route and eliminate a road walk.

    This is coming from a source that goes back to '79, the older folks will have to be asked face to face, but I should see them this month. If there is any additional relevant information, I will share it.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger'02 View Post
    Still tracking this one down but found out a few interesting tidbits over my lunch - The AT was on that route as late as '74, maybe later, but the IMT was a multi-use trail (and still is at many points). Acquisition in that area was not completed until later in the 70's and 80's and once the acquisition occurred, adding value to the National Recreation Area, instead of kicking the horses off, they built a relo to provide for a footpath only route and eliminate a road walk.

    This is coming from a source that goes back to '79, the older folks will have to be asked face to face, but I should see them this month. If there is any additional relevant information, I will share it.
    Thanks for the info. So are horses currently allowed on that portion of the imt? Were horses allowed on the at in that area prior to the relo? If so, that may be the answer right there. I honestly feel kind of silly for not considering the horse angle. It seemed like most of the horseback riding was well south of there but maybe I subconsciously assumed too much in not considering horses might still be allowed on that section of the imt

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    . . . Bob Cummings (a whiteblaze member) . . .
    Make that former member. Bob passed away earlier this year.

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/cont...-to-new-trails
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    Thanks for the info. So are horses currently allowed on that portion of the imt? Were horses allowed on the at in that area prior to the relo? If so, that may be the answer right there. I honestly feel kind of silly for not considering the horse angle. It seemed like most of the horseback riding was well south of there but maybe I subconsciously assumed too much in not considering horses might still be allowed on that section of the imt
    Horses were allowed on the IMT back then, and still are, and Mountain Bikes are as well all the way up to the IMT 'Trailhead' at the gated 741 spur. Now Trail north of the 741 spur is hiking only trail because it was added to the IMT after the AT was relocated off. Before the relo the AT got on Homestead road at 741 and followed it to 16, so the road walk was considerably longer. Apparently there was some private in-holdings around Comers falls that lasted for some time.

    Good question!!!! I'm glad folks are thinking about this stuff.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger'02 View Post
    Horses were allowed on the IMT back then, and still are, and Mountain Bikes are as well all the way up to the IMT 'Trailhead' at the gated 741 spur. Now Trail north of the 741 spur is hiking only trail because it was added to the IMT after the AT was relocated off. Before the relo the AT got on Homestead road at 741 and followed it to 16, so the road walk was considerably longer. Apparently there was some private in-holdings around Comers falls that lasted for some time.

    Good question!!!! I'm glad folks are thinking about this stuff.
    So I guess the question is whether or not having to share the trail with horses is that big a deal or not. I'm going to refrain from venturing an opinion for the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    So I guess the question is whether or not having to share the trail with horses is that big a deal or not. I'm going to refrain from venturing an opinion for the moment.
    also going to have to check my maps re the road walk that was when I have a chance, which won't be until tomorrow probably.

  11. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two Speed View Post
    Make that former member. Bob passed away earlier this year.

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/cont...-to-new-trails
    Considering that I linked to his obituary, I think it was obvious that he had passed away. At one time he was a member and thus no need to add former.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger'02 View Post
    Horses were allowed on the IMT back then, and still are, and Mountain Bikes are as well all the way up to the IMT 'Trailhead' at the gated 741 spur. Now Trail north of the 741 spur is hiking only trail because it was added to the IMT after the AT was relocated off. Before the relo the AT got on Homestead road at 741 and followed it to 16, so the road walk was considerably longer. Apparently there was some private in-holdings around Comers falls that lasted for some time.

    Good question!!!! I'm glad folks are thinking about this stuff.

    i'm trying to line this up with my map, but there is no "741" on the hiking map that i can see, so i cant quite make perfect sense of it.

    but i dos ee homestead road. at present, through the section i am talking about, the AT, the IMT and homestead road are all parallel to each other. if the AT there used to be homestead road, does that mean the IMT in that area is this newly created section north of wherever 741 is? im guessing so.

    if thats the case, when the AT was taken off of homestead road, why wasnt it put where the IMT is now? was the land not acquired yet at that pint, but the land that little bit further down the ridge was?? interesting.

    and if that was the case, when the top of the ridge was acquired, i wonder why the AT was moved there?


    being able to see where exactly "741" is would help, wish it was on the hiking map.

  13. #53
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    ok, so according to google maps, 741 *IS* homestead road. the thing is, the current routing of the IMT doesnt really cross it, unless it does just before route 16. so the IMT up to there was the old AT route and the new IMT is, in essence, on the other side of 16, or am i missing a crossing somewhere? there also gates indicated on the IMT back by cherry tree shelter, but they arent at 741, are those the gates being referred to?

    also worth nothing, the map uses dots to represent "multi use trails" which i take to mean trails that allow horses. the IMT in that section (and indeed nowhere on the map) is not indicated as a multiuse trail. it is marked as dashes, indicating a "side trail."

    is the map wrong or are horses actually not allowed on the IMT at present? can anyone clarify?


    here is a better, though unfortunately black and white, scan of the map of the area.

