Merv Brower memorial 11 am, April 20th in Salem, VA

 

MERV.1Our RATC family was deeply saddened by the loss of Mervin Brower on February 20, 2016.

To allow better travel conditions for his Canadian family members, Merv’s memorial service will be held Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 beginning at 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 125 W. Main Street, Salem, VA.

Merv came to Salem, Virginia in 1991 as a General Electric engineer. His 40+ year career  with GE Canada, General Electric and TMEIC was studded with accomplishments: he received several patents in the steel industry, presented technical papers to the IEEE, taught and developed courses for steel and aluminum process industries, was an author of several technical papers, was a recipient of several management awards for individual creativity and achievement, was a lifetime senior member of IEEE, and travelled throughout North America and around the world serving customers.

One of the other Canadians who came to GE in Salem married a woman from this area, and she introduced her friend, Blanche Hale, to Merv. Blanche became his loving and devoted wife as well as his best friend.

The rest of us knew him as a steady, friendly, long-time leader and worker on the Appalachian Trail and on the Mid-week Crew that builds trails all over the region. Merv joined RATC in the year of his arrival (1991).  During his 25 years as an RATC member, Mervin served in many roles including President, New Members Coordinator, Counselor and Regional Partnership Committee Representative . He and Blanche frequently led hikes together, and they also maintained a stretch of the AT.

MERV AND BLANCHE.2Bill Gordge, longtime leader of the Midweek Crew, summed up the thoughts of many in the RATC community:

The Mid-week Crew has lost one of its staunchest members. For almost ten years Mervin Brower rarely missed a work day, leaving his mark as we created at least 23 new trails across the Valley and the five adjoining counties. A quiet, gentle man, with a hint of steel. He was a friend to us all.  Always good to stop and lean on your pulaski and chat with Merv. He epitomized the spirit and camaraderie that characterizes the MWC. It will be hard to accept that he has really gone and that this is goodbye. To his dear wife Blanche, we offer our heart-felt sympathy.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, PO Box 12282, Roanoke, VA 24024 or online at http://www.ratc.org/memorial-donation/. Donations can also be made to Path Finders for the Greenways, 1206 Kessler Mill Rd., Salem, VA 24153 and First United Methodist Church,  125 W. Main ST., Salem, VA 24153

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Small area, big problems: Mountain Valley Pipeline and Jefferson National Forest

12 inch giles pipeline erosion

[summary of US Forest Service’s March 9, 2016 comments on developer’s final Resource Reports in October 2015]

Peters Mt. Symms Meadow 10.15The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline would be over 300 miles long, including about 5 miles in the Jefferson National Forest (JNF), where it would cross the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) on Peters Mountain (photo at left) and come close to the AT on Sinking Creek Mountain, Craig Creek Valley, and Brush Mountain. In March 2016 the US Forest Service delivered 32 pages of comments on the developer’s lengthy final Resource Reports. A Pittsburgh-based partnership led by the EQT Corporation proposes to cross mountain ridges, steep slopes, streams, rivers and valleys with a huge 42-inch pipeline full of fracked natural gas under high pressure. The gas is destined for overseas markets and other places east of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

The Forest Service comments are pretty easy to summarize. If a student received these comments on a class project, the grade would be “Incomplete” or perhaps a generous D minus. A job applicant who received the comments on a work sample would not get an interview.

The developer’s latest report was clearly crafted to mislead reviewers by callously downplaying the project’s visual impacts, glossing over potentially catastrophic geologic issues, denying water quality and other environmental impacts, and simply ignoring clear requirements for crossing public lands with a private scheme. As Forest Service staff noted:

  • The entire section on Environmental Consequences on Jefferson National Forest Lands is “woefully inadequate” since it does not describe direct, indirect or cumulative effects of the pipeline.
  • “Significant materials, including viewshed analysis and maps, have been left out of this comprehensive package of ‘final’ Resource Reports. The proponent should re-review this entire package to ensure completeness.”
  • The product is so vague and inconsistent that it “leads reviewers to question the level of critical analysis which was dedicated to developing these ‘final’ products.”

Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized

Help RATC during March 16th Roanoke Valley Gives!

RATC map

Poor Mtn 3-24-13 (16)The RATC Needs Your Help!
Foundation for Roanoke Valley is hosting a 24 hr only fundraiser for over a 100 local nonprofits in the Roanoke Valley on March 16th.

