Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Announcing Launch of New Hiking Website

Today we’re proud to announce the official launch of our brand new hiking website for Grand Teton National Park. The new site provides details on more than 40 hikes in the Grand Tetons, and is organized similarly to our HikingintheSmokys.com, HikinginGlacier.com and RockyMountainHikingTrails.com websites. The URL for our new site is:

In addition to being a great resource for trail information, we designed the site to be an excellent tool for vacation planning as well. We’ve included a lot of travel information that will be helpful while planning your vacation.

Even if you have no plans on traveling to the Grand Tetons, I hope that you might enjoy some of the photographs on the site. If you know of anyone planning a trip to Grand Teton National Park, or any hikers in general that may be interested, please feel free to forward the website onto them.

Thanks again for all of your support! We would also love to hear any feedback you might have.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Temporary Parkway Closure at Milepost 95-106

Over a two week period in November, Blue Ridge Parkway maintenance personnel will be conducting large –scale trimming operations along the roadside from Milepost 95 to Milepost 106 (between Highways 43 at Bearwallow Gap and U.S. 460). During the periods of Wednesday to Friday, November 12-14, 2014, and Monday to Friday, November 17 - 21, 2014, both lanes of the Parkway in the work zone, during the work day, will be closed to all activity (cars, bicycles, and hikers) to ensure the safety of maintenance workers as well as Parkway visitors. No work will occur on weekends and the motor road will be open on Saturday and Sunday during this period.

Annually, Blue Ridge Parkway maintenance and resource management staff conduct maintenance activities that help control invasive vegetation growth along the Parkway, as well as insuring safe sight distances and a clear right-of-way areas for motorists. This work requires using a large tractor with a cutting head on a long arm, or boom, which must remain in the travel lanes during operation to properly trim the banks and road shoulders. The boom axe also allows access to clear areas behind guardrails and other roadside features.

Affected sections will close at approximately 7:45 a.m. each weekday and re-open daily about 5:00 p.m. EST from Wednesday to Friday, November 12-14, 2014, and from Monday to Friday, November 17 - 21, 2014. Those who normally commute on the Parkway on Monday through Friday will need to find alternate routes.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Camper Attacked by Dogs Needs Help

Today I received an email from a reader asking for help with regards to her being attacked by a group of hunting dogs while camping in the Snowbird Wilderness area earlier this week. Her fear is that these dogs may still be loose in the area, and could pose a danger to families and pets who may be recreating in the greater Smoky Mountains area. Here's her story:
On Monday, October 13, 2014 Kadie Anderson was camping with her two dogs in the Snowbird Wilderness area in Graham County North Carolina. She was breaking her camp and preparing to head home when a group of six hunting hounds ran into the camp site and began to attack her and her two dogs. Kadie was taken by surprise and was unable to get to her pepper spray and instead was forced to fend the hounds off with sticks and a tent stake. She fought the dogs off for 45 minutes, sustaining multiple bite wounds to her hands and legs. One of Kadie’s dogs was nearly killed in the attack and the other remains in guarded condition as she recovers from a serious abdominal injury. When the hounds men arrived, they had difficulty calling off their dogs. Kadie finished packing up her camp with a great deal of difficulty (her hands were badly shredded) and requested that the hunters hold their hounds until she and her dogs were safely back in her car. They did not; the dogs were released again before Kadie was able to safely leave the site. Despite the seriousness of the injuries and the fact that Kadie was alone, none of the hounds men offered further assistance; not even to help her get back into town safely.

We are requesting anybody with any information about these men to contact the Graham County Sheriff’s Department before these dogs hurt somebody else.

Hiking in the Smokies

Friday, October 10, 2014

U.S. Forest Service releases 2015 dates for fee-free days at most of the agencies’ day-use recreation sites

The U.S. Forest Service will waive fees at most of its day-use recreation sites several times in 2015, beginning with Jan. 19, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“These fee-free days are our way of thanking our millions of visitors but also to encourage more people to visit these great public lands,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “These lands belong to all Americans, and we encourage everyone to open the door to the great outdoors.”

No fees are charged at any time on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. Check with your local forest or grassland or on Recreation.gov(link is external) to see if your destination charges a fee. Fees are used to help cover the cost of safe, clean facilities. Use the Forest Service map to find a national forest or grassland near you.

The 2015 scheduled fee-free days observed by the Forest Service are:

• Jan. 19: the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which honors the legacy of the civil rights leader and encourages Americans to participate in the MLK Day of Service

• Feb. 16: Presidents Day, honoring our nation’s Presidents with particular attention towards commemorating President Washington and President Lincoln.

