Sunday, October 21, 2018

N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation Launches New Trails Website

The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation announced this past week the launch of the N.C. Trails website. The website is a hub for the N.C. Trails Program and offers quick and easy access to information on state trails and trails in state parks as well as guidance for funding, creating and maintaining a trail.

The new website is simple, user-friendly, and provides information for grant applicants, trail users, and trail developers and maintainers. The new website goes live today, and can be accessed at http://trails.nc.gov.

"We are thrilled to make this site available to trail enthusiasts near and far," said Scott Crocker, manager of the N.C. trails program. "This dedicated site will provide guidance and technical assistance for trails program grant applicants while providing detailed information and improving our trails visibility statewide."

The new state trails website will be updated regularly with trail development news, project updates, volunteer and funding opportunities, milestones, and events. Users can plan hikes, learn how to get a trail segment designated, and explore expert tips on managing existing trail segments.

Previously, all N.C. trails program information was housed on the N.C. state parks website, ncparks.gov. The new site was developed due to increased demand for more detailed and accessible trail-specific information.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, October 19, 2018

Some Fees at Big South Fork NRRA are to be Waived for Veteran’s Day 2018

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be observing Veteran’s Day on Sunday, November 11, 2018. Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas has authorized a night of free camping at the Alum Ford Campground as well as for all backcountry permits during this time.

Alum Ford Campground, located at Big South Fork, offers a serene camping experience near the edge of the Big South Fork River on the Kentucky side of the park. This campground has six sites available on a first come-first served basis. Amenities include an accessible vault toilet and recently renovated gravel tent pads, grills, picnic tables, food storage lockers, animal-proof garbage receptacles, and lantern hooks. The Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail passes through this campground providing access to the magnificent backcountry areas of the park.

On Veterans Day, or any day, honor those that have served and sacrificed for our country with a visit to a National Park Service site near you. More information may be found at: http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Announcing The Release of My New Book on The History of Hiking

I’m very excited to announce the release of my brand new book on the rich history of hiking! Ramble On: A History of Hiking is the first broad historical overview of hiking in one volume. Among the variety of topics discussed about the early years of hiking, the book also includes anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To give you a better idea of what the book encompasses, I've copied the introduction to the book (below), which is now available on Amazon.


Ramble On:

How did hiking evolve from the upper-class European sport of alpinism and the publication of an English travel guide into an activity that now has millions of participants all over the world? Who built the thousands of miles of trails that now crisscross America? What did early hikers wear, and what were some of the key inventions and innovations that led to our modern array of hiking gear and apparel? How was information about hiking, trails and gear disseminated in the early years? And what were some of the reasons why people hiked, and how have those changed over time?

Ramble On, a general history on the sport of hiking (also known as rambling, tramping, walking, hillwalking, backpacking or trekking), attempts to answers these questions, as well as many others. This book chronicles hiking’s roots in alpinism and mountaineering, the societal trends that fostered its growth, some of the early hikers from the nineteenth century, the first trails built specifically for recreational hiking, the formation of the first hiking clubs, as well as the evolution of hiking gear and apparel.

When I first considered writing this book two years ago I wasn’t really sure how much relevant information I would be able to find, or how compelling of a story could be written about the history of hiking. I feared that I wouldn’t have enough material to write a full book. However, after diving into the project I soon realized that hiking actually has a very rich and compelling history, and has been profoundly influenced by a series of events that had nothing to do with hiking. I was continuously amazed by how much hiking has been molded by societal trends, as well as national and international events. The story of hiking took me in many directions that I never would’ve considered, from Romanticism and Transcendentalism, to the Industrial Revolution and the labor movement, to the rise of automobiles, environmentalism, club culture, and even art, to name just a few.

However, what intrigued me the most were the anecdotal stories of trail development in some of our oldest and most iconic national parks, as well as the peculiar and quirky traditions of some of the early hiking clubs. One of the most compelling stories was the apparel women were forced to wear during the Victorian Era, and the danger those fashion standards posed to women who dared to venture into the mountains.

This book also takes a look at some of the issues that currently impact hikers and trails, such as overcrowding and social media, and takes a peek into the future on how some of these trends could unfold. I also explain some of the solutions public land managers are currently considering, and offer a few suggestions myself.