Ever hiked Macfee’s Knob or enjoyed other parts of the AT? A donation of as little as $10 from you could help deliver $10,000 to RATC to help us maintain our beautiful section of the AT!! Simply point,click and give. Be sure to schedule your donation on March 16th for the biggest impact. You can even schedule your donation ahead of time so you don’t forget!

Check out the direct link to our #rvgives page below @RVgives:

Want to know what your donation can go towards?
$25 – Helps outfit a volunteer ridgerunner
$50 – Helps construct a side trail connecting Catawba Valley to McAfee Knob
$100 – Helps refurbish a shelter on the AT
$250 – Buys materials to rebuild a damaged section of the AT.
‪#‎rvgives‬ ‪#‎RATC‬ ‪#‎AppalachianTrail‬

Posted in RATC News

Saturday March 19,2016: next training for volunteer ridgerunners – come and help!

3 ridgerunners.5.15
By Kathryn Herndon, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Roanoke office 
Last spring, the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club (RATC) created a McAfee Knob Task Force to focus on resource 3 ridgerunners.5.15protection and management challenges around our region’s most beloved and iconic A.T. landmark, McAfee Knob. Rapidly increasing visitation has led to an increase in avoidable environmental impacts like litter, graffiti, trail erosion, and problematic bear behavior.
18 McAfee Knob Volunteer Ridgerunners help mitigate these problems with outreach and maintenance. Volunteer Ridgerunners engage hikers in friendly conversations to educate them about the natural and cultural significance of this area and tips on best-practices for enjoying the Trail safely and responsibly. They report on trail conditions and perform light trail maintenance to prevent small problems from getting worse–like dismantling illegal fire rings, packing out trash, and blocking social trails to discourage shortcutting. The group made a big difference last year, and hopes to grow this year by adding new volunteers.
Do you have what it takes to be a Volunteer Ridgerunner? You don’t have to be an athlete–many of the most important conversations and maintenance happens right in the parking lot or within the first mile. If you want to join this lively group of dedicated stewards, you must:
–> Join the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club ($15/year)
–> Commit to volunteer at least one weekend day per month (Fri/Sat/Sun), April through November
–> Attend a Training Day
–> Join an Orientation Hike

The next Volunteer Ridgerunner Training Day is Saturday March 19, from 9 am-2:30 pm at the Roanoke Regional Fire and Rescue Center, 1220 Kessler Mill Road, Salem, VA. There will also be a Training Day June 11. To sign up join the McAfee Knob Task Force MeetUp group and RSVP, or email Kathryn Herndon at kherndon@appalachiantrail.org. Kathryn will email participants prior to the training with details about the agenda and what to expect.

Orientation Hikes will be more frequent. There will be several hikes in March and April, appearing soon on the MeetUp page.
If you love McAfee Knob and are ready to help protect it and share your knowledge with others, we’d love to have your help as a Volunteer Ridgerunner!
Posted in McAfee Knob/Triple Crown Tagged with:

Have fun outdoors – join the RATC community in 2016!

Angels Rest.2

While the latest snow melts, it is not too early to play outside with the Roanoke AppalacAngels Rest.2hian Trail Club. Founded by AT legend Myron Avery in 1932, RATC’s volunteers are the stewards for 16 shelters and over 120 miles of the AT between Lickskillet Hollow and Black Horse Gap.

 Come hike with us. Last year we led over 100 hikes – short and long, easy and strenuous, on and off the AT. See a full listing of hikes and sign up by joining our Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club MeetUp group, which already has over 1,000 members. Check the MeetUp calendar for upcoming hikes – we already have 14 scheduled in February!

Be a maintainer. Want to help maintain the Appalachian Trail or build new trails in our region?  This is work is a little slow right now, but contact our Trail Supervisor, Jim Webb, if you want to get involved.

Patrol Virginia’s Triple Crown. We started a new group in 2015, the McAfee Knob Task Force, whose 18 current members help the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s Ridgerunners patrol not only the AT around McAfee Knob, but also Dragon’s Tooth and Tinker Cliffs. Last year we put in over 500 volunteer hours on the trail – counting over 9,000 visitors; engaging with more than 5,000 of them and hauling out 154 gallons of trash. And we were smiling, because we did this job on one of the most scenic parts of the entire AT. As one member signed always concluded her monthly reports: “Best.Job.Ever!”  Task force members must a) be a member of RATC; b) complete a Saturday training program (the next ones will be on March 19 and June 11, 2016) and c) go on patrol with a trained member of the task force before they go out on their own. Join the RATC’s McAfee Knob MeetUp group if you are interested in this option.

