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:
“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.
We 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…)
McAfee Knob Volunteer Ridgerunners help with outreach, maintenance and parking lot patrol – more training scheduled on August 8. To sign up or get information, see the McAfee Knob MeetUp group or contact Kathryn Herndon of ATC staff at firstname.lastname@example.org
McAfee Knob is popular, which is both a blessing and a curse. Every weekend hundreds of day hikers and quite a few backpackers head for the Knob. Two wonderful paid Ridgerunners – Stephanie Breig and Eric West –take turns patrolling the section from Dragon’s Tooth to Lambert’s Meadow on weekends, but they can’t be everywhere.
That is where the volunteers come in. (more…)