• June 13: National Get Outdoors Day, a day when federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and the recreation industry encourages healthy, outdoor activities.

• Sept. 26: National Public Lands Day, the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort in support of public lands

• Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day, commemorates the end of World War I and pays tribute to all military heroes past and present.

Agency units plan their own events. Contact your local forest or grassland for more information. The last fee-free period for 2014 is Nov. 8-11 in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Hiking in the Smokies

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Lick Creek Footbridge on the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail

A partnership of the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service recently resulted in the rebuilding of Lick Creek Bridge on the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail in McCreary County, Kentucky. The bridge spans Lick Creek in the Stearns District of the Daniel Boone National Forest near the boundary of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, and the creek crossing forms the intersection of the Sheltowee Trace and Lick Creek Trail.

The new bridge is constructed of 16 foot long steel I-beams for the superstructure and pressure treated lumber for the decking and railing and was built by U.S. Forest Service Stearns District employees. The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area contributed building materials for the project. "The Lick Creek Bridge project provided a wonderful opportunity for the Forest Service to partner with the National Park Service to accomplish mutual objectives. It's a great example of different agencies working together to get a much needed project completed," said Tim Reed, Stearns District Ranger.

The new bridge provides for improved hiking conditions on the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail. The Trace is currently 319 miles long with the northern terminus near Morehead, Kentucky, and runs through the Daniel Boone National Forest, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Pickett State Park, and into the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

For more information on recreation opportunities in the Stearns District of the Daniel Boone, call (606) 376-5323. For more information on recreation opportunities in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, call (423) 286-7275.

Hiking in the Smokies

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hiketoberfest: Celebrate the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail

Celebrate the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail on Sunday, Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Shackleford Ridge Park in Signal Mountain. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, which supports the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail and Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park.

The event will feature guided hikes, educational programming, heritage music and food. Attendees can learn about plateau wildlife, including birds of prey, mammals, snakes, native wildflowers, medicinal plants and cultural conservation.

Musicians of all skill levels are invited to bring instruments to the Cumberland Trail jam tent hosted by Randy Steele, Matt Evans and Bob Townsend. Fall Creek Falls State Park will be on hand to offer a ragdoll kids craft program. Tims Ford State Park will offer a Native American atlatl demonstration and presentation on pelts and skulls.

A $10 per person/$25 per family donation is suggested.

The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail is a backcountry hiking trail. It will extend, when complete, from a northern terminus at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park through 11 Tennessee counties and over more than 300 miles of scenic and historic terrain along the Cumberland Plateau before reaching its southern terminus at Signal Point in Signal Mountain. The Cumberland Trail connects 330,000 acres of some of the most biologically-rich, bio diverse and spectacular lands under public stewardship, including five state natural areas. To learn more about the Cumberland Trail, please click here.

Hiking in the Smokies

Monday, October 6, 2014

National Park Service Announces Free Admission on Nine Days in 2015

There are nine more reasons to enjoy national parks next year! The National Park Service will be offering free admission to every visitor on nine days in 2015. The 2015 entrance fee-free days are:

* January 19: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
* February 14-16: Presidents Day weekend
* April 18 & 19: National Park Week’s opening weekend
* August 25: National Park Service’s 99th birthday
* September 26: National Public Lands Day
* November 11: Veterans Day

“Every day is a great day in a national park, and these entrance fee free days offer an extra incentive to visit one of these amazing places,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “As we prepare to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016, we are inviting all Americans to discover the beauty and history that lives in our national parks.”

A national park may be closer to home than you think. National Park Service sites are located in every state and in many major cities, including New York City which is home to ten national parks. They are places of recreation and inspiration and they are also powerful economic engines for local communities. Throughout the country, visitors to national parks spent $26.5 billion and supported almost 240,000 jobs in 2013.

Generally, 133 of the 401 National Park Service have entrance fees that range from $3 to $25. While entrance fees will be waived for the fee free days, amenity and user fees for things such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours will still be in effect.

Other Federal land management agencies that will offer their own fee-free days in 2015 are: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service. Please contact each for dates and details.

The National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Forest Service also participate in the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass and Federal Recreational Lands Pass programs. These passes provide access to more than 2,000 national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, grasslands, and other federal lands. Four passes are available:

* free annual pass to current military members and their dependents
* free lifetime pass for U.S. citizens with permanent disabilities
* $10 lifetime senior pass for U.S. citizens aged 62 and over
* $80 annual pass for the general public.

Hiking in the Smokies