    IMT vs AT.jpg

  14. #54
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    i think i found the spot that is the "trailhead" on the IMT being referred to. it is, according to another website, "near 741" but not actually a crossing of 741. see screenshot of google map below.

    so the current IMT from that point to the crossing of 16 was never part of the AT i'm guessing? any idea of a timeline of when the at relocation was done and then when the newer part of the IMT extending it out to rt 16 was done? was the land on top of the ridge and the land a couple hundred feet down the ridge (and probably less than a mile a way, and indeed almost touching (minus the vertical difference) in a couple spots really parts of separate land acquisitions? interesting stuff.

    are mountain bikes not allowed beyond this point either? the site i found this info on was about mountain bikes and talks of the trail ending at that point and makes no mention of the continuation of it.

  15. #55
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  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Considering that I linked to his obituary, I think it was obvious that he had passed away. At one time he was a member and thus no need to add former.
    I beg to differ. Any problems that Bob is working on probably have precious little to do with the AT or WB.
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  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    So I guess the question is whether or not having to share the trail with horses is that big a deal or not. I'm going to refrain from venturing an opinion for the moment.
    By phrasing the post that way it assumes a pedestrian only trail was "the" priority for all in what is a trail in a National Recreation Area. Perhaps, it was equestrians and stock users who foresaw problems arising too given the terrain and the increasing added foot traffic of an increasingly popular footpath - the AT. Issues would have been foreseen by governing agencies as well. National Recreation Areas exist for a wide range of people involved in activities beyond hiking.

    Similar concerns occur for hunters and fisherman in areas like Wilderness Areas who share these areas. Similar to that are agencies like the NPS or those who govern SP's who have concerns, given the terrain in some NP's and SP's the amount of added traffic and other concerns, National Scenic Trails may create for already popular or fragile areas in the NP or the added demand on resources Umm, Baxter SP immediately comes to mind. In National Forests which may have logging rights sold off there's other possible friction. Private land owner issues as AK said can arise. Protecting the AT corridor is no easy task; it can become complex and convoluted despite having protections as a National Scenic Trail.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    i think i found the spot that is the "trailhead" on the IMT being referred to. it is, according to another website, "near 741" but not actually a crossing of 741. see screenshot of google map below.

    so the current IMT from that point to the crossing of 16 was never part of the AT i'm guessing? any idea of a timeline of when the at relocation was done and then when the newer part of the IMT extending it out to rt 16 was done? was the land on top of the ridge and the land a couple hundred feet down the ridge (and probably less than a mile a way, and indeed almost touching (minus the vertical difference) in a couple spots really parts of separate land acquisitions? interesting stuff.

    are mountain bikes not allowed beyond this point either? the site i found this info on was about mountain bikes and talks of the trail ending at that point and makes no mention of the continuation of it.
    You are correct. My understanding is that the IMT from the 741 spur (7411) to 16 was never part of the AT. I don't know about when that section of the IMT was completed, but if I got to hike it, I could make a decent guess. I'll also ask around.

    Mountain bikes are not allowed on the IMT from 7411 to 16, and it looks like there were a few separate parcel acquisitions in that area, but I haven't found anything conclusive. Full disclosure: I haven't had time to look that hard.

    Hope this helps clear things up a bit!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger'02 View Post
    You are correct. My understanding is that the IMT from the 741 spur (7411) to 16 was never part of the AT. I don't know about when that section of the IMT was completed, but if I got to hike it, I could make a decent guess. I'll also ask around.

    Mountain bikes are not allowed on the IMT from 7411 to 16, and it looks like there were a few separate parcel acquisitions in that area, but I haven't found anything conclusive. Full disclosure: I haven't had time to look that hard.

    Hope this helps clear things up a bit!

    cleared things up... and made it all the more intriguing and mysterious too... thanks on both counts.

    so is the AT maps just misprinted in the sense that they dont correctly label the IMT south of 741 as multiuse?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    are there communication towers through the specific stretch of about 5 miles i am talking about? the entire reroute is maybe 40 or 50 miles, easily, im talking a small section of it. i dont think there are communication towers in that section.

    but even if there are... i still dont see it as worth it. the AT passes lots of towers like that, so what? that section of the new trail has no redeeming qualities that make it so much better than walking past a few towers that i can see.
    According to the 1974 Guide to the AT in Central and SW VA a major trail relocation was made in 1972 between Dickey Gap (Hwy 16) and Damascus to route the trail across Mt. Rogers and Whitetop. Some time after 1974 the trail was moved off the summit of Whitetop because of radio towers. The 2007 AT Guide to SW VA supports this explanation stating the trail no longer leads to the summit of Whitetop because the view is "marred by federal and state communications relay-stations." The 2007 Guide describes the IMT as a "cluster of long abandoned wagon routes, footpaths, and unpaved USFS roads." The AT followed this route before the 1972 relocation. It also states that Mt. Rogers AT Club maintains the section between HY 16 and Damascus the only section widely used by hikers. Parts of the trail are open to mountain bikes, horses, or both.
    More walking, less talking.

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