My hope is that you will you come away with a better understanding of what it took to make hiking one of the most popular activities in the world, and what we need to do to preserve our trails and the spirit of hiking for future generations to come.

To order your copy now, please click here. Thank you very much!



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Body of Missing Hiker Found in Smokies (Updated)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced earlier that the body of the hiker, missing since last Tuesday, was found earlier today. Here is the statement from the park's Facebook page:
Search crews located the body of Susan Clements in Great Smoky Mountains National Park late this afternoon. Her body was found approximately two miles west of the Clingmans Dome parking area and ¾ miles south of the Appalachian Trail.

Our hearts are with the family and friends of Ms. Clements. The park would like to extend our appreciation to the many agencies and organizations that participated in the search effort.

Further details will be provided when they become available.
On Wednesday, October 3rd, the park published this press release with that additional information:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced last night that search crews found the body of Mitzie Sue “Susan” Clements, 53, from Cleves, Ohio, after an extensive, week-long search. Clements had been missing from the Clingmans Dome area of the park since Tuesday, September 25. A large-scale search operation was launched, which included trained searchers, canine teams, helicopters, and drones with advanced technology from around 50 local, state, and federal agencies and professional search and rescue groups.

Late yesterday afternoon, Clements' body was found off-trail, in a rugged, heavily wooded area of the Huggins Creek drainage, approximately two miles from Clingmans Dome parking area and three-fourths mile south of the Appalachian Trail. The cause of death is under investigation, however foul play is not suspected at this time.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of Susan during this difficult time,” said park Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We are grieving with the family and hope that yesterday’s recovery helps provide some closure as they begin their own grieving process.” He added, “I am inspired by, and extremely grateful for, the tireless work of our park staff, as well as the generous assistance provided by dozens of agencies and well-trained search and rescue organizations.”

Clingmans Dome Road remains closed to allow staff time to remove the infrastructure brought in to help manage and support the search operation. The road and Clingmans Dome parking area are expected to reopen by tomorrow morning.

The family of Susan Clements provided this statement to share with the public:

“I want to specifically thank the National Park Service for their incredible efforts. The cooperation shown between more than 50 agencies was amazing, comforting, and very supportive. Every piece of the operation, including the scientific fronts, logistical parts, and the emotional support provided to us was very impressive. The children, her sisters, and I want to especially thank Jared St. Clair (Chief Ranger), Joe Pond (Incident Commander), James Latendresse (Operations Chief), and Florie Takaki (Family Liaison) for their dedication and support. We also want to thank the countless other people who helped look for Susan. This includes the ground searchers, pilots, drone operators, dog trackers, technicians, EMS providers, the many teams of tactical climbers and rescuers, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. The kids, her sisters, and I greatly appreciate the intense work they performed for us, and we will be eternally grateful.”



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Smokies Mobilizes Additional Resources in Search for Missing Woman

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials continue to search for Mitzie Sue “Susan” Clements, 53, who was last seen in the Clingmans Dome area of the park on Tuesday, September 25. Trained personnel from cooperating agencies in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia have responded to assist park staff in a large-scale search effort for the missing woman in steep, rugged terrain.

As of Saturday, around 125 trained searchers and logistical support personnel from more than 30 state and local agencies and search and rescue organizations are participating in the search operation led by the National Park Service. Helicopters and multiple canine teams have been deployed for the search effort. Specialized search and rescue drones, operated by FAA-licensed pilots are being used in some areas to help search for Clements. Searchers have worked through rain, fog, wind and low temperatures in the 40s over the last several days in this mountainous region which straddles two states and several counties. Today’s forecast calls for clearer skies and drier air, a welcome change for search personnel.

By closing the seven-mile Clingmans Dome Road on Thursday night, the park was able to transform the Clingmans Dome parking area into a field “incident command post” from which to manage the complex search. Infrastructure such as tents and self-contained mobile command busses serve as portable offices for search personnel and provide a place for searchers to escape the elements, refuel, and receive instructions before heading back out to continue the search for Clements.

Verizon Wireless established a mobile cell booster, which is now providing the critical cell and data coverage needed to effectively manage and support the search effort in this remote location. Even the closed road itself has been used as a landing zone for aircraft that are assisting in the search as weather permits. Clingmans Dome Road remains closed for the duration of this critical search operation.