264251_199735326740749_3199989_nKeep up on the news by “Liking” our Facebook group – almost 850 people have already done it. Read more ›

Posted in RATC News Tagged with:

Store, memberships and donations all working again!

PayPal logoThanks to the heroic efforts of our webmaster, Jonathan Eagle, the convenient electronic aspects of our membership (JOIN), DONATION and STORE pages are all up and running again.

FOR MEMBERSHIPS, you can join or renew on our JOIN page.

FOR DONATIONS, please use the DONATIONS page.

FOR ITEMS IN THE STORE (hats, t-shirts, etc), there is our Store page.

Of course you can always join, donate or buy items in the store by using this address:

Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club
P.O. Box 12282
Roanoke, Virginia  24024-2282

If you have questions, just let us know at RoanokeATC@gmail.com.

Posted in Store Tagged with:

Paypal function on memberships, donations, store is temporarily down – but Post Office still works!

USPS LOGOAs of January 13, 2016, our PayPal link is temporarily in a funk. While our webmaster works to solve the problem, you can still JOIN, DONATE or BUY in the store through the old-fashioned method of sending a check and your order to us at this address:

Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club
P.O. Box 12282
Roanoke, Virginia  24024-2282

FOR MEMBERSHIPS, you can still see all the prices on our JOIN page, and you can still use our printable Pay by Check form to do it.

FOR DONATIONS, please use the same address for your check and let us know if the check is a memorial gift for a particular person.

FOR ITEMS IN THE STORE (hats, t-shirts, etc), you can see the prices on our Store page. Just let us know what you are buying and send your check to the address above.

Sorry for the inconvenience! We will let you know when the PayPal link is restored. If you have questions, just let us know at RoanokeATC@gmail.com.

Posted in Store Tagged with:

Holiday Potluck ~ December 5 ~ Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains

Wind River 1J

Wind River 1J

The crest of Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains follows the Continental Divide and includes more than 40 peaks over 13,000 feet high, with lakes above 11,000 feet high full of trout. Join Dan Phlegar of RATC as he shares photos and stories from over two decades of hiking in the Winds.

Bring a pot luck dish to share. All are welcome!

WHAT:  RATC Holiday Potluck

WHEN: Saturday, December 5, 6:00 PM

WHERE: Christ Lutheran Church, corner of Grandin & Brandon, Roanoke

Wind River 2

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with:

National Leave No Trace Training open to the public in Roanoke and New River Valleys, September 24-28, 2105

McAfee crowd

SIGN UP FOR NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, HERE.

What do McAfee Knob, Saguaro National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore and Linville Gorge have in common? All are among the twelve national Leave No Trace Hot Spots for 2015. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and its Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers team are partnering with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club and Appalachian Trail Conservancy to host community events and educational activities September 24-28, 2015.

The Hot Spot Program, a key component of the Leave No Trace in Every Park initiative, raises community awareness and brings solutions to popular natural areas around the country facing heavy recreational use and consequently, the threat of harm to trails, parks and open space areas. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers travel throughout the country providing public education about how to reduce impacts in the outdoors.

“The cumulative impact of so many people enjoying a great viewpoint such as McAfee Knob can have negative effects,” according to Stephanie Whatton, Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer. “In most cases, the land impact isn’t due to a malicious intent to harm nature and wildlife. Instead, it’s simply lack of Leave No Trace education and practices.”

The following Leave No Trace events are free and open to the public:

Read more ›

Posted in Leave No Trace, McAfee Knob/Triple Crown, RATC News Tagged with: ,

Help keep McAfee Knob beautiful on National Public Lands Day, September 26!

LNT Sept 26

McAfee Knob was already popular, but its starring role in the new film, “A Walk in the Woods,” is bringing an unprecedented number of visitors. You can help keep the AT from being loved to death!

On Saturday, September 26 2015 the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club invites everyone who loves the A.T. around McAfee Knob, Dragon’s Tooth and Tinker Cliffs to pitch in and help keep it beautiful!

Why September 26? It’s National Public Lands Day! But that’s not the only reason. Read more ›

Posted in Leave No Trace, McAfee Knob/Triple Crown, RATC News Tagged with: , , , ,