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!
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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. (more…)

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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, you can contact our President or Treasurer.

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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 .

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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

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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:

(more…)

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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. (more…)

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AWITW Grandin poster“A Walk in the Woods,” Bill Bryson’s tale of walking about 800 miles on the Appalachian Trail, will premiere in Roanoke at the Grandin Theater on September 2, with Robert Redford playing Bryson and Nick Nolte looking about right for the part of Katz, his out-of-shape hiking partner. Evening shows will be at 5:15, 7:15 and 9:15. Check the Grandin website for more details, including weekend matinees.

Part of the filming occurred on our own McAfee Knob, and its iconic image is featured on the film’s posters, though not exactly to scale! While it is great to have the Knob’s image in the movie, on Virginia license plates and on billboards and websites, the increased traffic (already going up 55% each year for the past 5 years) has a downside as well in terms of trash, graffiti, lost hikers and overcrowding.

Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, the all-volunteer organization that maintains over 120 miles of the AT, including McAfee Knob, started a task force in May to assist the paid Ridgerunners with education, outreach, trash removal and “eyes on the trail.”

You can help! From 6 to 7 pm Friday, September 4, there will be a fund raiser for RATC’s McAfee Knob Task Force at the CoLab (1327 Grandin Road, Southwest, Roanoke) in Grandin Village. $20 includes food and drink from River and Rail and Parkway Brewery, and the first 50 people in the door will receive free tickets for the 7:15 showing that night.

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Interim Report McAfee 8.15 IMAGEWe all love McAfee Knob. In fact, visitation has increased by 55% per year in the last four years, causing a noticeable increase in avoidable impacts such as litter, vandalism, negative encounters with wildlife, and damage to vegetation.

Enter RATC’s McAfee Knob Task Force, an all-volunteer group that helps the paid Ridgerunners with outreach, education and cleanup. While they spend a lot of time on the AT, they find that greeting hikers in the Route 311 parking lot often provides the most useful information for hikers, especially (more…)

(a full copy of the RATC’s comments to FERC on the MVP is here: RATC comments to FERC 6.11.15)

According to its bylaws, the purposes of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club include a duty to:

  • participate in and encourage the development of laws and regulations that protect the Appalachian Trail and its related interests
  • use all legal means to protect and defend the Appalachian Trail and its related interests

Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) of Pittsburg has proposed a 42-inch pipeline over 300 miles long to connect fracked natural gas fields in West Virginia to markets on the East Coast and overseas as far away as India, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will decide whether (more…)

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