At this time additional volunteer searchers are not being sought, as search operations are limited to trained searchers to enable a systematic, thorough search of the area. “This is unforgiving terrain, and we are working long hours to find Ms. Clements,” said Acting Chief Ranger Jared St. Clair. “We are extremely grateful for the rapid response by so many well-trained personnel and the generous support resources that our cooperators have dedicated to this search.”

Cooperating organizations include: Backcountry Unit Search and Rescue, Black Diamond Search and Rescue, Blount County Rescue Squad, Blount County Special Operations Response Team, Blue and Gray Search and Rescue Dogs, Buncombe County Rescue Squad, Catons Chapel-Richardson Cove Volunteer Fire Department, Cherokee Indian Police Department, Cherokee Tribal EMS, Gatlinburg Police Department, Henderson County Rescue Squad and EMS, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Knox County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency, Maryville Police Department, North Carolina Emergency Management Agency, Northview Kodak Fire Department, Pigeon Forge Police Department, Sevier County Emergency Management Agency, Sevier County Volunteer Rescue Squad, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, Sevierville Police Department, Southwest Virginia Mountain Rescue Group, Seymour Volunteer Fire Department, Smoky Mountain Nordic Ski Patrol, Smoky Mountain Search and Rescue Team, Swain County Emergency Management Agency, Swain County Rescue Squad, Swain County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and Walden’s Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

Susan Clements was last seen on the Forney Ridge Trail approximately ¼ mile from Andrews Bald on Tuesday, September 25 at 5 pm. She is a white female with light brown hair and blue eyes, is 5’6” tall, and weighs 125 pounds. She is wearing a green zip-up sweater, black workout pants over black leggings, a clear rain poncho, and white tennis shoes with purple laces.

Anyone who saw Clements on Tuesday afternoon or since then is asked to contact the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch through one of the following methods: 1-888-653-0009, www.nps.gov/isb and click “submit a tip,” email e-mail the park, or via a message on Facebook at “InvestigativeServicesNPS,” or Twitter @SpecialAgentNPS.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Friday, September 28, 2018

Clingmans Dome Road Closed Due to Search For Missing Hiker

Due to the on-going search for a missing woman, Clingmans Dome Road is CLOSED to vehicles to better facilitate search-related traffic and to ensure the safety of search crews. The road will remain closed until further notice and we can not estimate its opening at this time. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this search and rescue operation. Follow us on Twitter at @SmokiesRoadsNPS for road status updates.





Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking

Smokies Hosts Stargazing Event at Purchase Knob

Great Smoky Mountains National Park will host a stargazing event at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center beginning at 7:00 pm on Friday, October 5, 2018. Located on Purchase Knob, the learning center provides one of the clearest views of the sky in the park and in Haywood County, NC.

The Astronomy Club of Asheville will lead an exploration of the night sky at this high elevation site with a 260-degree unobstructed view of the sky. If skies are clear, visitors can expect to see the Milky Way Galaxy high overhead that night, along with the planets Saturn and Mars, the Andromeda Galaxy, and many striking star clusters.

“National Park areas often offer a wonderful opportunity to stargaze,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Parks across the country monitor and manage for natural night sky conditions in much the same way as we do to protect our air and water. Visitors are often amazed at the number of stars that can be seen simply by entering into the natural darkness of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

The event starts with an indoor presentation, which will be held rain or shine, to discuss what can be seen in the nighttime October skies. After that, participants will head outside, weather permitting, to stargaze. The learning center is located at 5,000 feet in elevation so visitors should dress in warm layers. The program is free but limited to 80 people, so reservations are required and can be made by registering through Eventbrite, at www.eventbrite.com/e/star-gazing-at-purchase-knob-grsm-np-tickets-49856316585, or by calling 828.497.1946.

Purchase Knob is located off US 276 near Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The use of GPS or an internet map service to find Purchase Knob is not recommended, but park staff can provide reliable directions when visitors make reservations.



Jeff
HikingintheSmokys.com
RockyMountainHikingTrails.com
HikinginGlacier.com
TetonHikingTrails.com
Ramble On: A History of Hiking